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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A main goal is to tow a travel trailer. Through my employer we get a GM employee discount so I can get a 2500 ICE for under $50k (I'll be retired by the time they put the Silverado EV on the supplier discount list). This would be perfect for towing, but we kind of hate ICE. The EV with 400 miles, well say we get 200 miles which looks just enough. Average RVer drives 4-5 hours a day, we'd probably be more like 4, at 60 mph 200 mi is 3.3 hours, but in practice one charge would probably be generally needed.

Problem is no fast chargers I'm aware of are tow friendly. I've used some where you could probably fake it, but GM decided to put the charge port on the back. Obviously to get it near the inverter (which they couldn't put at the front?), at any rate given how short DC fast charge cables are that probably means I have to unhitch which is a major PITA.

Also they want to apparently sell me a WT which has no midgate, or an RST which is the price of a small kingdom. So I'm thinking of just getting our last ICE vehicle and selling it when the price comes down and there's more options. This is my idea, my wife says ICE is a non-starter, so yeah ...

What would you do?
 

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2020 Bolt LT, Dodge Ram 2500 4WD, Jeep Wrangler
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I'm in a similar situation, currently with a Ram 2500 (diesel) and 5th-wheel toy-hauler. I'd consider getting a smaller RV, but 200 miles of towing range seems very restricting. And the problem of charging with trailer attached is significant. I could probably charge at campgrounds, but that would be a lot of campground fees, and short driving days. On travel days, we generally go twice that far.

So, I need many details about the Silverado EV, charging stations and coming campground facilities.
 

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I only tow occasionally, and while doing that, no travel trailers etc. Just a trailer with a car on it or something smaller. And not over major distances. Hence, I'm pretty sure the EV will manage the job when needed.

However, I will keep my current 2016 Silverado until the foreseeable future. It's 900 miles short of hitting 200K, so it'll be just barely broken in when ever my EV comes in 202x. 💪

You want ICE, but wife doesn't? That sure is a conundrum... However, it's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission, so... 😁
 

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If you are towing for distance, and something with the Aero of a travel trailer, I would opt for an HD diesel at this point. The pull through chargers are coming, as part of GM's partnership with one of the truck stop chains (Pilot I think). But range will be limited by terrain as well as drag, and may result in a less than optimum experience until we get to the point where trailer power assist/add'l battery/etc. start to become a thing to assist with EV towing. I would expect EV towing to become more of a practical application in 5-10 years, not practical for a first adopter into the EV truck market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You want ICE, but wife doesn't?
No I want BEV - ideally. But I've owned ICE trucks before and worked on a farm so am comfortable with big trucks. Anyhow just had a talk with my wife explaining the practicalities and she sounds open the idea. The other problem is I'd like to go back to visit Canada and Alaska - did many fishing trips through there with my Dad and I think my wife would like it. But there's not much charging infrastructure yet. Talk about expansion North, but you know ...

Anyhow at the moment I think we're probably serious enough to go ahead and get a 2023 Silverado 2500 in the next year, then a EV sometime later. GM's plan is that the last vehicals to convert to battery will be the HD trucks - 2500/3500, in 2035. That's going to depend on avilability of higher energy density batteries, so we may be waiting a decade or more.

I would opt for an HD diesel at this point
Good thoughts - thanks and I agree. But diesel is a non starter, reviews I've seen of the 6.6 V8 look good.
 

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But there's not much charging infrastructure yet.
This is the problem with EV towing currently. You need a big battery, and there are no fast chargers available within the short ranges towing creates. Unhitching to charge (if you can find it) is a PITA, and now how I would want to spend my time.

Can a BEV truck do it, sure it can. Do you want to be on that bleeding edge of technology and deal with all of the early adoption issues to make it work, most likely not.

2500HD pickup will be a great value for you for the next decade or longer. It's the right choice if you have even a small expectation of exploring off the major interstate system with a travel trailer/5th wheel.
 

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Silverado EV won’t be good for any long distance highway towing, in town only. It just doesn’t make sense, maybe with solid state batteries and a 600 mile range it might become an option in the future with better charging infrastructure. The payload is also low, I’m not sure I buy the 20k towing capacity claims. Diesel trucks are ideal for towing, high payload and capacity, high range and minimal losses while towing compared to gas or worse EV. Most wouldn’t tow a travel trailer with a 1500 gasser, the EV is even worse. Can’t tow fifth wheel either and pumper pull has limits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I've been out of the truck market for a decade now. So you guys think a Silverado HD 2500 with 6.6L V8 6 speed transmission gas WT a good choice? Features look good to me, hey they actually have touchscreens and cameras now :)
 

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Depends on what you want to tow. I’ve heard good things about the gasser Godzilla motor on the ford, but I’m not sure about the 6.6 gm gasser. I’m sure it’s a strong more reliable motor, just not sure it’s worth the savings compared to the dirty max unless you are doing lighter towing. Hard to beat the effortless towing of diesel at the higher capacities. The refresh Silverado is very nicely equipped and of course is GMs bread and butter so not outsourced or phoned in, it’s what GM does best.
 

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No I want BEV - ideally.
Sure. That's why we are all here waiting for our Silverado EV. However, from below, I could swear you're thinking about wanting/buying an ICE, but what do I know...
So I'm thinking of just getting our last ICE vehicle and selling it when the price comes down and there's more options. This is my idea, my wife says ICE is a non-starter, so yeah ...
Anyway... Semantics aside, for your travel needs to Alaska and where ever, electric truck will not be a viable option for you for a LONG time. Time to look for ICE until things develop.
 
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I've been out of the truck market for a decade now. So you guys think a Silverado HD 2500 with 6.6L V8 6 speed transmission gas WT a good choice? Features look good to me, hey they actually have touchscreens and cameras now :)
I would go a trim or two above the WT personally. Maybe not all the way to a High Country, but something in the LT range. If you're going to be spending a bunch of time in the vehicle, make it a comfy place with some nice features. Heated seats in particular will be a nice touch on your Alaska trip!

Diesel vs Electric for your plans......Diesel every single day and twice on Sunday!......And that's coming from a guy with a boat and a camper!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I would go a trim or two above the WT personally. Maybe not all the way to a High Country, but something in the LT range. If you're going to be spending a bunch of time in the vehicle, make it a comfy place with some nice features. Heated seats in particular will be a nice touch on your Alaska trip!
Fair point, but easy when you're spending my money :p

Meanwhile I've come to find that the Silverado HD is getting the interior refresh in 2024 - which is just fine for my timing. But the upgraded interior will probably only come on LT and above so yeah will probably be getting that anyhow. I'll stay at the low end of those trims though, but I do want the upgraded dash and screen.

Diesel vs Electric for your plans......Diesel every single day and twice on Sunday!......And that's coming from a guy with a boat and a camper!
Yeah, never had diesel, never will. I swore I'd never buy an ICE again, so this is a big stretch already. Truth be told as an engineer I've always hated ICE cars. We take this beautiful energy source that just bubbles out of the ground, waste most of it with a complicated system that wants to expensively break down, and is polluting and noisy to boot. Can't tell you how happy I am that the transition back to BEV is here (cars were originally Steam and Electric).

But ICE is at the pinnacle of its development, and BEV's at the beginning, so in this one application as we've discussed here it makes sense to go ICE. The last cars GM will convert to battery will be the HD trucks, in (planned) 2035. I am holding off though for a few years, if GM comes through with a big network of tow friendly charging I might just say screw it and just get the Silverado EV anyhow.

Actually ... the network looks pretty good


I don't mind stopping more frequently, we're slow travelers ... and I could rent a truck for Alaska, hmmmm
 

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Good points. I personally wouldn't consider buying a new ICE vehicle now. But I have a 2001 Dodge Ram 2500 (diesel) that is in very good shape. I use it for towing the 5th-wheel camper, etc. It's currently in NM.

Wheel Tire Vehicle Motor vehicle Hood


I actually have 2 Silverado reservations: 1 in Alaska, where I live; and 1 in GA, where my family is. So I'll go ahead and get a Silverado EV in one of those places, when available. I'll decide then where/how I want to use it. NM, is a base to make camping trips from. And I currently use a Jeep Wrangler in AK to pull my boat, snowmachine/4-wheeler trailer, etc.

... and I could rent a truck for Alaska, hmmmm
I live in Alaska, and just a couple weeks ago drove the Alaska highway -- pulling a new camper up from Idaho for a friend. Let me know if I can help with your Alaska trip/planning.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I live in Alaska, and just a couple weeks ago drove the Alaska highway -- pulling a new camper up from Idaho for a friend. Let me know if I can help with your Alaska trip/planning.
Thanks - very kind of you. Did it in the 90's with my brother and Dad, tried to get to the North Sea but turned around at the Arctic Circle (worried the car might break down). Great trip otherwise, Skagway was interesting. Anyhow my Dad is in his 90's now and would love to revisit that trip, but at his age we're running out of time so don't know if it can happen in time. I was hoping to get the old Suburban we used for that trip but he sold it by the time I started thinking about this. If it happens might be my only trip as I suspect my wife would not be OK with the mosquitos :)

But hey if you can figure out how to do the trip with an EV now we're talking! :p Anyhow, I'm waiting for the RV market to cool off from pandemic panic buying, and got a few years to retirement, so plenty of time to figure that out.
 

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Actually ... the network looks pretty good


I don't mind stopping more frequently, we're slow travelers ... and I could rent a truck for Alaska, hmmmm
Yikes! I hadn't looked at that map very carefully. Interstate 90 looks like a massive wasteland once you get West of the Great Lakes. Looks like only three viable options for crossing the western US. (I-10?, I-30?, & I-70)
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Yikes! I hadn't looked at that map very carefully. Interstate 90 looks like a massive wasteland once you get West of the Great Lakes. Looks like only three viable options for crossing the western US. (I-10?, I-30?, & I-70)
Hm? Not at all, this is just the GM proposed trucker/truck towing friendly chargers (with GM perks). Go look at Electrify America, they’re everywhere. Toss in EVGo and Chargepoint and it’s pretty hard not to find a charger these days. Electrify America has been on an absolute tear.
 

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I think someone that tows frequently should stick with the ICE variant. EVs just aren't ready for Towing.

But market research has suggested the majority of truck buyers don't actually tow more than once a year (if at all). So for those buyers, the Silverado EV seems like a great step forward to get nominal truck utility and move toward electrification.


I think it'll be cool if GM would just run a special program where Silverado EV buyers could get a voucher to borrow a Sierra 1500 or Silverado 1500 for a handful of times over the first few years of ownership. You know, for that once a year tow they may actually need the longer range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I think someone that tows frequently should stick with the ICE variant. EVs just aren't ready for Towing.
...
But market research has suggested the majority of truck buyers don't actually tow more than once a year (if at all). So for those buyers, the Silverado EV seems like a great step forward to get nominal truck utility and move toward electrification.
Great article. As for whether the Silverado can be useful for towing let's look at that

Use Case #1: Around town, 'in the trades' workers and fleet
According to that article that's the majority of individual truck owners. I lumped fleet and trades in there as I think that's also mostly short distance. For example I've worked many such jobs, like a commercial hardware (doors) shop that had trucks for delivering doors at job sites. For these guys present BEV trucks look like they'd work fine.

Use Case #2: Travel trailer towing (recreational)
According to the industry average driving time is 4-5 hours, which makes sense as you'd want to follow the 'leave by 10 arrive by 3' rule of thumb. According to the GM Chief Electrification Engineer Josh Tavel EV's have the same range loss as ICE of about 25%. On unscientific YouTube videos of the Lightning it's been between 0% (pop up camper) to 50%. Biggest factor is speed you drive. Anyhow take Tavels 25% as the average loss.
  • 25% average range loss, maximum range if going 100% to 0% charge: 300 miles
  • 80% of battery = 320 miles (for fast charging you don't want to go above 80% as it goes slow and is harder on the battery)
  • 20% of battery = 80 miles
  • (1) Drivable range between charges not towing = 320-80 = 240 usable miles
  • (2) Drivable range between charges while towing = 240 * .75 = 180 miles
  • At 55 mph (reasonable EV) driving 180 miles therefore would be three hours
  • So a single day driving of 5 hours could be accomplished by a single charging stop, with 350 kW of charge support you'd be done by the time you hit the bathroom and picked up a drink.

If GM comes through with their towing friendly chargers then this back of the envelope indicates that this wouldn't be a problem. Their goal is a charger every 50 miles.

Amendments to this would be
  1. Mountain driving (need more charging)
  2. Slow driving like coastal or back roads (need less charging)
  3. Aero of the camper
  4. Total GVWR (you'd have to watch the weight and tow a lighter trailer, say 5000-6000 lbs)

Looks to me that if you're willing to pick a good on the lighter side trailer, and not drive like a maniac (e.g. granny driving of 55) you'd be just fine. The key is the trailer friendly chargers, without that it won't work as otherwise you'd have to unhitch at Electrify America.

(1) Subtract max battery allowed (320 miles) - min battery allowed (80 miles) distances
(2) Knock 25% off that for towing
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Just found an article from yesterday on this topic at Car and Driver
Tested: EV Pickups in a Trailer-Towing Test — Hummer, Rivian, F-150 Lightning

Summary here I think


Key points
  • This is a 29 ft 6100 lb trailer - which isn't unusual for RVing but on the larger size
  • 70 mph!
    • Yes this is frequently the interstate speed in the US, but I either go max 60 or simply draft another vehicle if going faster
    • Resistance goes up almost exponentially above 55
  • Real world trailer driving includes a lot of off interstate
  • The article notes that others BEV's are a dream for towing, notably ...
    • These new electric pickups are wonderful towing companions, aided by massive horsepower and torque that allow for easy merging with the flow of interstate traffic
    • and their heavy curb weights (between 6855 pounds for the F-150 and 9640 pounds for the Hummer) lend an impressive stability when lugging a three-ton trailer.
  • The physics aren't different from towing with an internal-combustion pickup; in both cases the range will be sliced roughly in half
    • As noted above that's freeway driving at 70mph which is worst case, including lower freeway speed and off freeway driving 25% or something would be more reasonable

So this doesn't look too far off my estimate, which is using a lower GVWR trailer, slower speeds, include non freeway, and increased range of the Silverado should give you 150-180 miles say. It also doesn't include that GM engineers say the Silverado has the lowest aero of any truck. However nne thing I'm puzzled about is they got 110-140 miles by running down to near zero on the battery, where I left a 20% save the battery margin. So what do we conclude?

I'm willing to think that considering the Silverado aero, extra range, your willingness to drive 55-60 or draft and a lower GVWR and aero trailer would give you say 150 miles or three hours of driving, which is sufficient for a single charge stopover for a typical day driving a travel trailer.
 
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