By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Business Tue April 6, 2021
(CNN)General Motors announced Tuesday that it will produce an all-electric Chevrolet Silverado truck, with an estimated driving range of more than 400 miles on a single charge.
The truck will join an increasingly crowded field of competitors from established automakers like Ford (F), which has already said it will make electric version of its F-Series pickup, as well as startups, such as Tesla (TSLA), with the Cybertruck, and Rivian, with the R1T.
The new electric Silverado will not be a modified version of the gasoline- or diesel-powered truck equipped with batteries and electric motors. Instead, it will be engineered from the beginning as an electric-only truck, GM said, using the same Ultium electric vehicle engineering that will underlie many of the automaker's future electric vehicles, including the GMC Hummer EV models and the Cadllac Lyriq SUV.
GM's new electric truck will be engineered seperately from internal combustion-powered Chevrolet Silverado trucks like these recently on sale at a dealership in California.
Engineering a vehicle from scratch for electric motors and batteries only, rather than designing it to accommodate petroleum-fueled powertrains as well, can bring numerous benefits. When a vehicle is designed to be fully electric from the beginning, storage and occupant space, as well as performance and driving range, can be optimized. It does require a big investment, though, to create an entirely separate version of that vehicle.
Business and fleet buyers will be a particular market focus for this new electric truck, GM President Mark Reuss said in a presentation. GM also recently announced it will make an electric delivery van for business customers as well.
GM has previously said its Ultium batteries would be capable of providing a range of more than 400 miles on a charge. GM executives have also spoken in the past about making a mass-market electric pickup truck. The company recently announced plans to sell only emission-free vehicles by 2035, though it has not yet released any details on when the electric Silverado will hit showrooms.
The truck will be built at GM's recently renamed Factory Zero, formerly known as the Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. That factory has been remodeled to focus entirely on making electric vehicles. That factory will also build the Cruise Origin self-driving electric vehicle as the GMC Hummer EV pickup and the recently unveiled GMC Hummer EV SUV. GM has said it plans to offer as many as 30 electric vehicles by the end of 2025.