Tuesday, June 18, 2024
First Reviews2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST First Drive Review: Glass Half Full

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST First Drive Review: Glass Half Full

Chevrolet’s Silverado EV RST impresses with its range and power but struggles with weight and comfort

  • Impressive range of up to 724 km, but excessive weight affects performance.

  • Advanced features include a 17.7-inch multimedia screen and Google Built-in interface.

  • Heavy weight impacts driving dynamics, making it less agile than competitors.


In January 2022, Chevrolet first introduced the Silverado EV, the all-electric version of its full-size pickup truck. Chevrolet’s strategy with this model was simple: design an all-electric product rather than modify the gasoline-powered Silverado into a battery-powered vehicle.

Ironically, in March 2022, Ford presented its F-150 Lightning, an electric model based on the regular version.

Two opposing companies, two diametrically different approaches. Which is better for you, the buyer?

At first glance, the General Motors (GM) approach seems to be the most effective. When designing a pure electric model, you control everything from aerodynamics to battery size, design and equipment. The downside is that you arrive on the market later.

Does Chevrolet’s solution have everything it takes to compete with its great rival from Ford? After testing the model, nothing is less certain, despite its obvious quality.

The promised range

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange

When the Silverado EV was first unveiled, Chevrolet told us that it had set one priority as the base for its work: to offer a range of 400 miles or 644 km. The brand could not offer less, considering that buyers were bound to tow with their vehicle sooner or later and that the loss of range in such situations can be spectacular, depending on the weight attached at the back.

We’ve kept our promise. The three versions in the catalogue—the 3WT, 4WT, and RST—have impressive data. The two WT (Work Truck) models have 632 km and 724 km of freedom, respectively. The RST performance variant offers 708 km of autonomy.

And it’s not all smoke and mirrors. Ford’s range figures are shamelessly optimistic. It just melts away. When testing a 4WT model and the RST version, I observed that you get “one for one,” i.e., one kilometre driven per kilometre displayed. This can vary slightly depending on your driving, but the company has hit the mark by offering a model with a very generous range.

In a towing situation, we were told that the system estimates the loss in advance (Chevrolet estimates it at 30%) and displays on the screen what is then possible in terms of range. So, instead of suggesting 650 or 700 km, it will indicate 400 km, which is what you’ll be able to cover with your trailer. This means no calculations to make while driving and no stress in the process.

The problem

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange

The problem is that to deliver such a long range, you have to add batteries. In fact, the size of the unit reaches 205 kW—the same as with the Hummer EV. As you might guess, the weight is equally significant. The Silverado EV weighs in at over 8,500 lbs (3,870 kg, minimum), which is far too much.

You constantly feel this weight; during acceleration, where despite the power, it feels like asking a concrete block to behave like a gazelle; during braking, where despite the presence of 17-inch discs, you need to be responsible with such a heavy mass in your hands; and when cornering, it feels like the vehicle is trying to do everything but follow the line you’re directing it to.

By comparison, a Ford F-150 Lightning tips the scales at some 6,500 lbs. The difference is enormous, and even if the Ford isn’t a ballerina when driving, it’s easier to manage.

To add to this road discomfort, Chevrolet decided to equip the RST First Edition, the tested variant, with 24-inch wheels. The combination is not good, period. It’s tolerable on a smooth road, which Quebec doesn’t have many of. The other RST models will be available with 22-inch wheels. The WT versions come with 18-inch wheels, which are obviously much better for absorbing road imperfections.

Other strengths and weaknesses

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange

We’re delighted by the extraordinary range but disappointed by the weight. This kind of mixed feeling between what we like and what we like less about the model often comes up in its evaluation.

For example, we love the Multi-Flex wall that can be folded down between the cab and the bed. This allows the bed to be extended, creating a loading surface of 10 feet and 10 inches. On the other hand, the quality of the materials inside leaves much to be desired for a truck that sells for $117,499 before fees.

We like all the functionalities and graphic quality of the 17.7-inch multimedia system screen, but the dashboard presentation remains bland with the single glass surface in front of our eyes. The system also includes an 11.0-inch unit for driving-related information.

And getting back to the range, while it is excellent, you’ll have to be patient when it comes to charging at home. No figures have been confirmed yet, but with a power of 11.6 kW, miracles can’t be expected. On a level 3 terminal, it will take 40 minutes to see the battery rise from 10% to 80%. You can also regain 177 km in 10 minutes.

A Few More Words

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange

Lastly, a word about the model’s power and capabilities. With the RST version, you get the full package, with a maximum output of 754 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque. This power is possible when the WOW (Wide Open Watts) mode is activated. Impressive, but not very useful. Acceleration and responsiveness are no problem with this variant, needless to say.

Out back, you’ll be able to hitch up 10,000 pounds while the payload is set at 1,300 pounds.

On the technology front, the Silverado EV benefits from a Google Built-in interface, as well as the Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving system, which will be operational for a total of 1.2 million kilometers in Canada and Mexico by the end of 2025.

Speaking of 2025, we can expect the arrival of other variants, including an LT model and a Trail Boss version. We can also anticipate a High Country variant that could offer a luxury cab worthy of the name.

Conclusion

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange

Although interesting in several aspects, the Silverado EV fails to convince us that it is the ideal solution in the world of electric pickups. Things will evolve, of course, and we can only hope for a massive weight reduction over the coming years. The quality of materials will also have to make a quantum leap, considering the price tag involved.

Otherwise, the base is good, with a more than respectable range and adequate power.

There’s still work to be done, however.

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST | Photo: Daniel Rufiange

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