Electric Cars Charge Up Chicago Auto Show 2022 (GM Edition)

The 2022 Chicago Auto Show is our first chance to get up close and personal with the new Ultium-based GMC Hummer EV electric pickup and the all-new Chevrolet Silverado EV that debuted at CES earlier this year — but this year’s show could be as much about what is not than what is.

In one of its first trips back to McCormick Place since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public today. As we’ve seen with many reopenings, the show differs from previous years. For starters, the show has fewer exhibitors – brands such as Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo, among others – did not show up, and the reduced scale of the show means it occupies only one of two large halls for 2022, and the drive sections have also squeezed in.

Similarly, the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV, nameplates with a troubled public image, were missing after a series of high-profile fires led to one of the largest and costliest vehicle safety recalls in a generation. GM is still somewhat tight-lipped about the future of these cars, but the fact that I haven’t read or heard a straight answer leads me to believe that they are on their way out.

And then there were two

GMC Hummer EV at the Chicago Auto Show.

The absence of the Bolt and Bolt EUV leaves just two plug-in vehicles to flag for GM at the Chicago Auto Show: the production GMC Hummer EV and the fairly close-to-production Silverado EV.

Starting in the GMC/Buick booth, the GMC Hummer EV towered over the rest of the GMC lineup – both literally and figuratively. It was the only GMC you could call forward-thinking in an era where almost every manufacturer that matters is all-electric and plug-in cars like the Tesla Model Y outsell just about anything this side of a Toyota Camry…

CNBC Screencap (February 11, 2022).

… but beyond that, it’s a truly desirable truck. Don’t get me wrong, it’s massive, gaudy and completely unnecessary – especially with its six-figure price tag. That said, it has a rugged, purposeful look backed up by beefy bumpers, tow bars and beefy suspension bits that appear to be made to a standard uncommon in the old days of the paramilitary Hummer H1 diesel.

Cast subframes and control arms, beefy towbars.

The tires and wheels also appear to reflect the “tough, off-road” vibe that once defined the Hummer brand. If you look closely, though, you’ll see some evidence in that image that the GMC Hummer EV’s target buyers may be more Rodeo Drive than rodeo. Look again and see if you see what I see.

Metallic paint on the fenders.

That’s right, folks—instead of the textured, matte plastic fenders you’ll find on Jeep Wranglers, Ford Broncos, or indeed, ICE-powered Hummers made to keep nicks and scratches from showing, you’ve got this deep, rich metallic paint. And I know there’s probably plenty of flex in the mix – but that’s the difference between my old Volvo XC70 wagon and my new(er) XC90 SUV. One is ready for the brush, and the other is ready for the brushless car wash.

At the Chevy booth, the Silverado EV received a lot of attention from all the media. With the possible exception of the Ford Bronco obstacle course, it was by far the most packed display during Thursday’s morning press event at the Chicago Auto Show—deservedly so. It’s a neat, versatile concept built on a heavy Ultium frame (it’s not a unibody, despite what you may have read) that should be good enough for at least 3/4 ton, as well as massive towing capabilities.

Sharp.

Smart features are everywhere in the Chevy Silverado EV. The integrated step in the rear bumper, the integrated running boards and the split midgate 60/40 make almost every part of the truck more accessible without giving it that “JC Whitney Special” look that is always dangerously close at hand when you start to select a truck, you know?

Like the Hummer with which the Silverado shares a platform, it also has those metallic fenders – though they seem less out of place on the sleek Silverado body to my eye. Maybe it’s the more car-like, “urban” styling of this truck versus the Hummer? It is hard to say.

Lots of interest and smart details.

Take a look at GM’s two electric contenders here, and let us know which Ultium frame wears it best at the Chicago Auto Show in the comments section at the bottom of the page. And: yes, they really stick to that “Silvererado’s trademark.

Original content from CleanTechnica.

 

 

 

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