Birmingham, Michigan – The fight has always been fierce in the pickup truck segment, and electrification isn’t going to change that. In fact, it’s going to become a war, as there will be more fighters than ever to win over consumers.
At General Motors, we already know that we’ll soon be offering electric versions of familiar models like the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra. This is in addition, of course, to the pickup version of the new Hummer EV, even though this bugaboo is aimed at an eclectic clientele.
Already, the battery-powered variant of the Silverado has been presented to us. Yours truly went to Detroit to get a closer look at the Sierra EV. Here’s what we found out on the spot, not to mention the little surprise that awaited us when we got back about the model.
Unsurprisingly, the Sierra EV is the twin of the Silverado EV, but it’s not an identical twin. Of course, the basics are the same with the Ultium platform, but the design, the interior details, as well as some elements here and there serve to differentiate the versions. More than ever, GMC wants to stand out with a singular styling approach. And the recipe is working; the division’s sales have been growing for several years.
As for the Sierra EV’s look, it’s eye-catching with a very present front light signature (daytime running lights and logo). The hood that pops up to reveal a large and easily accessible cargo area will also appeal to many. In the back, GMC also rolls out the red carpet. Despite a box that’s only 5 feet 11 inches long, a folding partition was inserted between the crew cab (the only one offered at the outset) and the bed. As a result, the seating area reaches 9 feet. And if that’s not enough, you lower the multi-function tailgate and increase it to 11 feet.
Staying with the design theme, a word about the interior. What we could see (we couldn’t show on board this pre-production model) is a rather rich environment; noble materials, an orgy of oversized screens (16.8 inches for the multimedia, 11 for the instrument cluster and 14 for the head-up display), a chic presentation, etc. That’s normal, because the first version to show up is a Denali trim level. And this first edition, it will be reserved for the American market for the year 2024. So much for the surprise. In Canada, we’ll have to wait until 2025 before we see a Sierra EV on our roads.
The information we received even indicated that the characteristics of the model we saw might not apply to the versions that will arrive here a year later. A bit embarrassing, if you ask us. So consider this when you read the following; we’re describing the American-only Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 2024.
GM wasn’t the first on the market with its electric pickup trucks. It was of course beaten to the punch by Ford, which transformed an existing F-150 into a battery-powered variant, but also by Rivian, although we’re talking about a fledgling and fragile opponent for the moment. This gave her a chance to see who and what she would be up against. And what was clear was that she was going to do her best to offer the ultimate.
So what we are presented with is quite attractive. It is important to take into account that they want to impress us with the maximum capabilities that the model will offer. It’s also important to know the price of this first edition, which is $107,000 US. When a $50,000 variant becomes available, it may have lesser capabilities. Incidentally, GMC has confirmed that there will be electric solutions of the Elevation and AT4 variants of the Sierra EV.
Let’s go with the featured version. Like all the others, it will take advantage of the Ultium platform and its 800-volt architecture. What this allows for is the connection to a 350 kW charging station. These are still rare, but there is reason to hope. With such a plug, it will be possible to recover 100 miles, or about 160 km, in just 10 minutes. And as we saw with the Ford F-150 hybrid (and also the Lightning electric version), the model will have the capacity to offer power to owners to plug in their appliances. The capacity is announced at 10.2 kW by GMC. Also, with a bi-directional interface, it will be possible to power the house in case of a power failure. By feeding only essential devices, the ride could last up to 21 days with a van enjoying a full charge. The capacity of the built-in charger for charging is 19.2 kW.
One of the big issues with an electric van is towing capacity. But more importantly, the loss of range with a lot of weight hitched to the back. There are two aspects here. First, the electric Sierra is advertised as having a towing capacity of 9500 pounds. As for the payload, it is capped at 1300 pounds. As for the loss of autonomy, GMC promises that it will be equivalent to the increase in fuel consumption when towing a load. If it increases from 25% to 40%, we’ll lose 25% to 40% of our range. This seems optimistic, but we’ll see how it works out in practice.
Speaking of that range, it’s advertised at 400 miles, an important number for GM. This is the basis, we’re told, for seducing the buyer. These 644 kilometres will of course vary from one version to another due to the configuration of the model and the tires, but we’re starting with an important figure. The driving experience will also feature regenerative braking and it will be possible to guide the Sierra EV with a single pedal. The experience also promises to be smooth with the presence of an adjustable air suspension. In addition, the model’s lower center of gravity promises a more solid and engaged handling.
Power is rated at 754 horsepower and 785 pound-feet of torque. This will be possible with the Max Power driving mode. It would have been interesting to get the real numbers, those of the other modes offered, but we’ll have to wait and see. For now, we were mainly trying to impress with these data and the disclosure of a 0-97 km/h time of 4.5 seconds.
Note that the Super Cruise autonomous driving system will of course be included with this model and that at the time of writing, it will be available for use on some 645,000 kilometres of roads across Canada and the United States.
Of course, we repeat, we must take all this information and put it in the possibilities column. We will know in due course if the Sierra that will come to us will offer the same capabilities. We can easily imagine that they will, but since we are not far from a surprise, we will keep a little embarrassment.
One thing is for sure, no matter when the model is expected to arrive, there is no guarantee that it will show up at the right time for every buyer. The supply chain issues are not yet resolved, to put it politely.
As of today, U.S. consumers can reserve and order one. We’ll get back to you with more information on the Canadian process.