If there’s one thing that every red-blooded American knows, it’s that no truck is worth its weight in salt if it can’t tow and haul. That’s as true of pure-electric truck models like the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV as it is of internal combustion ones; just because it has a battery pack in lieu of a gas or diesel tank doesn’t exempt it from having to be useable as a truck.
Chevy has finally pulled the wraps off its new Silverado EV, which puts us all at the moment of truth: can the new battery-electric truck actually tow anything like an internal combustion pickup – like, say, the Silverado 1500?
The Chevrolet Silverado EV vs. the Silverado 1500
At first glance, the powertrain of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV looks plenty capable. The RST First Edition, one of two configurations that will be available from launch, is capable of delivering up to 664 horsepower and more than 780 lb-ft of torque from its independent front and rear drive motors. The other launch configuration, the fleet customer-focused WT, is rated a bit lower at 510 horsepower and 615 lb-ft.
According to GM, that translates to up to 10,000 pounds of trailering for the RST, and as much as 8,000 pounds of towing for the WT. While that sounds stout, both trailering figures are less than the max towing capacity of 13,300 pounds advertised for the 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 equipped with either the 6.2-liter L87 V8 or, now, the 3.0-liter Duramax turbo-diesel straight-six, but they’re in the same ballpark. In fact, the Chevrolet Silverado EV RST is nearly as trailer-capable as a Silverado 1500 with GM’s latest 5.3-liter V8 – a truck rated for up to 11,200 pounds.
When it comes to payload, the difference between internal combustion and electric truck models grows larger. The new 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV is capped at 1,300 pounds of payload for the RST First Edition model, versus 1,200 pounds for the WT. Compare that to the 3.0 Duramax-equipped Silverado 1500, which can carry up to 2,100 pounds depending on trim, or to the 2,300 pounds you can cart around with the 5.3-equipped Silverado 1500 Work Truck Regular Cab.
The difference-maker here is the battery pack. The total weight of the truck, and how much extra “spring” that leaves in the suspension to handle the weight of the payload, is just as important as torque when it comes to max payload. Gas- and diesel-powered versions of the Silverado 1500 don’t have to carry thousands of pounds of lithium-ion batteries with them wherever they go. Naturally, there’s a benefit to that lightness.
There’s also overall pricing and availability to consider, too. Retail customers won’t get access to a Silverado EV WT until the summer of 2024 as it stands, while the refreshed 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 will hit dealers this spring, with a more favorable price tag in relation to their capabilities.
Still, for those who were hoping for a bit more from the new 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV, there’s good news: a more capable fleet model is on the horizon, which GM says will be able to tow as much as 20,000 pounds with a max tow package. That model’s max payload is still unknown, but we’d expect a big step up for that figure, as well. As of yet, GM has not indicated any plans to offer that more capable configuration in a form more palatable to regular (read: non-fleet) customers, but if there’s sufficient demand, Chevy will almost certainly try to meet it.