Welcome to the Hooniverse News! As always, this is a weekly recap of the biggest stories in the automotive industry without the fluff or bull. All of the big stories this week come from the Consumer Electronics Show, which means everything is EV news. But there are big players here which are absolutely worth talking about. This week: Chevrolet joins the EV pickup race with the Silverado, Mercedes-Benz stuns with new concept boasting impressive range, Chrysler shows signs of life, and Sony is officially doing cars now – plus your news.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
As the industry continues to transition to EVs, news of concepts or renderings of some futuristic model is extremely common. I’d be lying if I kept up with all of it because of how much there is, most of which isn’t all that relevant. But stories like this come along that are impossible to ignore. This isn’t a prototype or a 3D model – this is the 2024 Silverado EV.
It’s not the flashiest or the fastest of the EVs we’ll hear about this year, but it along with the Ford F-150 Lightning is among the most important. Even though the F-Series sells better, the Silverado still accounts for over half a million units sold on an annual basis since 2013 (per GMAuthority), so an EV version presents big opportunities. Rivian, Ford, and even the GMC Hummer are already rolling out to customers, but this Silverado EV isn’t shipping until Spring 2023. But Chevrolet is aiming to make that wait worth it.
It will launch with impressive specs whether you opt for the flagship RST First Edition or the work truck specification. Built on GM’s Ultium Platform, it’s a totally new truck from the ground up with batteries integrated into the chassis. It has independent front and rear suspension, dual motor capability (they call e4WD), available automatic adaptive air suspension, and available four-wheel steer capability.
While there is expected to be a choice of battery packs, they only detail one which is a 24-module Ultium battery pack. With that, it’s expected to offer up to 400 miles of driving range on both the WT and RST models. DC fast charging up to 350kW is standard on both models as well. There’s also offboard power with optional equipment to compete with Ford’s offerings, but you get up to 10.2kW to play with instead. This can support job sites, camp sites, or getting a Texas family through the winter.
This electric power translates to real world capabilities. The WT will launch with an impressive 510 horsepower and 615 lb.-ft. of torque while the RST gets a ridiculous 664 horsepower and 780 lb.-ft. of torque while in a max power “Wide Open Watts” mode. That’s more power across the board than the Lightning, but the Lightning can beat if not match on torque when comparing the two current battery pack options we have for each. That said, the fastest projected 0-60 time for both is basically the same at around four-and-a-half seconds.
Towing and payload for the WT is rated at 8,000 pounds and 1,200 pounds respectively. For comparison, the standard range Lightning offers 7,700 pounds towing and 2,000 pounds of payload. Meanwhile the RST will tow 10,000 pounds and offer 1,300 pounds of payload, which matches the extended range Lightning on towing but loses out on payload by 500 pounds. But Chevrolet also says that a max tow package fleet model will be introduced later on with up to 20,000 pounds of towing capacity. Whichever way you look at it, Chevrolet will have a highly competitive EV pickup when it launches next year.
But impressive specs aside, there’s a lot going on with the design of the truck and some of its features. Like the Lightning and Rivian, it offers a lockable, weather-proof “frunk”, a large bed with enough room for a tool box that will never be used, and the revival of the mid-gate from the days of the Avalanche. They even have their own bed accessories for the WT model, such as a rack for securing ladders, a cap for more secure storage, and a cap with a roof rack. And in the process of making a futuristic-looking Silverado, I think they’ve made their best-looking truck in ages.
It’s too early to get into specifics of pricing, but they gave us a range of $39,900 for the most basic Silverado WT and $105,000 for a fully-loaded RST First Edition. They will have offerings available at around 50k, 60k, 70k, and 80k and that includes other familiar models from the Silverado lineup like the Trail Boss and others. Reservations for the WT or the RST First Edition can be made right now on Chevrolet.com.
Did Chevrolet get this one right? So far it certainly seems that way. Let the EV truck wars begin.
Mercedes Vision EQXX
Meanwhile at Mercedes, they’ve introduced a compelling new concept which takes inspiration from the streamliner era in an effort to be the most efficient car possible. And if the numbers they’re giving us are accurate, it may very well be just that.
The Vision EQXX is a four-door sedan with a sleek fast-back style roofline with a longer tail than any recent McLaren LT. Its body may be attractive, but it was all designed for aero efficiency in the wind tunnel. They claim it has an incredible 0.17 drag coefficient, which they point out is slightly better than a football. It’s also better than any other production EV I can find. That plus a highly efficient powertrain and an experimental lightweight battery means a claimed 620 miles of driving range.
That experimental battery is incredibly light for its capacity, which is 100 kWh at 1,091 pounds. Jalopnik points out that Tesla’s 50kWh battery in the Model 3 weighs 1,060, which gives you an idea of how insane that is. It’s like making a V8 with double the power of a four-cylinder while also weighing about the same. There isn’t a lot of power here though with “just” 200 horsepower to move this 3,800 pound sedan. But ties into its ability to use just 10 kWh per 100 kilometers, or 1 kWh per 6.2 miles. That’s pretty remarkable for an EV and would beat everything currently on the market by a large margin.
But of course, it’s a concept. It looks to be a complete one that could go on sale just as we see it, except for maybe the interior. Mercedes is a company that could bring something like this to the market and get away with it. I’m sure they’re just waiting on more development work to go into that battery before committing to a production version. But if they can pull it off, they’ll be the undisputed leaders in EV driving range.
[Source: Mercedes-Benz via Jalopnik]
Sony is looking to enter car market – for real this time
Sony has been one of many tech companies that has at some point or another openly discussed building and selling EVs. It’s been unclear how serious Sony still was about this plan, but at CES they made it loud and clear. Sony reintroduced their Vision-S 01 sedan but also came out with an SUV called the Vision-S 02. Then there was the confirmation we were waiting for – Sony will establish Sony Mobility to handle all things EV. And they have every intention of building and selling them if it’s deemed feasible.
While they’re in the exploration phase of determining whether it makes sense for them to do battle with established car manufacturers, they sure seem serious about the cars they’ve developed thus far. Both vehicles ride on the same platform with an ultra-thin battery pack (because of course a tech company cares about being thin) with decent performance. Driving range and battery capacity isn’t discussed yet, but each will have two 200kW electric motors for an AWD setup and the Vision-S 01 will hit 60 mph in 4.8 seconds. Even though they aren’t completely positive they will be built yet, they go into some specific details about each car in terms of dimensions and suspension setup. They even know tire sizes. So take that as a sign that they really want to build these.
The building of the cars, at least for now, is handled by Magna-Steyr in Austria with the design work all being done by Sony. With their expertise in building consumer electronics and a PS5 that no one can get, that of course means the interior is packed with screens and is beautifully laid out. But it’s still got a thoughtful cabin layout with great visibility and ample space. Of all the newcomers in the EV space, these two vehicles from Sony are among the most realistic.
This is a story I’ll follow as I can. Sony seems to have thought this one out, so they may have a shot. Or they’ll use these concepts to attract an OEM to partner with. Either way, it’ll most certainly need a massive update every time you try to turn it on.
Chrysler Airflow Concept
It’s no secret that Stellantis brands, in particular Chrysler and Dodge, are asleep at the wheel when it comes to EVs. Their promised EV models are years away at best as they continue to figure out what else they can shove the 392 motor into… which is what we fuckin love about them. But the industry is being forced into a vastly different direction, and until now we’ve not seen much to indicate that they’re aware of that.
This Chrysler Airflow Concept is the first tangible evidence we have that Auburn Hills is in fact working on a battery electric vehicle. This nice-looking yet overwhelmingly generic crossover sedan thing looks like it would go head-to-head with the not-a-Mustang Mach-E and the Model Y. We don’t have specs or anything like that because they probably don’t even know what it is yet. But it’s the best glimpse we have so far of Chrysler’s electric future. Stellantis says that the famous brand will have its first BEV by 2025 and that the company will go all electric by 2028. And when it does, it’ll look something like this.
What was your automotive news for 2021?
It was shortly after I woke up on New Years Day that I remembered I completely forgot to do my annual “what was your news for the year” post. I’d blame the single beer I had during NYE or the distraction of doing mud donuts with my buddy’s 4WD Ram hours prior, but it just completely slipped my mind. So we’ll do it now.
What was 2021 like for you? If you started or finished a new project, did something even remotely exciting, or have anything else you want to share with your fellow hoon, sound off in the comments.
Have a good weekend.