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The hottest new story in electric trucks may be the arrival of two cousins from GM: theand that . These nameplates have massive followings that could move the American driving needle, along with the Ford F-150 Lightning. The Sierra and Silverado are known for their similarity, but here’s a look at how their electric versions will be different.
The Silverado will first arrive in the spring of 2023 as the WT or Work Truck edition, with the full-boat RST model coming in the fall of 2023. Many of the best features and specs I’m talking about will be on that truck. The GMC Sierra EV will arrive in early 2024 as the high-end Denali Edition 1, though other models will likely be announced closer to launch. That delay is less remarkable when you remember that the GMC division was first out with the Hummer EV.
Although the underlying body shapes are very similar, the detail across these lines makes it easy to spot one from the other. The Sierra’s face is dominated by a narrow, full-width horizontal light line, while the Sierra has a large badge plate where the grille used to be.
The Sierra’s body is more chiseled than the Silverado’s, which has smoother lines.
Both will offer a fixed panoramic glass roof and will only come in Crew Cab trims, at least initially. Note that shortening or lengthening an electric truck is more difficult than a conventional truck, as it involves the huge central battery that forms the base of the vehicle.
Range and charge
Both trucks have a maximum range of 400 miles, which you can expect to share the same. Both trucks support DC fast charging with up to 350 kW, which can add 100 miles in 10 minutes. It is especially important for vehicles that can be used as power banks in the workplace, perhaps too much to make it all the way home without fast charging.
This one’s interesting: At first, the top-trim Sierra promised 90 more horsepower and 5 pound-feet more torque than a top-trim Silverado, but in October Chevy revised its specs to match those of the Sierra: a maximum of 754 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque . It can get either of these big boys to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds with a special power mode that Chevy calls WOW – Wide Open Watts – and which GMC simply refers to as Max Power Mode.
Both trucks can power your 120-volt AC equipment in the field via built-in household outlets, or power at least part of your home if properly wired for backup. In both cases, the trucks’ maximum electrical output is 10.2 kilowatts. For reference, a typical household outlet is rated at 1.8 kilowatts. Many electric cars demonstrate power export capabilities, but a 400-mile full-size electric truck has a particularly large battery that makes the proposition more interesting.
There’s an interesting difference in how these trucks steer: Both have four-wheel steering, which radically reduces the turning radius and makes a truck feel shorter, but the Sierra goes one step further with an exclusive Crab Walk mode, as seen on the Hummer EV. Crab Walk allows the truck to turn in a diagonal line while pointing straight ahead. Cool, but four-wheel steering is the most important feature and both trucks offer it.
The Silverado will offer a max tow rating of 10,000 pounds in properly specced trim, while the Sierra tops out at 9,500 pounds, though I suspect that could change before launch. Chevrolet promises a follow-up version of the Silverado EV that will tow up to 20,000 pounds, eclipsing even the massive 14,000-pound rating.which is expected in 2023 along with the Silverado.
Each truck will offer a version of the Swiss Army knife tailgates that are all the rage in pickup trucks lately, which double as steps, work tables, bed rails and more.
More interesting is a new midgate that can take over part or all of the second row of the crew cabin and turn it into a temporary sleeping area.
This is a more elegant execution of an idea I checked on the 2007 Cadillac EXT and Chevrolet Avalanche. GM’s “convert-a-cab” idea didn’t take off then, but it was a much clumsier execution and before “utility” had become the dominant type of car among American buyers.
There’s a big difference between these two new trucks once you get behind the wheel. The Sierra has a 16.8-inch central screen in portrait mode and a smaller horizontal display in front of the driver as an instrument panel. Both are distinctly square and mounted in a way that says “tablet”.
But I prefer the Silverado’s dash with its more elegant, organically shaped screen arrangement: 17 inches in the center and 11 inches in front of the driver, but all in a horizontal layout that keeps everything at or above the steering column line for what I suspect will be easier viewing.
Every truck has a solid set of physical dials and buttons for things that should always be controlled that way, unlike Tesla’s overly screen-centric philosophy.
Both trucks will offer GM’s excellent Super Cruise, with the added ability to adjust to the weight of what you’re towing. This is crucial, as driver assists that are not calibrated can be worse than no assist at all. Also note that SuperCruise was recently expanded to operate on 400,000 miles of roads in the US and Canada, doubling its previous applicability map.
Now that you think you know the lay of the land for full-size electric pickups, don’t forget that the Ram electric truck will debut at CES in January, and the Tesla Cybertruck is now being promised later next year. Alongside the cult classic Rivians, it’s a great time to be in the market for a truck – if you’re well-stocked and patient.