New Chevy Silverado Chief Designer Says All Powertrains Fit (EV, PHEV)


2019 Chevy Silverado

2019 Chevy Silverado

The all-new 2019 Chevy Silverado was completely redesigned with virtually all new parts for an extended life cycle and the potential for any type of powertrain.

When Chevy unveiled its upcoming Silverado at NAIAS, many details were left out. More specifically, the automaker mentioned that the truck will have six different powertrains, with the possibility of even more, though only three engines were discussed. Tim Herrick, Silverado chief engineer, repeatedly told reporters:

“We’re not talking about that now.”

2019 Chevy Silverado interior

2019 Chevy Silverado interior

Being that production of the new vehicle is nearly a year away, Chevy will slowly add details to the equation. Though Herrick doesn’t feel confident that most truck buyers are ready to commit to advanced powertrains yet, he explained that the truck has been designed to fit literally any type of propulsion unit. He continued:

“We looked at all possible propulsion units. There’s nothing that doesn’t fit.”

This is to say that the Silverado’s architecture can accommodate typical V6 and V8 engines, along with 48-Volt mild hybrid systems, plug-in hybrid and/or full battery electric technology, and hydrogen fuel cells. A recent poll showed that some 80% or respondents believe Chevrolet should “absolutely” offer a PHEV Silverado, so here’s hoping that entices the automaker to at least consider the option.

However, truck buyers differ from typical vehicle shoppers. They tend to know every spec that each truck offers, and are primarily comparing vehicles’ hauling and towing capabilities, cargo capacity, and interior features. Fuel economy and state-of-the-art tech features don’t necessarily rank high on many truck buyers’ list of priorities.

Herrick also pointed out that tech features may only be highly regarded if it saves consumers money. While electric powertrains would be less expensive to operate and maintain, he feels that most truck buyers aren’t really well aware of this fact.

Nonetheless, the chief engineer said that Chevy is planning for the future with the Silverado. He added that the outgoing 2018 truck still uses some parts from the 1988 GMT-400 series trucks. The new vehicle has eliminated the old parts and is complete with all new components, so as to extend the Silverado’s life cycle beyond the typical five to seven years.

While Herrick wouldn’t provide specific examples of the newly designed parts and their potential for accommodating future powertrains, he did provide one example. The 2019 Silverado’s frame rails are splayed and non-traditional, which will allow for powertrain components to sit beneath the cargo box and in areas of the truck that wouldn’t typically be an option.

Herrick is confident that as soon as future powertrains are ready to compete against traditional engines, the Silverado is ready to adopt them.

Source: Green Car Reports

Categories: Chevrolet, Trucks

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48 Comments on "New Chevy Silverado Chief Designer Says All Powertrains Fit (EV, PHEV)"

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That’s good news and good thinking. I suspect that we will find the same sort of strategic thinking with the upcoming Corvette C8 too. It kind of confirms my suspicion that GM is preparing to build and sell a whole lot more plug in vehicles, but they are waiting to see actual public demand for them rather than get burned yet again with the build it and they will come strategy.

Remember the GMC Sierra is essentially a Silverado; if we combine Sierra and Silverado sales, they are the best selling vehicle ever currently…A Vette sells far less vehicles, most who buy them want performance, if GM felt there was demand to offer a more fuel efficient Vette, they could do so by offering a V6 or a 2.0T like the Camaro, but they don’t…I believe GM will create an E-Ray, a very limited and expensive offering…Many would love to see the electric motors driving the front wheels which effectively would turn it into an AWD Vette…

Sports cars and trucks have different buyers, and different competition. For trucks, I see off-sets in GM’s motivation, between how useful a PHEV would be for customers, and the idea there are fewer competitors to win back any truck business from.

The more there’s a factor of GM-ICE sales becoming GM-PHEV instead, the less likely we’re to see a GM-PHEV.

This is the opportunity Workhorse is supposedly going to exploit.

The GM Silverado PHEV “Bob Lutz” version, with a VTRUX insignia badge and VIA Motors propulsion system. I think GM will be the first to market this, before Ford or Dodge. Interesting plug-in Truck options on the horizon, 2020?

I have a Dodge 3500 diesel dually and that is the reason I got an EV. Back in 2012, I was commuting in my truck paying $250/month in fuel. I leased a Leaf for $200/month to save money and the rest is history. So Chevy saying the truck buyer is different and doesn’t care about fuel economy is not exactly accurate.

I think they are talking about their primary buyer that buys a truck because they need it.

I would argue that the “primary buyer” commutes to work daily in a giant pick up and might use the truck bed on the occasional weekend. I live in the south – its a culture and status thing. Just like an electric car in California.

+1 in Colorado also. A large portion of trucks have barely a scratch on the bed, its all about status and off road access, neither is removed through the addition of batteries.

GM ‘advanced powertrain’ trucks are ‘like’, .. err I mean, ‘stuck between’ a rock ….. and a hard place.

If gas gets expensive (again):

– The work crowd still won’t suffer reduced capability/ increased maintenance costs.
– The urban cowboy crowd will just go back to the car.

Didn’t GM try this once already?

GM had the Dual Mode Hybrids. Impressive engineering too.

But that was a decade ago, years before the Model S got people’s attention. Component prices and market acceptance of the concept were very different from where we are today.

I think their are two major buyers of pickups in the US:

#1. Businesses that actually use them as intended although in many cases they would probably be better served with panel vans.

#2. Individuals who mainly use them as everyday drivers and occasionally as weekend warriors.

The majority of pickup drivers I see in NorCal appear to be commuting solo in them to what are probably their desk jobs.

Some time back I looked into this, to try to find out what percentage of pickup truck miles driven in the US were commercial and what share were essentially car miles. As I remember it, it broke down about 20% commercial, 80% non-commercial.

Yes, this isn’t exactly the breakdown we’re talking about here; I’m sure there are numerous non-commercial truck owners who genuinely need such a vehicle, but I’d guess they’re a small portion of the total.

I think they are talking about their primary buyer that buys a truck because they “need” it.

Fixed that for you.

Thank you for not driving that diesel. I can’t breath when I follow one in traffic.

Fleet buyers can do simple math.
If they offer a Plug-in that saves money, the more they will sell.
If they don’t, someone else will.

I’ll believe it when i see it. Let’s see if they can get more than 1 more mpg than the v8 like their previous hybrids.

This guy is full of it. He thinks truck buyers would spend more for a 1500 truck with more torque and cuts fuel costs in half?

The only reason they aren’t flying off the lot is because the badge isn’t Ford, Chevy or Dodge.

Truck buyers pay north of $50k for trucks all the time, price isn’t that sensitive.

All they need to do is put a 220V outlet for a welder in the bed of the truck, it would sell as a $5k add on.

As a full size light duty pickup owner and EV supporter, I can’t wait for these two worlds to meet. There are a few must haves (GM, Ford, RAM – are you listening?): 1) Power takeoff is a must, for camping, work-site tools, emergencies, charging toys in the bush, etc. An EREV is probably a better architecture than BEV until 300KWh packs are under $20K. 2) Ability to drive on electric only. Preferably at highway speeds and preferable 50+ miles AER so as much weekday travel can be done on electricity only 3) #2 above means all accessories must be electric (not powered from a belt on the ICE) 4) AWD. 4WD is a pain in the arse and only really provides a benefit when hard core off-roading. It’s time to free ourselves from the front and rear wheels being mechanically tied. If we must have a ICE/transmission, have it connected to the rear wheels only and electric on the front, for instant on-demand AWD. Use the torque of the electric motor with gearing to overcome the need for a transfer case. AWD is only needed at slow speeds – set the gearing accordingly. 5) camp mode (i.e. electric climate… Read more »

Interesting – 2 Conflicting Requests here! did you not see this?
“2) Ability to drive on electric only. Preferably at highway speeds and preferable 50+ miles AER
4) AWD … is only needed at slow speeds – set the gearing accordingly.”

No conflict here!

The front is to enable AWD. It does not need to be used/engaged when AWD is not required (i.e. highway speeds).

There would also be a motor for the rear wheels, one that can operate at highway speeds.

Great list!

You want the Workhorse with a big 3 badge then :O)

That’s what I was thinking!

That’s about right.

It has to be a solid truck first, and also an EV. The big three have the solid truck part nailed.

A VOLT type pickup with power for use on job sites would be,a great start. 120 240 ac at a,work site would be a winner . A 20- 40 mile ev range would be even better.

I Keep Saying – Put the BOLT EV Drivetrain in the Rear (of a Ranger Size Truck, or Bigger if it works), and the Volt Drive Train in the Front (For the Front Wheel Drive / EREV Aspect), use from 40 – 60 kWh of the Current Bolt EV Pack (All 60 kWh should fit in a Ranger size Vehicle or Bigger)! Gas Range Should be supplied with enough to do long Trips, but use 2 tanks, a Smaller one for General usage, and a bigger one for long, out of the way Trips! Mountain Mode, Plus Off Road Modes – for Slow Speed AWD in EV Mode!

You are looking for the Workhorse W-15.

“Fuel economy and state-of-the-art tech features don’t necessarily rank high on many truck buyers’ list of priorities.”

…until the next geo-political oil-shortage and oil prices shoot back up to $100/barrel. Then truck-buyers suddenly find “economy religion” and start to care about fuel costs.

I recall Chevy and GMC dealers going bankrupt “by the truckload” during each oil-crisis and the 2008 energy/economy-crisis, stuck with lots full of unsold 15-mpg Silverados/SUV’s and not a single sellable hybrid or PHEV in-sight. GM went down due to in-the-moment bean-counters running the show instead of strategic-planners and engineers.

Another smart move by today’s GM in future-proofing their bread-and-butter products. Have all drive-train options planned for so they can quickly change their product mix to match what buyers actually want.

They aren’t building them like they used to – thank God.

And the market is looking for a short term price increase for oil, so…

More foot dragging.

By the time GM has a hybrid ready Tesla will already have an all electric semi truck AND an all electric pick up truck.

pathetic. The big 3 never learn. They are right back to where they were prior to the last depression when they went bankrupt.

Last time they went bankrupt I was for the bail out. This next time let ’em go down.

It would be Nuts if Tesla Figured out how to GROW Like Nuts, & MAKE MONEY, Then, they could buy out GM, when they go Down the Next Time!

OH – That would hurt Ol’ Bob!

George, I think that GM has been working on this for a while but they want to milk their lucrative ICE profits for as long as possible so they are slow-walking it.

They just won’t release it until the competition (i.e. Tesla) forces them to.

When Tesla finally launches the pickup, and announces a date, GM will rollout a competitive truck offering and beat them to market. Then Tesla will be late producing it in volume, and GM will do something stupid to blow their potential market lead.

The Ford F150 plug-in announced for 2020 might convince him that he should be more of a forward thinker. If GM doesn’t offer a plug-in pickup soon, like in the 2019 model, they will lose the advantage of the tax credit. Ford will not have this problem, their 2020 plug-in F150 will enjoy a $7500 incentive.

The issue with BEV/PHEV pickups is towing. Range and gradability take humongous hits when towing.

Dynamic charging would make BEV Semis and pickups less expensive than gas/diesel models.

“extend the Silverado’s life cycle beyond the typical five to seven year”

Ok so Chevorelt says that their trucks only have a life cycle of 5-7 years? What a waste of money if you buy that thing. Do they break down after just 7 years or do Americans want new stuff so often? Cars should last at least 10 years up to 15 years. But I guess capitalism. Everybody wants new stuff every time because you’re expected to do this as a “good” consumer.

He was referring to design cycles, not life cycle of the truck.

Meaning that they designed in the ability to become electric and therefore do not need to completely redesign the truck half a decade from now.

Read between the lines… an electric version is coming before 2023.

Even if Chevy thought the market wasn’t ready, they should have shown up with concepts showing them!

No one will announce an electric truck until Tesla shows off a couple of pickups prototypes that go 0 to 60 in 4 seconds and get 500,000 reservations within a week…

The only way to get Truck buyers to switch is to offer them a superior product. A PHEV or EV might be nice, but it is going to need to be fast and powerful.

They should do an EV truck with 10,000Nm of torque at the wheels, triple-motor AWD, 300kWh battery, Megacharger charging from 0 to 85% in 30 minutes, 12,000lb towing capacity, front trunk, 240v outlets in the bed for power equipment, and a Autopilot feature built right in.

That is my prediction for the Tesla pickup.

I’d like to see that too… but the average transaction price in 2017 for an F150 was $47,800, so the cost to build it was probably under $40K (at that price, its loaded with luxury features)

This cost is about the same cost for a 300KWh battery pack (complete pack, not just cells).

Hard to believe a BEV with a 300KWh pack will compete in volume any time soon.

I hope the new silverados will be able to carry a snow plow without the overheating problems that came with my 2016 Silverado. It turned out to be the biggest and most expensive purchase MISTAKE that I have ever made. The truck was bought with all plow prep packages and still can’t handle it. No satisfaction from dealer or GM. VERY DISAPPOINTED !!!!

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Compelling plug-in EVs are designed as EVs from the ground up. They are not gasmobiles with the ICE powertrain removed and an EV powertrain shoe-horned into the empty hole. Nor are they “multi-drivetrain” Swiss Army knives, which just like those knives, can do several things but does none of them particularly well.

PEV pickups build on a “multi-drivetrain” platform are not going to compete successfully with purpose-built PHEV or BEV pickups.

Say what?

What exactly would you change being “purpose built”?

The Model S/X platform, which works great for cars, would be a terrible platform for a pickup. You simply would not get enough articulation out of the suspension.

That’s the beauty of current pickups. The design makes for inexpensive and really tough vehicles.

Replacing part or all of the ICE drive-train with EV goods is clearly the least expensive route given the economy of scale they have when sharing the rest of the vehicle with ICE models.

I welcome a Tesla BEV pickup that is as capable as current trucks with as much as 50% higher price feature for feature but I won’t hold my breath.

The question is, what large SUV will they build based on this truck frame? That’s the one most likely to see a PHEV or BEV version first.

Based on Ford and RAM’s announcements, it seems that the pickups will get electrification first.

Besides, GMs large SUVs were recently redesigned so they likely wouldn’t get the new frame design for a few years, and ICE versions will come first.