By Gary S. Vasilash
“Let’s determine what must be true to make it happen—and then let’s make it happen.”
Although it sounds rather simple, what Nicole Kraatz is referring to is the approach that she and her team took to product development under the restrictions that were presented to them because of COVID-19.
Business wasn’t as usual.
And what they were, and are, developing is something that is unlike what had been done before and absolutely important in the offerings of GM:
Kraatz is chief engineer of the Chevrolet Silverado EV.
Imagine: they had to develop a new vehicle while, in many cases, working at their kitchen tables, not the engineering center where there is immediate access to people and tech, not situations where you have to ask the kids to stop streaming because the Internet connection is wonky.
Determine what needs to be done. Then do it.
Pickup trucks are essential to the offerings of Chevy in particular and GM in, well, general.
In 2021 Chevrolet delivered a total 1,437,671 vehicles, of which 529,765 were Silverados.
GM sold a total of 2,218,228, vehicles, so Silverado is nearly a quarter of all of its sales.
In addition to which, GM is committed to transforming its vehicle portfolio to all-electric in the years to come, and is in the process of spending some $35-billion in transforming from combustion, including $2.2-billion at the Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, which has been transformed to Factory ZERO, where the Siliverado EV will be built.
The 2024 model is interesting compared with the cross-town rival’s F-150 Lightning in that the Chevy is a new vehicle from the tires up, with nothing being brought over from the conventional truck, while the Ford is largely the combustion-based truck that is electrified.
(In the case of the Chevy, the Ultium platform is being used, an all-new EV battery-based architecture that provides a range of modularity such that pickup trucks and midsize SUVs—as in the Cadillac Lyriq—and other vehicles can be based on it.)
The Silverado EV will come in two versions at the start: the WT and the RST. The former is the work truck version, the sort of thing that contractors would be interested in as it will offer 8,000 pounds of towing and 1,200 pounds of payload.
The RST is the truck that someone will boast to their neighbors about was it offers everything from four-wheel steering to automatic adaptive air suspension, and when the Wide Open Watts mode is activated, it will have a 0 to 60 mph time of less than 4.5 seconds. (Remember: this is a full-size pickup truck.)
Both will have an estimated range of 400 miles on a charge and be capable of handling DC fast charging (up to 350 kW).
The Silverado EV represents an opportunity to Kraatz and her team to take the learnings of more than 100 years of GM trucks and make it something new.
Kraatz talks all about the Silverado EV on this edition of “Autoline After Hours” with John McElroy, Joann Muller of Axios What’s Next, and me.
And you can see it here.