About the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV

By Gary S. Vasilash

When Chevrolet introduced the 2024 Silverado EV today, there was an interesting quote made by Steve Hill, vp of Chevy.

Hill said: “The Ultium Platform”—the thing that General Motors is using to underpin all of its post-Bolt EV models—“is a critical enabler of next-level pickup truck performance for both fleet and retail customers, whether they are currently driving a Silverado or are considering a pickup for the first time.”

The interesting bit is that Hill said “fleet and retail customers,” with the first being fleet.

The Silverado EV, when launched, will come in two versions, both in Crew Cab configurations.

There is the flagship RST First Edition:

(Images: Chevrolet)

And there is the WT:

The RST First Edition brings such things as four-wheel steering and automatic adaptive air suspension. There’s a 17-inch diagonal LCD infotainment screen.

Simply, inside and out this looks like a very cool pickup truck that anyone who is interested in such things would be chuffed to have in her or his driveway.

The WT is a bit more, well, pragmatic. Chevy points out that it offers 510 hp and 615 lb-ft of torque; 8,000 pounds of towing and 1,200 pounds of payload.  The a bit later after launch there will be a model with 20,000 pounds of trailering capability.

RST owners will be able to access Ultium Charge 360, which is what consumers of other GM EV crossovers and cars will undoubtedly use. WT owners will have the opportunity go to a variant, Ultium Charge 360 Fleet Service. When that was announced in July 2021, Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet said, “Fleets have a significant impact on the transition to EVs and by expanding Ultium Charge 360 to our fleet customers, GM aims to be a significant industry leader to advance fleet EV adoption at scale and accelerate our goal of reaching 1 million EV sales globally by 2025.

“Fleet electrification is an important element of our growth strategy, and we will leverage our leadership and expertise in this space to support customers at home, at depots and in public with our suite of providers.”

The first models to be built at the GM Factory ZERO (Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center) will be the WT. It will be available in the spring of 2023. It will have a base MSRP of $39,900.

Then the RST First Edition vehicles—the fully loaded Silverado EV—will follow in the fall of that year. The base MSRP of that model is $105,000.

Other variants—with price points of some $50K, $60K, $70K and $80K—are planned.

Two points:

  1. The $105,000 RST First Edition might seem a bit pricy for, well, a pickup truck, but this is an electric pickup that is not only tricked out with all manner of tech, but it will come with a battery capable of, GM says, an estimated range of over 400 miles. Typically, EV models (e.g., the GMC HUMMER EV) start out at a high price point and then go down from there. . . .
  2. . . .which brings us to the point that GM is actually starting out with a much more modest price for the WT before going to the RST First Edition. There is a clear understanding that if they want to move lots of EV pickups, then the sweet spot is with contractors and other commercial service providers. Sure, the RST First Edition will probably have its reservation bank fully subscribed by the time you read this. But that will be a limited number of trucks. Although the margins on the RST First Edition will probably make the WT look like some sort of Dickensian orphan, the WT is going to be the thing that is going to make EV pickups a mass market phenomenon, not the RST First Edition.

It is a purpose-built pickup. The purpose is not only to have an offering in the segment, not only to provide style and functionality, but to expand the number of EVs on the road.

Which GM is committed to doing.

Euros to Make More EV Batteries

Mercedes joins Stellantis and TotalEnergies

By Gary S. Vasilash

If nothing else, you’ve got to give General Motors credit for naming the jv company it is running with LG Chem for electric vehicle battery development “Ultium,” because it sounds like something from the Marvel Universe, which isn’t an entirely bad thing when it comes to attracting younger buyers for the EVs GM will have in dealerships.

Contrast that name with a Europe-based battery company, one that had been established by Stellantis and TotalEnergies (the company that used to be simply named “Total” before it recognized the need to expand its portfolio beyond petroleum) and has now been joined by Mercedes-Benz:

Automotive Cells Company.

Hope no one stayed up too late at night trying to come up with that.

They should have had the packaging designers work on the name because it is suitably of-the-moment. (Image: ACC)

ACC is also being supported by the French, German and European authorities because they don’t want Europe to be left behind when it comes to battery tech.

The company is still young, having been established in August 2020. With the addition of Mercedes, the investment is on the order of seven billion euros. Each company has a one-third equity stake.

By 2030 it may be making 120 GWh’s worth of batteries.

Given that both Stellantis and Mercedes have aggressive EV plans, they’re going to need capacity.

GM Gets Ahead of the Curve on EV Battery Recycling

“GM’s zero-waste initiative aims to divert more than 90 percent of its manufacturing waste from landfills and incineration globally by 2025,” said Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric and Autonomous Vehicles. This is one effort toward that end.

By Gary S. Vasilash

No one can say that General Motors and its partner LG Energy Solution aren’t being proactive.

The two companies operate a joint venture, Ultium Cells LLC. Ultium Cells will build the Ultium batteries that GM will use in its forthcoming electric vehicles (EVs).

Ultium battery for the GMC HUMMER EV Pickup. Those white slats slot into that container. (Image: GM)

GM’s current EVs—the Chevrolet Bolt EV and Bolt EUV—have lithium-ion batteries, but not Ultium batteries. That’s because the vehicles were developed pre-Ultium.

However, vehicles like the forthcoming Cadillac LYRIQ, which is to become available the first half of 2022, will have Ultium batteries on board.

Ultium Cells announced that it will be working with L-Cycle, a battery recycling company, to, well, recycle the material scrap from battery cell manufacturing.

Cobalt. Nickel. Lithium. Graphite. Manganese. Aluminum.

According to GM, 95% of the reclaimed materials can go into things like new batteries.

Li-Cycle says that the hydrometallurgical process it uses to recycle the materials is more energy efficient than other methods, like high-temperature “smelting” processes.

Which is fitting to what Ultium Cells is up to, as Thomas Gallagher, the company’s COO, said, “We strive to make more with less waste and energy expended.”

And at the very least, it undoubtedly beats the heck out of mining those materials.

The recycling process is scheduled to go on line later this year.

After all, they need to develop batteries so they can develop scrap.