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Living With The Chevy Silverado EV For (Almost) A Week

andyboo

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TL;DR: The Chevy Silverado EV is a great choice for anyone who needs all of the range for an electric pickup truck and doesn’t mind a vehicle that’s a bit rough around the edges and not much to look at.

The Long Version

Two weeks ago, I had a chance to spend 6 days living with the Chevy Silverado EV while my R1S was in for service. The service center didn’t have any loaners available, so I got a ride to the nearby Enterprise.

As we were pulling into the Enterprise lot, I noticed two black Chevy Silverados with the blue “≡” symbol in the name on the side. When I got inside, they asked if I wanted to have on of those since I was probably interested in an EV and those were the only EVs they had available. Both had just been delivered and had never been rented out before. None of the staff had any of the details about what spec the trucks were or knew much about how they worked so they wished me well and sent me on my way.

Getting Started

There are a ton, and I mean a ton, of prompts when starting this car. There are various acknowledgments of safety features, prompts about allowing the car to send diagnostics, and using the connectivity features the car has. After those I was excited to set up CarPlay because that’s the feature I miss most switching from our old car to the R1S. The Silv≡rado has wireless CarPlay, setup was quick and easy once you figure out that’s available through the generic Bluetooth menu (thanks, p. 168 of the owners manual). Using CarPlay for those 6 days again highlights just how far behind Rivian’s navigation system is behind both Apple and Google Maps, not to mention the lack of easy integration with any third party music or podcast apps, except Spotify, Amazon, and Tidal (lol).

At this point, the Silv≡rado had 66 miles on the odometer, an estimated range of 383 miles and 73% battery in the tank.

First Drive

It’s going to be a recurring theme, but the Silv≡rado is designed to make you forget you’re driving an EV. The first instance of that is that regen was completely turned off when I first started the car. Getting coming from my R1S with its regen turned up all the way, this complete lack of regen came as a bit of a surprise so after I overcame the confusion about needing to use that other pedal, I pulled over and hunted through the menus to find where I could turn on the one pedal driving. I turned that up as high as it would go and would say it is probably about 80% of the Rivian’s maximum setting. In other words, I think it would be great if Chevy added some more levels of regen and turned the high end up more.

Driving the car you quickly notice that handling and ride feel is very much like a lot of other Ford or Chevy trucks. Driving straight, the (extremely thick) steering wheel has about 2” of play off of center before you start to actually move the car. Going around corners requires actual physical force, it’s not at all like the Rivian which can turn with one or two fingers on the wheel.

The ride quality is very floaty and soft—it’s not a Cadillac or an S Class, but it’s not too far off either. If there’s a way to adjust that on this car, I never figured it out but I honestly didn’t try too hard to figure out if it had multiple suspension modes. Acceleration is not as quick as the R1S but if you put your foot down, it’s one of the few times you realize it’s an EV because it is quick to 60mph.

Parking the Silv≡rado is a project because this. truck. is. huge. While it’s the same width as the R1S, it’s 1” taller and it’s 32” longer than the R1S (16” longer than the R1T). The next problem about parking the Silv≡rado is its camera system. While it’s got a backup camera and a top down view, the quality of all the cameras is about on par with my Motorola RAZR from 2004. The cameras a so poor that they are practically unusable and feel dangerous. There are also no guide lines on the screen when backing up, which feels like it should be a must for a vehicle this big.

By the end of my first day with the Silv≡rado, the odometer was at 103 miles and 67% in the tank (without plugging in). The estimated range was 350, so it seems the estimates are very conservative.

The Silv≡rado Hauls

The next day I decided to pick up some soil and large pots, since I had a pickup I figured I might as well use it. The load height of the Silv≡rado is a bit on the high but still very usable (I’m 5’ 9”). With the entire bed full of bags of soil and heavy cement planters, the truck didn’t drive any different than it did empty. This was impressive and Chevy definitely built this truck to be just as utilitarian as its ICE counterpart. I only drove about 15 miles with the full load and the impact on range seemed to be minimal over an empty bed.

By the end of the second day, the odometer was at 138, the estimated range was 318, and the battery was at 60%.

Charging

On the morning of Day 3 I decided to plug in and charge up at the ChargePoint DC fast charger at work. The first dispenser was very confused by the car after going through all the prompts on the charger and in the App and ended the charging session immediately after starting it. The second dispenser did something similar but took 3x longer to begin the seconds long charging session. Next I tried the free ChargePoint dispensers across the lot but those either didn’t work at all or did not recognize the car, the dialog on the screens made it impossible to tell where the failure point was. Charging finally worked at an Electrify America charger.

While charing there, I overheard a couple approaching their ID.4 and saying to each other “what kind of dick blocks a charger in this giant parking…woah! That things electric?!?” Again, the Silv≡rado is aimed at people who are buying their second, third, or seventh Chevy truck, not someone who is considering the Ioniq 5 or a Prius. It identifies as truck much more than it identifies as an EV.

Getting in the truck while it was charging gave me a start because the horn blared as soon as I shut the door. This might have been some attempt at a warning so you don’t drive off while plugged in, or it was a glitch, it wasn’t clear. With that over, the car did not display anything on the center screen while charging so it took a second to figure out that touching the brake pedal turns the infotainment on. The Silv≡rado helpfully wants to conserve power by shutting off about every 5 minutes while you’re sitting there waiting for the massive battery to charge. This is annoying but overcome by touching the brake every few minutes if you want to keep your podcast running. The in-car experience while sitting at a charger is definitely not as polished as it is in a Rivian or a Tesla.

Roadtrip

The indicated range was 416 miles after charging to 99%, plenty for a 230 mile round trip to Lake Tahoe and immediately back.

About halfway up the mountain I made it into an unseasonably late snow storm. The truck handled great on its stock tires, the wipers kept the window clear, and the heater absolutely ripped the entire way.

By the time I got to the top of the top of the mountain to my destination, the odometer was at 260 miles and the battery was at 55%. This translates to 44% of the battery used to drive 115 miles almost entirely up hill. On the way back down, watching the range estimate felt like I’d discovered perpetual motion because it just kept going up and up. By the time I made it back to Sacramento, the battery was at 53% so driving the 230 mile round trip up and down the Sierra Nevada ate through 46% of the battery.

Final Days

The last couple days with the Silv≡rado were mostly driving around town and nothing remarkable happened aside from a massive water leak. The day after the Tahoe roadtrip, I was out running errands while it was raining. After getting into the car in the rain I noticed some drips in the dash to the left of the steering wheel. Figuring that happened from having the door open when getting in, I wiped the dash, drove off. When I started driving drops of water started coming off the A pillar from the side of the windshield. So much water was coming in that it was running down the dash and into the air vents. Looking at the windshield more closely when I stopped, the leak seemed to be coming from a few spots along the left side of the windshield where the glass seemed to have been attached with blobily applied black adhesive. Hopefully this was an early production quirk and not a sign of issues to come.

By the end of my time with the Silv≡rado, I knew I was going to miss CarPlay but missed my R1S more. On balance, the Silv≡rado is a good vehicle with some high highs and low lows.

Pros
  • Excellent range
  • CarPlay / Android Auto
  • Doesn’t strain under load
  • Great acceleration
  • Strong regenerative braking
  • Comfortable seats
  • WT trim has an all plastic interior so no carpeting to fuss over with all weather mats
  • Should appeal to a broad audience of truck owners that might not have otherwise considered an EV
Cons
  • Cameras are objectively terrible
  • Charging takes forever (once you find a charger that the truck actually plays nice with)
  • Built in infotainment system is not intuitive and very ugly
  • Not much ground clearance because of the massive battery pack
  • Steering sucks
  • Frunk is relatively small despite a large the front end
  • WT trim does not have the removable back wall that extends the bed into the rear seats
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Chewy734

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Thanks for the detailed write up!

So, in your opinion, assuming one doesn’t need a full-size truck, R1T or Silv≡rado?
 

Oldsmobile_Mike

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Great write-up! What did Enterprise say about the windshield leak? Hopefully they'll fix that properly and not leave it go on too long, but I know there are some horror stories floating around about how other rental places "repair" their EV's...
 

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WT trims definitely have worse infotainment related things vs the RST, like the cameras.
 
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andyboo

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Thanks for the detailed write up!

So, in your opinion, assuming one doesn’t need a full-size truck, R1T or Silv≡rado?
R1T definitely. I had an R1T loaner for 3 weeks in December last year and absolutely loved it.

I definitely think the R1T is nicer on the inside but the biggest difference between those two if you're set on a truck one way or the other is probably how each drives/handles. The Silverado drives like a truck and you notice every inch of it when trying to turn or park. The R1T handles almost as well as the much shorter R1S and is just way easier to maneuver. If Chevy put better cameras on the Silverado that would go a long way to making the Silverado feel more modern and make it a closer call.
 

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andyboo

andyboo

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Great write-up! What did Enterprise say about the windshield leak? Hopefully they'll fix that properly and not leave it go on too long, but I know there are some horror stories floating around about how other rental places "repair" their EV's...
I dropped the Silverado off at the Rivian Service Center and let them know to pass on the leak issue. I'm sure they probably had some window shop come out to either replace the windshield or at least replace the sealant though here in California you could probably now drive it for another 6 months before anyone else would notice.
 

moosetags

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Thank you so much for this writeup. I am currently on my 8th Chevrolet Truck. My current Silverado is a 2020 Duramax bohimith. Of course, I have been eyeing the Silverado EV. It appears that it is not quite ready to be my primary tow vehicle. I'm waiting for the greater payload and the Quadrasteer.

For now, I'm happy with my R1T for shorter Airstream Adventures and keeping the Duramax for the epic journeys.

Brian
 

DeanB1452

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Thanks for the writeup. I had a 2007 Chevy Avalanche and put my deposit down on the Silverado EV last year in January. Then I had health complications and ended up having quadruple bypass surgery in March, 2023. After that, I didn't want to wait until Summer '24 for the Silverado RST to come out and stumbled onto Rivian. Time is too short to waste. May 25th marks 1 year of ownership of my R1T, which I have put 20K miles on it! Best decision ever!
 

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Sounds like the truck I might be looking for... But not in the WT trim.

But I think that the release of the next trim lines wont be out for a while.
 

Dark-Fx

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Sounds like the truck I might be looking for... But not in the WT trim.

But I think that the release of the next trim lines wont be out for a while.
RST first editions are starting to ship. Sierra soon after.
 

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TL;DR: The Chevy Silverado EV is a great choice for anyone who needs all of the range for an electric pickup truck and doesn’t mind a vehicle that’s a bit rough around the edges and not much to look at.

The Long Version

Two weeks ago, I had a chance to spend 6 days living with the Chevy Silverado EV while my R1S was in for service. The service center didn’t have any loaners available, so I got a ride to the nearby Enterprise.

As we were pulling into the Enterprise lot, I noticed two black Chevy Silverados with the blue “≡” symbol in the name on the side. When I got inside, they asked if I wanted to have on of those since I was probably interested in an EV and those were the only EVs they had available. Both had just been delivered and had never been rented out before. None of the staff had any of the details about what spec the trucks were or knew much about how they worked so they wished me well and sent me on my way.

Getting Started

There are a ton, and I mean a ton, of prompts when starting this car. There are various acknowledgments of safety features, prompts about allowing the car to send diagnostics, and using the connectivity features the car has. After those I was excited to set up CarPlay because that’s the feature I miss most switching from our old car to the R1S. The Silv≡rado has wireless CarPlay, setup was quick and easy once you figure out that’s available through the generic Bluetooth menu (thanks, p. 168 of the owners manual). Using CarPlay for those 6 days again highlights just how far behind Rivian’s navigation system is behind both Apple and Google Maps, not to mention the lack of easy integration with any third party music or podcast apps, except Spotify, Amazon, and Tidal (lol).

At this point, the Silv≡rado had 66 miles on the odometer, an estimated range of 383 miles and 73% battery in the tank.

First Drive

It’s going to be a recurring theme, but the Silv≡rado is designed to make you forget you’re driving an EV. The first instance of that is that regen was completely turned off when I first started the car. Getting coming from my R1S with its regen turned up all the way, this complete lack of regen came as a bit of a surprise so after I overcame the confusion about needing to use that other pedal, I pulled over and hunted through the menus to find where I could turn on the one pedal driving. I turned that up as high as it would go and would say it is probably about 80% of the Rivian’s maximum setting. In other words, I think it would be great if Chevy added some more levels of regen and turned the high end up more.

Driving the car you quickly notice that handling and ride feel is very much like a lot of other Ford or Chevy trucks. Driving straight, the (extremely thick) steering wheel has about 2” of play off of center before you start to actually move the car. Going around corners requires actual physical force, it’s not at all like the Rivian which can turn with one or two fingers on the wheel.

The ride quality is very floaty and soft—it’s not a Cadillac or an S Class, but it’s not too far off either. If there’s a way to adjust that on this car, I never figured it out but I honestly didn’t try too hard to figure out if it had multiple suspension modes. Acceleration is not as quick as the R1S but if you put your foot down, it’s one of the few times you realize it’s an EV because it is quick to 60mph.

Parking the Silv≡rado is a project because this. truck. is. huge. While it’s the same width as the R1S, it’s 1” taller and it’s 32” longer than the R1S (16” longer than the R1T). The next problem about parking the Silv≡rado is its camera system. While it’s got a backup camera and a top down view, the quality of all the cameras is about on par with my Motorola RAZR from 2004. The cameras a so poor that they are practically unusable and feel dangerous. There are also no guide lines on the screen when backing up, which feels like it should be a must for a vehicle this big.

By the end of my first day with the Silv≡rado, the odometer was at 103 miles and 67% in the tank (without plugging in). The estimated range was 350, so it seems the estimates are very conservative.

The Silv≡rado Hauls

The next day I decided to pick up some soil and large pots, since I had a pickup I figured I might as well use it. The load height of the Silv≡rado is a bit on the high but still very usable (I’m 5’ 9”). With the entire bed full of bags of soil and heavy cement planters, the truck didn’t drive any different than it did empty. This was impressive and Chevy definitely built this truck to be just as utilitarian as its ICE counterpart. I only drove about 15 miles with the full load and the impact on range seemed to be minimal over an empty bed.

By the end of the second day, the odometer was at 138, the estimated range was 318, and the battery was at 60%.

Charging

On the morning of Day 3 I decided to plug in and charge up at the ChargePoint DC fast charger at work. The first dispenser was very confused by the car after going through all the prompts on the charger and in the App and ended the charging session immediately after starting it. The second dispenser did something similar but took 3x longer to begin the seconds long charging session. Next I tried the free ChargePoint dispensers across the lot but those either didn’t work at all or did not recognize the car, the dialog on the screens made it impossible to tell where the failure point was. Charging finally worked at an Electrify America charger.

While charing there, I overheard a couple approaching their ID.4 and saying to each other “what kind of dick blocks a charger in this giant parking…woah! That things electric?!?” Again, the Silv≡rado is aimed at people who are buying their second, third, or seventh Chevy truck, not someone who is considering the Ioniq 5 or a Prius. It identifies as truck much more than it identifies as an EV.

Getting in the truck while it was charging gave me a start because the horn blared as soon as I shut the door. This might have been some attempt at a warning so you don’t drive off while plugged in, or it was a glitch, it wasn’t clear. With that over, the car did not display anything on the center screen while charging so it took a second to figure out that touching the brake pedal turns the infotainment on. The Silv≡rado helpfully wants to conserve power by shutting off about every 5 minutes while you’re sitting there waiting for the massive battery to charge. This is annoying but overcome by touching the brake every few minutes if you want to keep your podcast running. The in-car experience while sitting at a charger is definitely not as polished as it is in a Rivian or a Tesla.

Roadtrip

The indicated range was 416 miles after charging to 99%, plenty for a 230 mile round trip to Lake Tahoe and immediately back.

About halfway up the mountain I made it into an unseasonably late snow storm. The truck handled great on its stock tires, the wipers kept the window clear, and the heater absolutely ripped the entire way.

By the time I got to the top of the top of the mountain to my destination, the odometer was at 260 miles and the battery was at 55%. This translates to 44% of the battery used to drive 115 miles almost entirely up hill. On the way back down, watching the range estimate felt like I’d discovered perpetual motion because it just kept going up and up. By the time I made it back to Sacramento, the battery was at 53% so driving the 230 mile round trip up and down the Sierra Nevada ate through 46% of the battery.

Final Days

The last couple days with the Silv≡rado were mostly driving around town and nothing remarkable happened aside from a massive water leak. The day after the Tahoe roadtrip, I was out running errands while it was raining. After getting into the car in the rain I noticed some drips in the dash to the left of the steering wheel. Figuring that happened from having the door open when getting in, I wiped the dash, drove off. When I started driving drops of water started coming off the A pillar from the side of the windshield. So much water was coming in that it was running down the dash and into the air vents. Looking at the windshield more closely when I stopped, the leak seemed to be coming from a few spots along the left side of the windshield where the glass seemed to have been attached with blobily applied black adhesive. Hopefully this was an early production quirk and not a sign of issues to come.

By the end of my time with the Silv≡rado, I knew I was going to miss CarPlay but missed my R1S more. On balance, the Silv≡rado is a good vehicle with some high highs and low lows.

Pros
  • Excellent range
  • CarPlay / Android Auto
  • Doesn’t strain under load
  • Great acceleration
  • Strong regenerative braking
  • Comfortable seats
  • WT trim has an all plastic interior so no carpeting to fuss over with all weather mats
  • Should appeal to a broad audience of truck owners that might not have otherwise considered an EV
Cons
  • Cameras are objectively terrible
  • Charging takes forever (once you find a charger that the truck actually plays nice with)
  • Built in infotainment system is not intuitive and very ugly
  • Not much ground clearance because of the massive battery pack
  • Steering sucks
  • Frunk is relatively small despite a large the front end
  • WT trim does not have the removable back wall that extends the bed into the rear seats
On charging…there’s a lot of reviews out…actually has the best charging of any EV….>360 kw!
 
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andyboo

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On charging…there’s a lot of reviews out…actually has the best charging of any EV….>360 kw!
Definitely not what I saw trying to charge this particular one at many stations over the 6 days (at chargers that my R1S regularly charges just fine at and that other people were using at the same time). If they generally charge well, that's great, but this one definitely seemed to have some bugs on that aspect.
 

AlanP

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I also got a Silverado loaner for 5 days last week . Got it at 82% charge and after 215 miles still had 31%. Wanted to check out the fast charging but never had the opportunity. Fit and finish was great and EVERYTHING worked. Very large and truck like. Quick but nothing close to the R1S. Sticker was $75k and with a somewhat minimalist interior I think you would definitely need to be an EV enthusiast to purchase.
One thing I found interesting is the display shows instantaneous kwh draw . When flooring it uphill it read a little over 400kwh. Wow.
 
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Thanks for the write up. Owning the Avalanche, Suburbans and GMC Jimmy in the past, if I had not gotten the Rivian, I would probably be driving the E Silverado. I had a day one reservation which I cancelled.
 

mkhuffman

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It looks like you didn't get a chance to take pictures? If you did, I am interested to see what your rental looked like.

Very nice review, BTW.
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