A blue 2024 Chevy Silverado EV is angled left.

Bigger Influence On Pickup Truck Market: Silverado EV or Tesla Cybertruck?

Three of the most talked about electric vehicles in recent times are the F-150 Lightning, the Tesla Cybetruck, and the Silverado EV. While we know exactly what Ford is doing with the Lightning and how they want to transition the F-150 brand toward an all-electric model, the future for the Silverado and Cybertruck are a little less clear. A lot of it will depend on how well the market takes to the new electric trucks. This rings especially true for both the Silverado and the Cybertruck, which is why we’re going to be looking at how these two will help shape the market moving forward in this 2024 Chevy Silverado EV vs 2023 Tesla Cybertruck comparison.

With Ford already having a major market share over the pickup truck market with the F-series, depending on what the competition does will determine how the market responds. And this all boils down to whether Tesla will be as successful with the Cybertruck as they have been with their Model series, or if Chevrolet can maintain pace and popularity with the Silverado EV as they have with the Bolt EV. This definitely leads to a question of which of the two electric trucks will have a bigger influence on the pickup truck market in the near future?

Budding Interest

If you look at the search trends, the data is pretty clear when it comes to electric vehicles and which ones people are most interested in. For the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, the last 12 months have seen a steady fluctuation of interest that has led up to the official announcement of the electric truck. The interesting part about it is that while the Tesla Cybertruck has managed to stay just ahead of the Silverado EV throughout 2021 when it comes to search interest, one thing you have to keep in mind is that there was no official specs, data, or press materials available for the Silverado EV throughout 2021, yet it managed to stay very close with the Cybertruck in the trending charts.

What does this mean? It means even though Tesla has had an entire year to woo the press over with test drives, information roll-outs, videos, unending media coverage, spots on popular YouTube channels, and specification sheets available for comparisons, it still hasn’t completely buried the Silverado EV in the search interest category. This actually speaks volumes to the interest people have had throughout 2021 for the Silverado EV, since before its official unveiling, it was already competing, sometimes neck-to-neck, with the Cybertruck in the search results. However, there’s a completely different story to tell when you match the Cybertruck up against the Silverado in general.

The Silverado search interest versus the Tesla Cybertruck tells a very interesting story and gives you a much broader scope of the overall interest that people have in the Silverado. In fact, in general, the Silverado overwhelms the Cybertruck by a factor of 28 times compared to Tesla’s electric truck. This actually plays a very important part in how people view both brands and the Silverado in general.

A silver 2023 Tesla Cybertruck is shown from the side parked in an air hanger.

Brand Recognition

When it comes to interest, the Silverado automatically has a higher stake than the Cybertruck because it’s been around for multiple generations, whereas the Cybertruck is just making its first-generation debut as a 2023 model year. This completely changes how people view both trucks in terms of brand recognition and looking forward to new model year releases.

Basically, the Cybertruck has to prove that it’s going to be able to live up to expectations with its towing capabilities, its range, and its technology. The Silverado EV, meanwhile, simply has to follow through with what’s advertised, including the 400-mile range, the towing capacity, and storage space. Even then, if the Silverado EV doesn’t quite hit its margins, the brand has been around for so many decades that it’s completely possible to have a bungled EV roll-out and still come back strong the next year with all the appropriate fixes and updates necessary to stay competitive.

The Chevy Silverado has managed to have minor setbacks in the past and still come through strong. A good example is that nearly 23% of all the most recent Silverado recalls are associated with the 2014 model year, which had electrical issues, powertrain issues, and steering issues. However, the Silverado still came back with strong outings for the following years, each one selling more than the 2014 outing and peaking with the 2020 outing.

Basically, it shows that even with some of the most significant setbacks, the Silverado still managed to bounce back bigger than ever. A large part of this is due to the brand recognition that comes with the Silverado nameplate. They can afford a setback here or there, and so long as they make the proper corrections moving forward, then it’s all good in the land of the Silverado. It’s one of the best-selling vehicles in America, so it would take a pretty huge marketing pothole to disrupt the Silverado’s momentum at this point. That’s even assuming that the Silverado EV has any hiccups.

If All Goes Well…

This is really where the future of the business comes into play. If things go sour for Chevrolet, then the engineers get to spend a year rethinking course correction and come back with something else. If things go sour for Tesla, then it’s unlikely that we’ll see the Cybertruck again anytime soon (if at all). It’s back to the drawing board for them.

However, if all goes well for both trucks, this is where things get interesting. It would be hard to deny that Tesla hasn’t moved the needle in some way with their electric vehicles, and so if the Cybertruck does take off as a popular mainstream product, we could definitely see some copycats in the future. Will other automakers mimic the 1980’s retro-futuristic design? Very doubtful of that. Will they attempt to mimic the powertrain design or structural integrity to match the Cybertruck’s capability? Undoubtedly. Will it spawn more electric trucks in the future? Maybe.

It’s a bit of a toss-up, given that it would all depend on the application of the Cybertruck and whether it gets adopted for more than just novelty purchases. Will people use it for work? For hauling? For trailering? All of that remains to be seen. Right now, the current turbo-diesel pickups on the market relying on combustion-based propulsion is where reliability resides in the full-size light-duty and heavy-duty pickup truck markets.

For the Chevy Silverado EV, things are a lot different. If it manages to hit all the right strides and sell well, it’s not just a matter of Chevrolet having a popular truck as an electric vehicle that breaches the mainstream market consciousness; it’s also about how it influences the overall marketplace. It could change the way future Silverados are engineered and produced.

Keep in mind that right behind the Ford F-150, the Chevy Silverado 1500 is America’s next best-selling pickup truck. So having one of the best-selling vehicles in America go the electric route would make a serious dent in the mind-share of potential electric vehicle purchases by prospective truck shoppers. That’s not to mention that with four-wheel steering, and features like the modular mid-gate, it could be a huge game-changer with what we expect from future pickups across the entire board.

The bed of a blue 2024 Chevy Silverado EV shows a stack of solar panels.

Potential Market Influences

Unlike Tesla’s Cybertruck, we know for a fact that a lot of people use the Chevy Silverado series for all sorts of things beyond simply traveling from point ‘A’ to point ‘B.’ The Silverado is a dependable full-size pickup that is also popular with trailering heavy loads, towing other vehicles, plowing, hauling, and even off-road use. All of these additional activities get pulled into the ecosystem of an electric Silverado.

Will off-road enthusiasts want an all-electric pickup truck? Will those who regularly use the Silverado for lawn maintenance, towing livestock, or hauling cargo want to switch over to a Silverado EV? That question becomes more prominent the more the Silverado EV sells, and thus, its market viability and mind-share help propel the overall prominence of electric trucks.

Hence, in the debate of the 2024 Chevy Silverado EV vs 2023 Tesla Cybertruck, it’s not just a matter of which truck will be better since there’s a lot riding on both vehicles. However, the Cybertruck’s biggest accomplishment would be becoming a recognizable, alternative nameplate in the highly competitive, full-size pickup truck segment. For the Chevy Silverado EV, much like the F-150 Lightning, its biggest accomplishment would be pushing the needle in the expectations of electric vehicles. That being said, if the Silverado EV is successful, it would more than likely make a much bigger impact on the automotive pop culture than the Tesla Cybertruck.