Pickup trucks that are all-electric are one of the most unusual vehicle segments. They were designed to appeal to a segment of American motorists who wouldn’t normally give EVs a second thought. It’s doubtful that fuel-deprived vehicles will work for leathery men who have worked outdoors all their lives. There are exceptions, and younger or wealthier counterparts seem more open to the marketing push behind bedded electrics. One wonders where these trucks belong.
General Motors announced Thursday that the Chevrolet Silverado EV would be making its official debut in CES 2022, a show that has been synonymous with high-falutin electrics real and imagined. The Consumer Electronics Show, a former name for automotive trade shows, may have been Chevy’s best choice. It also raises questions about who the manufacturer is targeting.
Some all-electric trucks may be toys for those with more money than they have sense. Others are designed to be capable models with more features than just a few that are possible through electrification. We must not forget that American luxury cars have evolved from their humble beginnings to include combustion pickups and SUVs. It’s possible to buy a sturdy gizmo hauler starting at $30,000 For a significantly higher MSRP, you can get the same vehicle with all the trimmings, including a luxuriously appointed interior and a powerful engine.
The story is almost the same with electrics but on a shorter timeline and less overlap between platforms. Originally conceived as an economical solution to humanity’s burning fuel problem, EVs are now fashionable accessories for cars. EVs average a price tag of over $55,000.
If they are seen as toys that can be used to show off their skills, vehicles like the Tesla Cybertruck and GMC Hummer SUT make a lot more sense. Vehicles like the upcoming Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevrolet Silverado EV are meant to be both a fashionable luxury product and a reliable companion for hauling livestock and lumber.
Chevy’s decision to exhibit its wares at CES is a bit confusing. They were already clouded by utility pickups adopting things such as panoramic glass roofs (which will be offered in the forthcoming Silverado) and massaging leather chairs. Rivian RT1 is praised for its exceptional on-road performance and versatility as well as its unique design. All of these features were possible thanks to its electric powertrain. It’s also one of the first EVs that uses the pickup body style. This is clearly intended to appeal to the well-heeled and environmentally conscious who visit REI on weekends and have luxury cabins as their second homes.
Like Ford’s Lightning the Silverado was thought to target commercial fleets as well as people who buy pickups to kill them. This might just be marketing magic by GM, as the all-electric Silverado will be displayed at a location known for its vaporware cars and hypothetical flying taxi services.
All this was relevant to GM. Mary Barra, CEO of GM used the CES 2021 keynote to discuss an all electric future in which vehicles are connected and luxury drones fly.
She stated that General Motors’ vision for the future was a world without crashes, emissions, and congestion. Electrification is the key to unlocking that vision. Global electrification can reduce emissions, power advanced systems and connectivity between vehicles. This will help to reduce congestion and crashes.
Barra may be right. Barra could be right. However, the current state of EVs doesn’t convince me of anything. General Motors’ decision not to leave CES makes me worry about the Silverado EV’s status as a mainstream product. Chevrolet could also unveil the Lightning if it wasn’t compelled to use Las Vegas as a venue, Ford has already done so.
CES is gradually replacing traditional auto trade shows. Even expensive gasoline models like the Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat have started appearing at the show. CES has been the main outlet for the preview of autonomous technologies for many years. John Deere even has a booth. Maybe trade shows are becoming obsolete and not worth the industry’s time and money. Perhaps the inability to schedule an event has made it difficult to choose where and when you display a vehicle. However, I worry that the Silverado EV will have a huge debut at CES and then be quickly forgotten about.
What do readers think? Do I think I am overthinking the significance of the event? Does the B&B also wonder if CES would be the best venue to showcase a mainstream electric pickup.