With Ford currently enjoying the brunt of the all-electric pickup coverage, General Motors needed to something to help highlight its Silverado EV and come up with rear-wheel steering. It’s something the upcoming electric F-150 will lack and could give the Chevy some advantages when moseying around a cluttered construction site or tight urban landscape.
In addition to a tighter turning radius, rear-wheel steering should also help the Silverado EV tackle trailers with a more ease. There are few things more terrifying than feeling the load you’re pulling start trying to have its way with the back half of your vehicle. Having the back wheels pivot to account for sway could be another big advantage Chevrolet could lean on once its electric pickup is going head-to-head with Ford’s.
There are some downsides. The system introduces complexity that could lead to loftier repair bills and more general maintenance. But it shouldn’t be too bad considering rear-wheel steering has been around for a few decades and has been fairly common among higher-spec automobiles since the 1990s.
It’s likely to be a selling point for some shoppers and something you’re likely to see come as standard on more pickups (though not yet). Rivian’s quad-motor layout allows its pickup to perform full rotations by turning the front tires and driving them ahead while the rear pair are put in reverse. While not technically rear-wheel steering, it should still offer impressive levels of maneuverability in tight quarters.
Meanwhile, the Hummer EV could help provide clues some of the additional features Chevy’s plotting for the electric Silverado. As platform mates, they’re already sharing rear-wheel steering and there’s a chance the pickup could adopt the Hummer’s adjustable suspension (which can raise or lower the vehicle by over a foot) and much-touted crab mode (allowing it to scuttle sideways). However neither of those are guarantees because the Silverado has been intentionally designed to be less off-road focused than the SUV.
GM is attempting to prioritize practicality with the pickup and opted to nix some of the unnecessary hardware to make additional room for batteries. This has allowed the upcoming pickup to offer an estimated 400 miles of range vs the Hummer’s 350 miles. Though those figures are temporary as the range for both vehicles are subject to change after the EPA certifies launch models, additional trims are introduced, and battery technology improves.
For now, Chevrolet said rear-wheel steering will be an optional upgrade to be accompanied by 24-inch wheels. You’ll have to check the box whenever the Silverado EV goes on sale. But we haven’t the faintest idea when that will be other than sometime in 2023 or perhaps even 2024.
[Image: General Motors]
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