General Motors has promised to go all-electric by 2035. We saw the company announce significant steps toward that goal at CES 2022, with the unveiling of the Silverado EV pickup and announcements of new electric Equinox and Blazer crossovers. And significantly, GM CEO Mary Barra also confirmed the company is working on electric heavy-duty trucks.
Heavy-duty trucks will be perhaps the most challenging vehicles to convert to battery-electric powertrains. As the name suggests, HD trucks are built for towing heavy loads and hauling heavy payloads. Those are two things — indeed, two of the only two things — that current electric pickups don't do a great job at.
The GMC Hummer EV SUT is a 1,000-horsepower super truck and one of the new vehicles we can't wait to drive in 2022. It has better off-road angles than a Jeep Wrangler. It can accelerate from 0-60 mph in WTF mode in a Porsche-like 3.0 sec. But it's underwhelming at doing traditional, truck-like tasks. The Hummer's 7,500-pound max tow rating is significantly less than SUVs like the GMC Yukon. Its max payload rating of 1,300 lbs is less than the Ford Maverick.
An electric HD truck would have to comfortably exceed those limits, earn decent range while operating near those limits and do so cost-effectively compared to its gas and diesel counterparts. The technology for an electric HD truck to do that does not exist yet, a significant reason why Ford has said it's not building one right now.
The difference for GM is they already have the scalable Ultium EV truck platform to build an electric HD truck from; Ford is still a few years away from developing their platform. And announcing that the Silverado EV work truck would eventually offer a 20,000-pound towing package suggests GM is making strides toward more capable electric pickups.