2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST Throws Its Weight Around

2024 chevrolet silverado ev
Tested: 2024 Chevy Silverado EV Is Big-TimeMarc Urbano - Car and Driver

The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST sits somewhere in the middle of the all-electric pickup segment's flavor scale. At one end is the vanilla Ford F-150 Lightning, with the Tesla Cybertruck Cyberbeast at the other, somewhere near broccoli-tornado surprise.

The RST's chrome-faced 24-inch wheels and the bright white LED light bar that nearly spans the truck's 83.8-inch width are certainly statement pieces, but the overall design doesn't sacrifice usability. In fact, the large crew cab, 5-foot-11-inch bed, and 10.7-cubic-foot frunk make a very convincing case for use as a family pickup.

But that's precisely what you should expect from an all-electric truck that costs nearly $100,000. 440 miles of range? Yeah, that too. Toss in 754 horsepower while you're at it.

Trucks of Mass Construction

While we've driven the Work Truck (4WT) variant, this is our first turn inside the top-trim RST. Jumping the nearly $17,000 difference between these two trims means upgrades such as air springs, rear-wheel steering, hands-free driving, nicer interior wrappings, a 17.7-inch center touchscreen, the ability to fold down the rear bulkhead, a glass roof, and so on. (A base-model 3WT and an off-road-oriented Trail Boss will follow.)

2024 chevrolet silverado ev
Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

What doesn't change is the enormous battery, also found under the GMC Hummer EV truck and SUV twins. Chevy won't divulge its usable capacity, preferring to tout the battery's rated capacity of 205 kilowatt-hours—they believe having multiple usable figures for the same battery in different vehicles is confusing. We think creating a third standard for measuring capacity is confusing, but hey, we aren't making batteries.


Owners and occupants won't notice any of this. They'll hop in, see a max range of 440 miles, and speed off in quiet blissful ignorance that the battery underneath accounts for approximately a third of the RST's 8800-pound curb weight.

Yes, the RST hides much of its mass, with a ride and handling feeling closer to that of a soft SUV than a nearly 4.5-ton truck. You'd never guess those LT275/50R-24 Michelin Primacy LTX tires under your feet are inflated to 61 psi in the front and 68 in the rear.

There's no hiding the size, but the RST is effective at maneuvering. The large windshield and side glass offer good visibility, and exterior cameras and sensors help mitigate blind spots. Four-wheel steering further imbues nimbleness at low speeds.

a black car parked in front of a building
Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

Atom Smasher

The RST's big party trick is the Wide Open Watts drive mode (WOW mode, get it?). If you think the name is cheesy, wait until you hear the imitation THX Deep Note sound effect when you activate it.

Owen Wilson mode increases output to 754 horses, which got our test truck to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and 12.6 seconds at 111 mph in the quarter-mile, just before it tops out at its 113-mph limiter. The truck pulls left and right slightly during the run, inviting a minor wrestling match with the steering, which is disconcerting—quicker and more powerful EV pickups don't do this—but perhaps an appropriate sensation considering the physics at play.

How much horsepower does the truck put out otherwise? Chevrolet won't say, claiming that it changes depending on a variety of factors. You can figure somewhere between 754 horses and the WT's rating of 510 horsepower. Without WOW mode selected, acceleration times fall to a lazy-feeling 5.8 seconds to 60 mph and 14.2 seconds in the quarter-mile.

During regular driving, the power is effortless and the accelerator is easily modulated. The smoothness is such that we frequently found ourselves going faster than intended. A synthesized hum simulates an engine soundtrack, and you can adjust the volume—or turn it off. You can also choose between different levels of regenerative braking, and there's a paddle on the left side of the steering wheel that smoothly applies max regen braking when pulled. The overall sensation is one of immense, yet controllable, power.

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Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

Below the Fold

The other party trick is the foldable rear bulkhead, which Chevy calls the Multi-Flex Midgate. It's a neat feature. The 60/40 split bottom half folds to extend the bed length to just over nine feet, and when used with a tonneau cover, it creates a large secure storage area. The upper glass can also be removed and stored in the lower section, opening the entire back of the cab.

The process for opening it takes a few minutes to figure out, but it can be done by one person of modest strength, as the glass at the top is a bit heavy. Anyone who's removed the roof from a modern Corvette will recognize the feel of each latch.

Working with the same Multi-Flex Tailgate available on the gas-powered Silverado, you can raise a lip that extends the bed length up to 10 feet, 10 inches.

2024 chevrolet silverado ev
Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

Cabin Fever

The Silverado EV's cab is generally the same size as its gas-burning counterpart, with a slight decrease in rear headroom (thanks, glass roof) and increase in rear legroom. The back seats are positively spacious, even for our six-foot-four videographer, who only barely grazed his head against the edge of the glass roof.

Making full use of the space normally occupied by a transmission, the RST's center console boasts deep storage space and has a floating section for cupholders that can slide forward and backward. Unfortunately, Chevy decided on using piano-black material to surround this area and for the physical climate controls. After a day of driving, they were covered in a gross sheen of dust and fingerprints.

A similar annoyance: Leave the truck sitting outside for a while and that glass roof gets almost too hot to touch, radiating that heat into the cabin. Chevy reps say a shade will be available as an accessory. We think it should be mandatory.

2024 chevrolet silverado ev
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Under Tow

Like many new Chevys, the RST has a 17.7-inch center touchscreen that responds fluidly and quickly to inputs. The system does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto—another annoyance—but features a suite of Google software, including Google Maps. The navigation incorporates charging into route planning, accounting for how long you'll need to juice up and how much range you'll have when you arrive.

Chevrolet's Level 2 driver-assist system, Super Cruise, is available too, allowing hands-free driving that includes automatic lane changes on compatible highways. You can even use it while towing, though without the automatic lane-changing feature.

Given the power underfoot, we have little doubt of the Silverado EV's 10,000-pound tow rating. What remains to be seen is how much of that 440-mile range remains while trailering. Our extensive tow testing with other EV pickups, including the Silverado EV's battery-twin GMC Hummer EV, showed range dropping by more than half. Also consider that most EV charging stations aren't built to accommodate trailers.

We also have reservations about braking performance while towing considering the fact that during our regular 70-to-zero-mph braking routine of six stops in close succession, the unloaded Silverado demonstrated significant fade, emitting puffs of smoke from the brakes during the later stops and the distances growing by nearly 20 feet between the first and last stops.

2024 chevrolet silverado ev
Marc Urbano - Car and Driver

Peek around the trailer hitch and you won't find a spare tire on the RST. Chevy says fitting one wasn't possible partly because a 24-inch wheel is, well, really big. Also, that's where the compressor for the air suspension sits. An accessory mounted bed spare is available.

Pulling Power

How long does it take to charge the Silverado EV RST? The battery's two layers can change from parallel to series connection, meaning you can use a 350-kW DC fast-charger, which should add 100 miles of range in 10 minutes, per Chevy's claim. The change is automatic, so the only task for owners is finding a properly functioning DC fast-charger.

At home, the Silverado EV can take the max 19.2 kilowatts you can get from Level 2 charging. That means the improbable charge from empty will take over 12 hours, but you're more likely to top off the battery nightly or every other day.

Thinking of EVs as big batteries that you can drive opens up new ways of using them. To that end, the Silverado EV has multiple ways of offloading electricity. Outlets in the frunk, cab, and bed (including a 240-volt one) can supply up to 7.2 kilowatts. Add an accessory inverter and that figure climbs to 10.2 kilowatts.

The Silverado EV can also power your home during an outage. Doing so requires buying Chevy's home charger ($1699) and Vehicle-to-Home Enablement Kit ($5600). When so equipped, the Silverado EV's battery has enough juice to run a typical home for about a week, but those interested should consider the lower cost of a home natural-gas generator.

Buyer's Market

As with the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV RST's biggest challenge is that it's offered for sale right next to less expensive gas-powered Silverados that offer similar capabilities and features, from Super Cruise to contorting tailgates.

While they lack a massive center display, 4.1-second acceleration to 60 mph, a frunk, and folding rear bulkhead, the fuel-fed trucks offer comparable towing capability, the reliability of gas stations on long-distance drives, and a spare tire. Also, where the Silverado EV qualifies for a $7500 federal tax credit, gas-powered top-trim Silverados can cost anywhere between $15,000 to $30,000 less, depending on options and incentives. What would you rather have in your pocket?

Ultimately, shoppers make that decision, and those seeking the particular niche the RST occupies will find much to appreciate. It's a massively comfortable, highly usable and powerful EV pickup with class-leading range. While less expensive Silverado EV variants will follow, the RST makes us eager to watch the segment mature.

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