Recharge or Refuel: Silverado EV Faces F-150 in Towing Trial

Should gas and electric trucks be put to the towing test together? Recently, the Chevy Silverado EV was tested against a gas-powered Ford F-150.

“All’s fair in love and war,” as the saying goes, which doesn’t sound good for those on the short end of either. The team at Fast Lane Truck previously tested a Ford F-150 Lightning against a gas-powered truck in a towing test; now it’s time for the Chevy Silverado EV to face a similar challenge. It’s easy to understand that this is not a direct comparison, but it makes for some fun results and a great conversation.

What are the specs for the Silverado EV?

The team used the Work Truck version of the Silverado EV, which has a manufacturer-claimed range of 450 miles on a single charge. This truck can tow up to 10,000 pounds and carry 1,400 pounds in the truck bed. The power for the electric Chevy comes from the Ultium battery pack, which is similar to the massive 24-module unit used in the GMC Hummer EV. This battery pack and dual-motor layout provide 515 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque when the truck is set in the tow/haul mode.

Which F-150 was chosen for the test

The F-150 lineup offers various models with different powertrains, making it easy to find one with similar specs as the electric Chevy The resulting truck is an older model F-150 Lariat using the 3.5-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6 engine. This engine produces 400 horsepower and 500 lb-t of torque while offering a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. The payload of the Ford is 1,600 pounds, which makes this model the closest thing to what the Chevy Silverado EV has to offer.

Where were these two trucks tested?

The Fast Lane Trucks team is based in Boulder, Colorado, which is an ideal testing ground for trucks and off-road SUVs. The team put both trucks to work pulling heavy trailers on Colorado highways, which included various elevation changes, requiring the trucks to work a little harder at controlling the heavy loads. The two pickups pulled identical 6,500-pound, seven-foot-tall trailers.

During the ride, the Silverado EV driver had the air conditioning running but otherwise was driving as conservatively as possible on the chosen roads. This electric Chevy started with a quoted driving range of 475 miles before the trip, but, in typical fashion, the EV driving range dropped like a rock while towing a trailer.

Did the electric Chevy complete the drive?

The Chevy Silverado EV traveled 232 miles on a single charge, which was an impressive feat for an electric pickup. When the Ford F-150 Lightning was tested by this same team, it could not complete the journey without stopping to add more driving range at a public charging station. When the 232-mile journey was complete, the Chevy still had 15 miles of range left.

The energy consumed by the Silverado EV was an average of 38.2 MPGe, which is excellent for truck driving. The gas-powered Ford pickup, which started with a full tank, still had 108 miles of range at the end, but the fuel efficiency was only 9.8 mpg.

What do these results mean?

These results were expected, and the challenge of towing with an electric truck isn’t the truck’s capability but the rapid decline of the driving range and the amount of time it takes to recharge an EV’s batteries. Thankfully, the Silverado EV includes 800-volt architecture, which means the batteries will charge quickly. The biggest nod for the Chevy electric truck is finishing the journey without requiring more power.

Does public charging cost as much as gas?

It’s well-established that the most affordable charging option is using a Level 2 at-home charger, which takes overnight to recharge the batteries in the Chevy EV. When all fees are calculated, the cost to recharge the Silverado EV at a DC Fast-Charging station was nearly as much as the cost to refuel the Ford F-150 with gasoline.

Unfortunately, larger vehicles will likely face this challenge, and when an EV is equipped with 800-volt architecture, the cost to charge is even greater.

To drive an EV or not to drive an EV?

Was the Chevy Silverado EV impressive enough during this towing test to make it worth the change from a gas-powered truck? The electric pickup only had 15 miles of range left, requiring a recharge, while the Ford could drive for another 70 miles or more before the driver would need to search for a gas pump.

It seems the answer is more of a personal nature. Will you turn to an electric truck to get things done in the future, or will you drive a gas-powered pickup for as long as you can?

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