The Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks are twins, and that will continue to be the case when they go electric.
Chevy unveiled its Silverado EV at CES 2022, and now it’s GMC’s turn. The 2024 GMC Sierra EV borrows some key features from its Chevy sibling, as well GMC’s first electric truck — the Hummer EV. Some of those features were actually pioneered by General Motors two decades ago on non-electric trucks, and are now making a comeback.
You can reserve a Sierra EV now, but deliveries aren’t scheduled to start until early calendar-year 2024. Production starts with a high-end Denali Edition 1 model, with other versions arriving for the 2025 model year.
The Sierra EV updates the design language of the internal-combustion GMC Sierra for the electric age. A big grille is no longer needed for cooling, but it’s still an important styling element that designers didn’t want to break away from, Sharon Gauci, GMC executive director of global design, explained to Digital Trends and other media in an online briefing ahead of the truck’s reveal. The grille shape is now outlined in lights, with an illuminated GMC logo.
Like the Hummer EV and Silverado EV, the Sierra EV uses GM’s Ultium modular battery architecture which, among other things, means the battery pack is an integral part of the structure. So unlike most other trucks — including the rival Ford F-150 Lightning — the Sierra EV doesn’t have a separate frame. The cab and bed are one piece as well, all of which helps increase structural rigidity.
The Sierra EV also borrows the Midgate setup from the Silverado EV. First seen on the Chevy Avalanche and Cadillac Escalade EXT in the early 2000s, it allows the bulkhead and glass behind the cab to be removed, effectively extending the bed. Combined with the fold-out MultiPro tailgate from the internal-combustion Sierra, it can expand the default 5.0-foot, 11-inch bed length to 10 feet, 10 inches. A frunk (GMC calls it the “eTrunk”) provides covered storage space as well.
Because it’s pitched as a premium vehicle, the Sierra EV gets upscale interior materials like open-pore wood trim and stainless steel speaker grilles for its Bose audio system. But the design itself, with a freestanding portrait touchscreen and rectangular instrument cluster, looks suspiciously similar to the Ford Mustang Mach-E cabin. The touchscreen even has the same big volume knob as the Ford. We hope GMC’s lawyers are ready.
The Denali Edition 1 gets a 16.8-inch touchscreen, 11.0-inch digital instrument cluster, and 14.0-inch head-up display. The screen supports over-the-air (OTA) software updates, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity will likely be included as well.
Four-wheel steering, something GMC in 2002 with its Quadrasteer system, is available as well. That includes the CrabWalk feature from the Hummer EV, which turns the front wheels and rear wheels at the same angle for low-speed diagonal driving.
An adaptive air suspension system is on the menu as well, with an auto-leveling feature that can raise or lower the truck by up to 2.0 inches. Like other GM EVs, regenerative braking is controlled by a steering-wheel paddle, with true one-pedal driving capability.
GM’s now-familiar Super Cruise system, which is already available on non-electric Sierra models, allows for hands-free driving on mapped stretches of highway, with automated lane changes. And it works while towing a trailer, GMC promises.
The initial Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 version will have two electric motors sending power to all four wheels, with a combined output of 754 horsepower and 785 pound-feet of torque in what GMC calls Max Power mode. With that mode engaged, GMC claims the Sierra EV will launch itself from zero to 60 mph in under 4.5 seconds. That’s not as quick as the Hummer EV’s claimed 3.0-second zero to 60 mph time, but will still beat a base Porsche 718 Boxster.
GMC didn’t disclose the size of the battery pack, but said the Sierra EV will offer up to 400 miles of range. It’s worth noting that these acceleration and range figures match the Silverado EV. Maximum towing capacity is a bit lower at 9,500 pounds, compared to 10,000 pounds for the Chevy. Both trucks have an identical maximum payload rating of 1,300 pounds.
With standard 350-kilowatt DC fast charging, the Sierra EV can recover 100 miles of range in 10 minutes of charging, according to GMC. It also has 10 onboard AC outlets (including both 120-volt and 240-volt) for powering tools and devices, and can output power at 10.2 kW to charge other EVs, or provide emergency backup home power.
While the Hummer EV is more of a toy, the Sierra EV is intended to be a real truck aimed at GMC’s existing customers. But it will still be expensive, for now. The fully loaded Denali Edition 1 launch version will start at $107,000 – almost the same price as the Hummer EV Edition 1.
The Denali Edition 1 will be followed by a standard Denali model, an AT4 off-road model, and an Elevation trim level. The latter will serve as the base model and will have a $50,000 starting price. Unlike Chevy, GMC hasn’t discussed a work-truck version of the Sierra EV, so it may target retail buyers exclusively, rather than businesses, for the time being.
Meanwhile, the number of electric trucks is growing. The Ford F-150 Lightning is an electric version of America’s bestselling vehicle that’s been receiving rave reviews. The Rivian R1T is a slightly smaller truck, but with the same premium aspirations as GMC. But, the Sierra EV’s greatest rival might be its Chevy Silverado EV sibling, which shares most of the GMC’s key features and will have a wider range of configurations stretching down to lower price points.
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