On January 5, 2022, GM CEO Mary Barra made a commitment to bring her company green and clean by 2040. The introduction of the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is one major step on that path. The goal is to make General Motors carbon neutral by that year, and to do this, she set objectives of producing 30 electric vehicles (EVs) across all GM brands by 2025, to be followed by an all EV lineup by 2035. In addition, she stated her plans to have all GM plants operating on renewable energy by 2025, just three short years into the future. All of this is based around the exploitation in GM’s EVs of the Ultium battery platform and Ultifi intelligent software platform.
While the names Ultium and Ultifi might sound like characters from an Avengers movie, they are, in fact, the use of smart technology to advance the General Motors lineup. As such, the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is the latest model to use the Ultium battery platform as its main power source. At the same time, this truck will be the first to feature the Ultifi smart technology for its software systems. In this way, GM is looking to take a great leap forward into the future based around one of its most popular models, the Chevrolet Silverado 1500 truck.
Electric Motors Powered by Ultium
In introducing the 2024 Silverado EV, GM CEO Barra promised that “It will offer a revolutionary mix of capability, performance, safety, flexibility and design that catapults this electric truck for both fleet and retail customers into a category of its own.” The truck features a 200 kWh two-motor engine, one for each axle, with some impressive capabilities. The base-model Silverado EV WT or Work Truck is capable of producing 510 horsepower and 615 lb-ft of torque, both of which surpass all four engine options on the current 2022 Silverado 1500 truck. The top trim First Edition RST of the 2024 Silverado EV goes even further, offering drivers a very impressive 660 horsepower and 780 lb-ft of torque. GM claims that the First Edition RST can go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in less than 4.5 seconds, numbers usually associated with sports cars like the Corvette and Camaro.
The basis for the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is the Ultium battery platform. Ultium places the battery cells for the dual motors of this truck in a modular design, located in the lower frame undercarriage of the truck, an area that is shielded by some of the strongest parts of the vehicle. This platform is described by General Motors as bringing “new power, new force, new flexibility, and of course, a new range of possibilities.”
General Motors has decided to use vertical integration with Ultium, keeping its battery design team and production in-house at the company rather than spinning it off in a sale to a third party. As CEO Barra pointed out, “For an electric vehicle, it’s all about the battery. I think keeping that technology close and leveraging the deep battery expertise we have at General Motors is the way we’re going to accelerate that value creation.” This includes not just developing new EVs at the various General Motors companies like Chevrolet but also selling Ultium battery cells to other companies for use in their vehicles and other equipment. This is not unlike the approach taken by Tesla, with Elon Musk’s company providing battery cells to other automakers for their EVs.
Keeping the battery production unit as part of the company also allows General Motors to continue to innovate on the Ultium platform. This can be seen by how Chevy developed the 2024 Silverado EV. The dedication to coming up with an EV goes back to the Chevy Volt, the plug-in hybrid first introduced in 2010. Since then, we have seen Chevy surpass the hybrid models to the all-electric models under the Bolt name, both an EV and EUV. It was this learning process that allowed the company to develop an EV truck with all the capabilities a driver could need in a pickup. As a result, the First Generation RST model can tow an incredible 10,000 pounds, while the WT has a maximum towing capability of 8,000 pounds.
The days of thinking about EVs as glorified golf carts are long over. The Ultium battery platform on the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV shows that an all-electric pickup truck can provide the power and performance you need without having to go to the cost and emissions impact of using fossil fuels.
Connecting to the World Through Ultifi
One of the most impressive things about the 2024 Silverado EV is the Ultifi intelligent software platform. To date, most of the technology for vehicles has been to activate existing hardware on your car or truck. For example, the infotainment system is connected to a sound system for whatever music or other entertainment you wish to access, whether by listening to Satellite or HD radio broadcasts or streaming from a service like Spotify or Pandora on your device.
Similarly, the safety and driver assistance features on your car represent whatever systems were installed in your car at the factory. This means that if there is a new infotainment feature or safety system developed for subsequent models of your vehicle, you have no way to access them. With Ultifi, General Motors seeks to change the paradigm by offering a software platform that can be upgraded over time, much like how you can update the existing software and download new programs onto your computer or other smart devices.
The 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is the first application of the Ultifi platform, which uses Linux as its software basis. The key was to separate the truck’s software from the hardware, much like how your home computer’s operating system is set up. In this way, the software can be updated frequently without having any impact on the performance of your Silverado EV. As GM President Mark Reuss makes clear, “GM has decades of experience writing vehicle software, creating a solid foundation to build on. Now with Ultifi, we will be able to improve our software continuously, and deliver new features and apps to customers in a fraction of the time.” Think of it as updating your device in real time, but without the hassle of not being able to access your favorite apps while you are updating.
One of the coolest things about Ultifi is that by using Linux software, GM has enabled authorized third parties to develop new innovations for the platform. CEO Mary Barra even made an open invitation to software developers to work with GM on new programs for Ultifi. Best of all, if you own a 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, you will have access to all of the new software innovations and apps developed for the platforms. The days of having to buy a new truck in order to get the latest safety, driver assistance, performance, and infotainment features may be at an end. With Ultifi on your Chevy Silverado EV, you will be able to let the software improve itself and learn, giving you an enhanced experience just by letting the system log into the cloud.
The 2024 Chevy Silverado EV Is More Than Just an Electric Truck
It seems that General Motors has staked its future on the Ultium and Ultifi platforms. This is seen in the 2024 Silverado EV, which uses Ultium and Ultifi to become an innovation breakthrough. Ultium represents the latest and most efficient battery-powered platform available in vehicles. This is shown by the unmatched performance capabilities of the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV. Ultifi is the first application of smart software into an EV, one that learns, adapts, and develops in time without you having to go to the cost and expense of buying a new truck or adding additional aftermarket hardware. With Ultium and Ultifi on the 2024 Silverado EV, drivers will get a truck built for the future with intelligent software capabilities like their smart devices, able to adapt and grow as they use their pickup trucks for work and play.