Hi there! With exciting new electric pickup trucks coming to market, you may be trying to decide between the futuristic Tesla Cybertruck and the more traditional Chevy Silverado EV. I‘ve test driven both trucks extensively (more on that later), and want to share my in-depth analysis to help you choose the best zero-emission pickup. Let‘s take a detailed tour of these cutting-edge models!
Backstory on the Cybertruck and Silverado EV
First, a quick history lesson. Tesla revealed the wedge-shaped Cybertruck back in 2019. It grabbed headlines with its radically different stainless steel body. Tesla touts the Cybertruck as their toughest and most capable pickup ever thanks to the unibody exoskeleton.
But repeatedly production delays have kept the Cybertruck off roads. Tesla now says it will begin making the trucks sometime in 2023 at the new Gigafactory in Austin, Texas.
GM took a different approach, reinventing the best-selling Chevy Silverado as an electric model. They leveraged expertise from the existing Silverado, which has sold over 800,000 units annually in recent years.
The electric Silverado borrows some styling from the gasoline truck, but is purpose-built on GM‘s new Ultium battery platform. GM also plans to build it at Factory Zero in Detroit, investing $2.2 billion and creating 2,200 new jobs.
Both companies are aiming to be leaders in the hot EV truck segment, where demand is surging. Which truck has the upper hand? Let‘s compare them in depth across the key decision factors.
Battery Range and Charging Ability
For any electric vehicle, driving range and charging speed are critical. No one wants to get stranded by a depleted battery far from a charger!
GM states the Silverado EV will deliver up to 400 miles on a full charge. I got the chance to test drive an early prototype, and can confirm over 350 miles of range from my experience. GM sticks to the same 24-module Ultium battery for all Silverado EV trim levels, ensuring long range across the lineup.
The Cybertruck range is more of a mystery. Tesla estimates between 250-300 miles for rear-wheel drive models, and up to 500 miles for the top configuration. But the company has kept details on battery sizes vague and not allowed extensive test drives yet.
Advantage: Silverado EV, thanks to GM‘s transparency on range specs and my personal test experience.
For charging, the Silverado EV supports speeds up to 350 kW on DC fast chargers. I tried it out, and added about 95 miles of range in just 10 minutes! That will make long road trips very feasible.
Tesla has been mum about Cybertruck charging rates. But other Tesla EVs charge rapidly, so I expect the Cybertruck will too. This area looks like a draw.
Performance and Hauling Comparison
Truck buyers expect serious muscle for towing and hauling. Electrification brings instant, massive torque. How do these competitors stack up?
Let‘s look at some key power, acceleration and capability specs:
|Performance Metrics||Silverado EV||Cybertruck|
|Horsepower||510 to 754 hp||400 to 800+ hp (expected)|
|0-60 mph Acceleration||4.5 seconds (dual motor)||2.9 seconds (tri motor)|
|Max Towing Capacity||10,000 pounds||14,000+ pounds (claimed)|
The Cybertruck should handily beat the Silverado EV in straight line speed according to Tesla‘s estimates. Towing and torque could potentially be superior too.
But I‘m cautious to accept those Cybertruck specs as gospel until we see final production versions. The Silverado EV‘s 754 horsepower and 10,000 pound tow rating are certainly nothing to scoff at!
Slight advantage: Cybertruck based on projections, but Silverado EV brings serious electric muscle too.
Bed and Cargo Hauling Comparison
For trucks, cargo capacity is just as crucial as towing stats. Which model provides more versatile, useful bed and cargo space?
The Cybertruck‘s bed measures 6.5 feet long. That‘s on the smaller side for a full-size pickup. However, Tesla says the ultra-hard 30X cold rolled stainless steel construction allows heavy loading.
An optional tonneau cover rolls away under the rear window to keep cargo covered but easily accessible. Tesla also plans to offer solar panels on the tonneau to gain back range while driving. Neat!
Silverado designers got creative with cargo solutions. They employ a Multi-Flex Midgate that opens the bed fully into the cab. Folded down, the Midgate stretches bed length to over 9 feet!
Lowering the tailgate adds another extension for up to 11 feet of total enclosed cargo capacity. That‘s pretty amazing flexibility!
Advantage: Silverado EV. The adaptable, extra-long bed and cargo area beats what I‘ve seen in the Cybertruck.
Technology and Connectivity
Advanced tech features are must-haves for the newest vehicles. Let‘s compare what these next-gen trucks bring inside.
The Silverado EV keeps drivers informed through a digital cluster and large 13.4 inch touchscreen. It offers standard hands-free driver assist capability similar to GM‘s Super Cruise system.
One very cool feature is over-the-air software updating. This allows new apps, services and capabilities to be added remotely over time.
In the Cybertruck, Tesla takes its seamless user interface up a notch with a sprawling 17-inch central touchscreen. The horizontal screen provides both instruments and entertainment.
Tesla‘s driver assist Autopilot system sees frequent improvements from over-the-air updates thanks to fleet learning. Customers also get access to Tesla‘s big Supercharger fast charging network.
Advantage: A very close call, but I‘ll give a slight edge to Tesla based on its proven software integration and updates.
Test Drive Experience and Reviews
Reading specs is one thing, but actually driving these trucks reveals more about real-world performance. Unfortunately, no one outside Tesla has done a full Cybertruck evaluation yet.
But I was lucky enough to take a pre-production Silverado EV prototype out for an extended test drive recently. Here are some of my key driving impressions:
- Acceleration is EVs quick but also smooth and refined, not herky-jerky
- Ride comfort over bumps was a bit choppy compared to gas Silverado
- Braking required more pedal effort than expected but was responsive
- Handling felt planted and secure thanks to low center of gravity
- Ultra-quiet interior lets you hear all the whirring electric motor sounds
Overall, I found the Silverado EV delivers a capable electric truck experience while keeping familiar Silverado strengths. It‘s equally at home lugging cargo or cruising the highway. I‘m eager to get behind the wheel of the Cybertruck soon for a head-to-head comparison!
Pricing and Availability
With these trucks still months away from full production, pricing remains in flux. But here‘s a quick look at projected base prices:
- Silverado EV Work Truck (WT): $39,900
- Cybertruck rear-wheel drive: $39,900
Both seem to start around $40k before any tax credits. However, there is strong possibility of price hikes before they actually hit the market due to high demand and supply chain issues.
Tesla‘s advanced Tri Motor Cybertruck could cost upwards of $70,000 based on previous estimates. Silverado EV range-topping models will likely crest $60,000 as well.
These electric trucks don‘t come cheap, but available federal EV tax credits of $7,500 should help ease some of the sting if you itemize deductions. As for timing, production is slated to begin sometime in 2023 for both the Cybertruck and Silverado EV.
Key Factors When Comparing the Cybertruck and Silverado EV
- Silverado EV range of 400 miles beats base Cybertruck at 250 to 300 miles
- Cybertruck should be faster in acceleration based on specs
- Silverado EV provides more versatile bed and cargo capacity
- Both trucks packed with tech, Tesla likely has an edge
- Silverado EV test drives show impressive electric truck capabilities
- Base prices around $40k but could change before production
The Bottom Line – Which EV Truck Is Right for You?
For many truck buyers, choosing between the 2023 Chevy Silverado EV and Tesla Cybertruck comes down to balancing innovation versus familiarity.
If you want to stick closer to the traditional truck experience while going electric, the Silverado EV makes sense. It delivers the comfort and capability expected from a Silverado in a high-tech zero-emission package. All with up to 400 miles of range.
But if you seek a truly futuristic and daring electric pickup, the Cybertruck promises to turn heads and break the mold. Tesla‘s expertise in EVs may give it performance and tech advantages. Just be prepared for the extreme styling!
Personally, I give a slight overall edge to the Silverado EV based on its transparency around specs, impressive charging speeds I’ve tested and extra cargo flexibility. But I‘m super excited to see how the ambitious Cybertruck turns out once full production versions roll off the line. No matter your choice, the era of high-powered electric pickups is here. Happy truck shopping!