Ford’s F-150 and Chevrolet’s Silverado, two of America’s best-selling vehicles, will be available with an electric powertrain in the coming years. The 2022 F-150 Lightning and the 2024 Silverado EV are among the most important upcoming electric cars because they compete in a massive segment of the market. Ford sold 726,004 units of the F-Series (which also includes the bigger Super Duty models) in 2021 despite chip shortages that dragged down the entire industry. Silverado sales totaled 529,765 units (again including bigger trucks).
The battle for pickup supremacy is set to continue in the electric car segment. Here’s how these two rivals compare on paper.
Design and technology
Ford and Chevrolet took two completely different paths to the electric truck segment. Unveiled in 2021, the F-150 Lightning is essentially a battery-powered version of the 14th-generation F-150, which is also available with a number of gasoline-burning engines and with a hybrid powertrain. It stands out with a powertrain-specific exterior design, including a different grille and new-look exterior lights on both ends.
Introduced on the sidelines of CES 2022, the Silverado EV looks nothing like the truck that’s currently in showrooms. Only offered as a crew cab, it wears a futuristic design defined by thin headlights, flying buttresses behind the rear doors, and the lack of a shut line between the cab and the cargo box. It arguably looks more like the Avalanche’s distant successor than like the current Silverado’s sibling.
Riding on a 145.5-inch wheelbase, the Lightning stretches 232.7 inches long, 78.9 inches tall, and 80 inches wide excluding the mirrors. Chevrolet hasn’t released the Silverado EV’s dimensions yet, but the truck is related to the GMC Hummer EV so it should be fairly big.
Inside, both trucks are thoroughly modern, though the level of technology packed into each cabin largely depends on the trim level selected. More basic versions of the Lightning get a 12-inch touchscreen that displays Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, a navigation system, Wi-Fi compatibility, and Ford’s Co-Pilot360 2.0 suite of electronic driving aids, while the top two trim levels receive a 15-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen, a Bang & Olufsen sound system, and a longer list of standard driving aids.
Chevrolet hasn’t published the Silverado’s list of standard and optional features yet, but we know the Silverado EV will be available with an 11-inch digital instrument cluster, a 14-inch head-up display, a 17-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, and the Super Cruise hands-off driving technology developed by parent company General Motors. Note that most of these items will be offered on more upscale trims.
Both trucks have a frunk and several outlets inside and out that draw electricity from the battery pack to power tools, toys, or both, but the Silverado has a neat trick up its sleeve that the F-150 hasn’t learned yet. It’s available with a Midgate, meaning users can fold down the partition between the cab and the cargo box to haul lengthy items. With the Midgate down, the Silverado can carry items up to nine feet long.
Power for the F-150 Lightning comes from a pair of electric motors (one per axle) that delivers through-the-road all-wheel-drive. Fitted with the Standard Range battery pack that delivers up to 230 miles of driving range, the truck puts 426 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque under the driver’s right foot. Upgrading to the Extended Range battery pack (which is optional on the Pro, XLT, and Lariat models and standard on the range-topping Platinum trim) bumps range up to 300 miles and increases horsepower to 563 while torque stays flat.
Ford notes that charging the Standard and Extended Range packs from 15% to 80% takes 44 and 41 minutes, respectively, when using a 150-kilowatt quick-charger. Plan on waiting 91 and 122 minutes, respectively, for the same charge when using a 50-kilowatt charger.
As of writing, Chevrolet has only detailed the WT (which stands for Work Truck) and RST variants of the Silverado EV. Both use a pair of electric motors, but the WT’s output is rated at 510 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque while the RST’s figures check in at 664 and 780. Chevrolet pegs maximum driving range at 400 miles, and it says that using a 350-kilowatt quick-charger can zap the battery with 100 miles of range in about 10 minutes. Charging times when using less capable (and more common) chargers haven’t been released yet.
Towing capacity and payload are two areas where electric trucks often fall short, largely due to the heavy battery they lug around. Ford says that, with the Standard Range battery pack, the F-150 can tow up to 7,700 pounds and haul up to 2,000 pounds. Get the Extended Range battery pack and towing capacity increases to 10,000 pounds while payload drops to 1,800 pounds. If you’re shopping at Chevrolet, the Silverado EV WT can tow 8,000 pounds and haul 1,200 pounds while the more powerful RST posts figures of 10,000 and 1,300, respectively.
For context, the V6-powered F-150 can tow up to 14,000 pounds and haul up to 3,325 pounds. Put the V8- or turbodiesel-powered Silverado in your driveway and you’ll be able to tow up to 13,300 pounds. There’s no word yet on what effect towing has on either EV’s driving range.
Pricing and availability
At launch, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning will be offered in four trim levels called Pro ($39,974), XLT ($52,974), Lariat ($67,474), and Platinum (90,874), respectively. Only fleet buyers can order the entry-level trim with the Extended Range battery pack. Adding it to the XLT increases the aforementioned price to $72,474, so it costs a whopping $20,000, while the Lariat Extended Range costs $77,474.
Ford plans to begin building the F-150 Lightning in the spring of 2022. It will make the truck near its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
Chevrolet has only detailed the WT and the RST trim levels, though it plans to add other versions (including the Trail Boss) to the lineup later in the production run. The WT is a fleet-only model and it’s expected to enter production in the spring of 2023. The RST will follow in the fall of 2023 with a base price of $105,000. Production will take place in the same Detroit-area factory that builds the Hummer EV.