Automakers are rolling out electric pickup trucks left and right as the EV market continues booming into 2023’s first days. The zero-emissions vehicle market continues expanding steadily outside its earlier offerings of ordinary sedans and crossovers.
Electric UTVs are hitting the trails, electric RVs are soon to make camping greener, and Volkswagen even revived the famous Microbus as the battery-powered ID. Buzz. Two significant EVs soon to square off for a share of the electric pickup market are the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Tesla Cybertruck.
Silverado EV vs Tesla Cybertruck: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Tesla Cybertruck||Chevy Silverado EV|
|Price||$39,900+ to $69,900+||$39,900+|
|Range||300 to 500 miles||400 miles|
|Recharge Time (Level 3)||Unknown||100 miles in 10 minutes|
|0-60 Time||6.5 seconds to 2.9 seconds||4.5 seconds|
|Horsepower||400? to 800||510 to 754|
|Torque||400? to 1,000+ ft-lbs||615 to 785 ft-lbs|
|Bed Length||6 feet 6 inches||5 feet 11 inches (or 9 feet, |
or 10 feet 10 inches)
|Towing Capacity||7,500 lbs to 14,000 lbs||8,000 lbs to 10,000 lbs |
(or 20,000 lbs)
|Availability||Summer 2023||Autumn 2023|
Silverado EV vs. Tesla Cybertruck: What’s the Difference?
Engineers built both the Tesla Cybertruck and the Silverado EV from the ground up as electric vehicles. Neither is an ICE model reconfigured with electric motors. However, GM and Tesla chose very different routes with their design philosophy.
The Cybertruck is an offbeat, even outlandish vehicle with an exterior made from flat facets and planes. The Silverado EV looks much more like a traditional pickup truck, though with some futuristic styling cues.
Tesla has supplied details on the Cybertruck which are hazy at best, making it unclear which trim levels will have which features. The company hasn’t even fully clarified if its planned quad-motor Cybertruck trim replaces the originally planned tri-motor variant. This scenario appears most likely, but the information here is subject to change.
While Tesla postponed Cybertruck production previously, it announced a $775 million expansion to Gigafactory Texas. It aims to use the expanded facility, in part, to build Cybertrucks. This evidence suggests the Cybertruck is really happening this time, and Musk’s quirky sci-fi pickup will soon go toe-to-toe against the Chevy Silverado EV.
Range and Recharging
Tesla plans to release the Cybertruck with several battery sizes. These should give ranges between 300 miles and 500+ miles according to company press releases. Tesla will make the 500+ mile battery available only on more expensive models. The EPA has not yet released public testing results for any of the vehicles, so the estimates are only Tesla figures.
The company originally planned to equip the top trim, powered by three electric motors, with a 500-mile battery. However, Tesla has since revealed plans to offer a quad-motor trim, either alongside or in place of the tri-motor model.
No information is available on how this might change the use of the 500-mile battery. On top of this, Tesla canceled the Model S Plaid+ (Plaid Plus) in 2021, saying there was “no need” for the trim. The company had previously touted the Plaid+’s 520-mile single-charge range as a major selling point.
GM says the Ultium battery pack in the top-end RST First Edition trim of the Silverado EV gives 400 miles of range. It has not yet published range figures or battery specs for the cheaper trims most people will probably drive. These, too, are manufacturer estimates, not EPA figures.
The recharging speed is unknown for the Cybertruck. Chevrolet says the Silverado EV’s battery regains 100 miles of range per 10 minutes spent hooked up to a Level 3 DC fast charger. This feat requires at least 350 kWh of charger output.
The Silverado EV can also electrify a house during an outage using its stored battery power. Known as V2L or vehicle-to-load, or alternately bidirectional charging, this system feeds electricity back into the home when ordinary current is blacked out. Starting with a full charge, the Silverado EV keeps typical house lights shining for up to 21 days, GM claims.
Performance and Hauling
Tesla doesn’t say exactly how much power its various Cybertruck trims will offer. Back in 2019, sources said the single-motor trim will develop 400 to 500 horsepower, likely with roughly equal ft-lbs of torque.
The dual-motor AWD serves up about 690 horsepower, combined with 824 torque ft-lbs, per the same individual. The tri-motor produced around 800 horsepower and 1,000 ft-lbs of torque, with the later quad-motor probably giving a similar performance.
These stats provide the following estimated 0-60 times and towing capabilities:
- Single-motor, 6.5 seconds 0-60 mph, 7,500 lbs towing.
- Dual-motor, 4.5 seconds 0-60 mph, 10,000 lbs towing.
- Tri-motor (and quad-motor), 2.9 seconds 0-60 mph, 14,000 lbs towing.
GM builds the Silverado electric pickup with just two different motor configurations, a single-motor, and a dual-motor setup. The single motor develops 510 horsepower and 615 ft-lbs of torque. This power level enables it to tow 8,000 lbs maximum. The 0-60 time on single-motor models hasn’t yet been released.
The dual-motor setup GM uses in the higher trims provides all-wheel drive (AWD). The two motors working in tandem generate 754 horsepower at peak, provided the driver switches into Wide Open Watts (WOW) mode. The pickup also achieves a torque of 785 ft-lbs.
These performance metrics translate into a 4.5-second time from 0 to 60 mph, plus 10,000 lbs of towing capacity. GM plans the release of an enhanced towing fleet WT trim Silverado able to haul trailers weighing up to 20,000 lbs.
Cargo Bed Comparison
The cargo bed is a major feature of any pickup, and the Silverado EV arguably offers more here than the Cybertruck. Tesla built the Cybertruck with a basic 6.5-foot bed. The center seat in the second seating row folds down to create a pass-through from the bed into the cabin.
However, it remains a fairly narrow opening, suitable only for items like planks, pipes, skis, and similar long, thin objects. The center seat doesn’t fold flat, either, but instead folds down into a central armrest between the outboard seats.
GM constructs the Silverado EV with a midgate the user can fold down to extend the full width of the cargo bed into the cabin. The bed offers 5 feet 11 inches of space with the midgate and tailgate raised.
If the driver drops the midgate the cargo floor expands to more than 9 feet. Folding down the tailgate and raising its cargo stop boosts bed length to an effect of 10 feet 10 inches. Both trucks fall short of the Ram Revolution’s 18-foot stowage length with its pass-through into the frunk, however.
Tesla made its Cybertruck bed with what it calls a “magic” tonneau cover. The cover turns the bed into what Tesla describes as a “vault” protecting the items inside from theft. The company says it built the cover strong enough for the owner to stand on.
It made the cover powered, so that it rolls away under the rear window or deploys again at a button push. The tonneau cover improves aerodynamics, and so boosts range, too. Tesla might build some of the covers, or all of them, with solar panels capable of adding 15 miles of range daily in sunny climates.
As of early 2023, Tesla is cutting prices on some models in the USA between 6% and 20%. So far, though, the EV automaker is discounting only the Model 3 and the Model Y. These actions don’t imply the company will also lower Cybertruck prices.
Tesla has left its Cybertruck pricing, much like available trim levels and the start of regular production (SORP), uncertain. The company announced prices years ago and hasn’t updated them since. At that time, the pricing structure was as follows, minus destination fees:
- Single-motor RWD model: $39,900
- Dual-motor AWD model: $49,900
- Triple-motor AWD model: $69,900
Since then, Tesla announced a quad-motor variant, without making it fully clear if this added a fourth trim or replaced the tri-motor version. Additionally, Elon Musk said Cybertruck prices will be higher than the figures given above. He cited inflation and remarked that “a lot has changed since then, so the specs and the pricing will be different.” He has not elaborated further as of mid-January 2023.
Silverado Price and Tax Breaks
Of course, this is still more information than Chevrolet (GM) has given about the Silverado EV’s price. The company set the base price for the lowest-cost trim, the Work Truck (WT) with a small battery pack at $39,900.
This will exactly match the figure Tesla gave in 2019 for the single-motor Cybertruck. But GM slated the small-battery WT to be released last, in autumn 2023. Its current Silverado EV trim release schedule and pricing look like this:
- Silverado EV WT trim with 400-mile battery: early 2023 release, price unknown.
- Silverado EV RST trim: mid-2023 release, price unknown.
- Silverado EV First Edition trim: mid-2023 release, price unknown.
- Silverado EV WT trim with small battery: late 2023 release, base price $39,900.
Depending on exact pricing, the Silverado EV and Tesla Cybertruck could both qualify for an Inflation Reduction Act tax credit. The government may give buyers of EV pickup trucks costing $80,000 or less a $7,500 tax break based on their purchase.
Eligibility hinges on more than just price, with the country of final assembly and battery country of origin also counting. However, the possibility remains one or both EVs could qualify under the Act. Currently, prices between the two rivals look vaguely on par, with affordability perhaps slightly favoring the Silverado.
Silverado EV vs Tesla Cybertruck: 6 Must-Know Facts
- One or two electric motors drive the Silverado, while one to four motors power the Cybertruck’s propulsion.
- The Silverado EV delivers 400 miles of range for all trims, while the Cybertruck offers 300 to 500 miles.
- The top-end Cybertruck goes faster at 2.9 seconds 0-60 than the fastest Silverado EV’s zero to sixty of 4.5 seconds.
- The Silverado had a 9-foot cargo floor thanks to its midgate, or 10 feet 10 inches with the tailgate lowered and locked in place as an extension.
- The Cybertruck’s bed measures 6.5 feet, but features a powered tonneau cover that’s very tough and may include solar panels.
- Currently, the cheapest base price model of each EV pickup is the same ($39,900). However, exact pricing remains largely opaque for both.
Silverado EV vs Tesla Cybertruck: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?
Choosing between the Silverado EV and the Tesla Cybertruck is largely a matter of personal preference. Both offer 400 to 500 miles of range in at least some of their trims. Hauling is roughly equal, as is the price.
Engineers gave the Cybertruck its origami-like lines because it features a cold-rolled stainless steel “Exoskeleton” body. The exoskeleton probably makes the Cybertruck tougher and safer, but designers paid attention to modern safety features in both vehicles.
The Silverado has more full-width cargo storage space than its Tesla competitor with pass-through into the cab. The Silverado also powers a house for up to 21 days, assuming the owner sets their home up for a vehicle-to-load connection.
While the Tesla Cybertruck can’t match this ability, few people will be interested in using it in any case. Even those few people will encounter opportunities to use the V2L connection very seldom.
Overall, both the Silverado EV and the Tesla Cybertruck appear to be high-quality, long-range, capable mid-price electric pickups. Choosing between them will likely come down to a few features better suited to intended individual use.
Some potential purchasers might choose based on aesthetics instead, depending on whether they want a gleaming stainless steel sci-fi sculpture – the Cybertruck – or a more traditional, though still ultramodern, pickup look — the Silverado. A BEV pickup buyer, in short, probably won’t go wrong in a practical sense getting either truck.
Silverado EV: Even Better Than Expected
On May 19, 2023, Chevrolet announced that its 2024 Silverado’s EPA range rating was 50 miles higher than the company’s estimated 400 miles. The Silverado EV Work Truck’s (WT) EPA-certified range is a jaw-dropping 450 miles on a full charge. While the Silverado WT is designed for fleets, not consumers, the Silverado EV SRT still beats its closest competitors by more than 70 miles.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Mike Mareen/Shutterstock.com.