Chevrolet Silverado EV to debut at CES 2022
All-electric pickup trucks are easily one of the weirdest new vehicle segments of the day. Designed to appeal to a demographic of American motorists who normally wouldn’t give EVs a second glance, they’ve probably managed to interest more tech enthusiasts in pickup trucks than anything else. Leather guys who have worked outdoors their entire lives remain doubtful that fuel-deprived products make ideal work vehicles. But there are outliers and their younger (or wealthier) counterparts seem much more willing to entertain the marketing push behind the sudden attack on recumbent electrical devices. And one wonders where these trucks are supposed to belong.
On Thursday, General Motors announced that the Chevrolet Silverado EV will make its official debut at CES 2022, a place that has become synonymous with electricity that is both real and imagined. With traditional auto shows being canceled left and right over fears of a pandemic, the event formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show may have been Chevy’s best option. But it also raises questions about what kind of customer the manufacturer is targeting.
While some all-electric trucks are obviously toys for people with more money than common sense, others are clearly intended to be capable models with more than a few unique features made possible through electrification. While we can’t forget that combustion vans (and SUVs) have gradually become the de facto American luxury car, despite the fact that they also manage to adhere to their humble origins. If you want a big hauler of gadgets for under $ 30,000, it’s available. But those looking for a plush interior, a meaty engine, and a smooth suspension can pick up the same vehicle with all the trimmings for a significantly higher MSRP.
It’s kind of the same story with Electricity, just on a tighter timeline and less platform overlap. Originally conceived as the economical solution to humanity’s fuel needs, electric vehicles have become fashionable auto accessories with more than half of the segment priced on average over $ 55,000.
When viewed as toys designed to help early adopters adjust to their neighbors, something like the Tesla Cybertruck or the GMC Hummer EV SUT makes a lot more sense. But vehicles, like the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning and Chevrolet Silverado EV, are clearly meant to bridge the gap between trendy luxury goods and a legitimate workmate who’s ready to haul cattle and lumber.
Chevrolet’s choice to show its products at CES blurs the lines. Though they’ve already been darkened by vans and utilities adopting things like panoramic glass roofs (which the next Silverado will offer as well) and massaging leather seats. The Rivian RT1 has been praised for its on-road performance, impressive versatility, innovative design and surplus of unique features, all made possible by its electric powertrain. But it’s one of the first EVs to use the pickup truck body style and clearly designed to appeal to the well-heeled environmental types who visit REI on weekends and own luxury cabins as a second home.
The Silverado, like Ford’s Lightning, was aimed at commercial fleets and the kind of people who knowingly buy pickup trucks and beat them to death. But that could be marketing magic on the automaker’s part, especially when GM chose to showcase the all-electric Silverado at a location famous for its hypothetical flying taxi services and vaporware automobiles, while simultaneously offering companies a outlet to share their utopian visions of society.
It was all about GM, whose CEO Mary Barra used the CES 2021 opening speech as an opportunity to discuss an all-electric future where vehicles are perpetually connected to each other and flying luxury drones are becoming the standard.
âAt General Motors, our vision for the future is an accident-free, emissions-free and congestion-free world,â she told last year’s virtual audience. âThe key to unlocking this vision is electrification. Electrifying global transportation can help reduce emissions and power advanced systems and connectivity between vehicles and transportation infrastructure to help reduce congestion and accidents.
Barra may be right. But the current state of EVs hasn’t convinced me of anything, and General Motors’ decision to stick with CES still leaves me worried that the Silverado EV will not be taken seriously as a mainstream product. Ford revealed the Lightning itself, which Chevrolet could also do if it didn’t feel pressured to use the Las Vegas site.
Here again, the CES has gradually supplanted the traditional auto trade shows. We’ve even seen expensive gas-powered models, like the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat, start showing up at the show – and it’s been the dominant outlet for previewing autonomous tech for years. Damn, John Deere has a stand. Maybe yesterday’s trade shows have simply become outdated and are not serving the time and money invested by the industry. Perhaps the perpetual cancellation of in-person activities simply made it unnecessary to when and where you present a vehicle. But I’m afraid the Silverado EV will debut at CES before it is quickly directed to the back of the bus and quickly forgotten.
What does the readership think? Am I overthinking the relevance of the event or is the B&B also wondering if CES is the best place for a consumer electric pickup?
[Image: General Motors]
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