General Motors and other carmakers have already debuted their first electric pickup trucks, but they’re still unable to produce a heavy-duty electric pickup due to technological constraints. In fact, GM recently stated that it wouldn’t electrify its heavy-duty vehicles until 2040. But the company made a surprising announcement during CES 2022—it’s fast tracking HD pickup development.
All GM heavy-duty vehicles, including the GMC Sierra HD and Chevy Silverado HD, will be available with all-electric powertrains by 2035. That’s the same year that GM plans to fully electrify its light-duty vehicles.
Here’s a quote from GM CEO Mary Barra, courtesy of Inside EVs:
As previously announced, our plan is to have all new light-duty vehicles be electric by 2035. Today, I’m pleased to announce that we’ll introduce all-electric heavy duty vehicles on that same timetable. These all-electric heavy duty trucks will be engineered to deliver effortless heavy duty hauling and towing.
We’re not sure why GM is suddenly changing its plans—perhaps it has something to do with the carmaker’s new Ultium battery platform, which could improve the range of upcoming EVs (heavy-duty vehicles are heavy and tow heavy things, necessitating larger batteries). The big-wigs at GM may also have concerns about regulations; California recently ruled that all HD vehicles must be zero-emissions by 2035, and other governments could implement similar laws.
One thing to note is that GM may continue selling combustion engine heavy-duty vehicles after 2035. The company recently agreed to end combustion engine production by 2040, so there may be a few years of overlap between gas-guzzlers and battery-powered GM HD vehicles.
Either way, we expect GM and other automakers to build HD EVs a lot sooner than 2035. Electric vehicle tech is advancing rapidly, and innovations will only increase now that automakers are building more factories for batteries, powertrains, and other components. Also, companies like Rivian, GM, and Tesla raced to build their first electric pickups; we should expect another intense race to put out the first HD EVs.