Chevrolet charging up Silverado

Pickup to get estimated 400 miles on cells built in Lordstown factory

DETROIT — An electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck will get an estimated 400 miles of range per charge, General Motors says.

The company announced the range in a webcast Tuesday and said the truck would be built at a factory straddling the border of Detroit and the enclave of Hamtramck. It also announced the plant would build the new 2024 GMC Hummer SUV.

The pickup announcement raises the level of competition for future buyers in the hot truck market. Ford already has announced plans to build an electric F-150 starting next year in Dearborn, Mich. while Fiat Chrysler, now Stellantis, has said it plans to have an all-electric Ram pickup.

GM did not say when the electric Silverado would arrive in dealerships, but the company plans to sell 30 electric-vehicle models globally by the end of 2025. It also has set a goal of making all of its passenger vehicles electric by 2035.

Ford’s F-Series pickups are the top-selling vehicles in the U.S., followed by the Silverado and Ram pickups. In addition to conventional automakers, electric vehicle leader Tesla plans to start selling a futuristic “Cybertruck” pickup later this year, and EV startup companies Bollinger Motors, Nikola, Rivian and Lordstown Motors Corp. are planning to enter the market.

GM President Mark Reuss said the electric Silverado will be designed from the ground up as an an electric truck for commercial and individual users.

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant, named “Factory Zero” by GM, is being retooled to build four electric vehicles with an investment of $2.2 billion. Eventually it will employ 2,200 workers to make the two GMC Hummers, the electric Silverado and the Origin, an autonomous passenger vehicle for GM’s Cruise subsidiary.

The vehicles will be powered by GM’s Ultium platform.

The automaker has partnered with South Korea’s LG Chem to build a $2.3 billion plant in Lordstown to mass produce electric vehicle battery cells for the Ultium platform. Ultium Cells LLC will employ about 1,100 people at full production. Early phase production is expected to begin in early 2022.

In early March, the two companies announced they were considering a second battery factory in the U.S. One potential landing spot is near GM’s Spring Hill, Tenn., factory complex, which is one of three sites the company has designated to build electric vehicles.

Lordstown Motors hopes to enter the market later this year. The company purchased GM’s former automaking plant in Lordstown in 2019.

United Auto Workers Vice President Terry Dittes said in November 2018, GM announced it was closing the factory. But it became part of the 2019 negotiations with the union that resulted in a 40-day strike and was brought back as one of four North American electric vehicle factories. The others are in Orion Township, Mich., north of Detroit; Spring Hill; and in Ingersoll, Ontario.

In the next two years, GM will build more electric models than any other manufacturer, Dittes said. “It’s always a good day when GM tells us there is more product coming into our location. Because that is more jobs,” he said.


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