Even as it rolls out all-new full-sized electric pickup trucks, General Motors is reportedly looking to introduce plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra.

    Autoweek reports word from sources that GM has started a “crash program” to get PHEV versions of its popular pickups to market.

    The publication also reports GM has cancelled plans for a Ford Maverick-sized electric pickup, as well as plans to replace the ancient Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans with new electric models based on its BrightDrop electric delivery van.

    This appears to be in response, at least in part, to cooling electric vehicle (EV) demand in the US, as well as criticism of the towing and load-hauling capabilities of electric pickups.

    The report comes just weeks after GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed in an investor call that the company would launch PHEVs, after having previously indicated it would skip over them and regular hybrids in favour of electric vehicles (EVs).

    She didn’t elaborate on which vehicles would get PHEV powertrains, only saying that “select” models would get plug-in power.

    Mass production of the new Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV has yet to begin. They’ll be built at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit, which has been retooled as an electric-only factory.

    Also produced here is the GMC Hummer EV, with the Cadillac Escalade iQ to follow suit.

    “Let me be clear, GM remains committed to eliminating tailpipe emissions from our light-duty vehicles by 2035, but, in the interim, deploying plug-in technology in strategic segments will deliver some of the environment or environmental benefits of EVs as the nation continues to build this charging infrastructure,” said Ms Barra during the investor call.

    “We are timing the launches to help us comply with the more stringent fuel economy and tailpipe emission standards that are being proposed.

    “And we plan to deliver the program in a capital- and cost-efficient way because the technology is already in production in other markets.”

    GM has previously offered the Silverado and Sierra from 2009 to 2013 with what it called its “two-mode hybrid” system, which mated a naturally aspirated 6.0-litre petrol V8 with two electric motors and a nickel-metal hydride battery.

    However, it didn’t continue offering a hybrid in the subsequent generation of its pickup trucks due to a lack of demand. There was, however, limited availability of GM’s eAssist mild-hybrid technology.

    Ford already offers an electric pickup in its F-150 Lightning, while Ram has revealed its electric 1500 REV.

    But Ford and Ram also have other electrified options, for which GM has yet to reveal alternatives.

    The upcoming Ram 1500 Ramcharger, revealed late last year, features a range-extender powertrain, with a 3.6-litre naturally aspirated V6 sending power to a 130kW onboard generator that in turn sends power to 250kW front and 238kW rear electric drive modules.

    It features a 92kWh battery.

    Ford’s F-150 Hybrid is already in showrooms, having been revealed in 2020. It features a twin-turbocharged 3.5-litre V6 engine mated with a 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery and a 35kW electric motor integrated into the transmission.

    MORE: Everything Chevrolet Silverado

    William Stopford

    William Stopford is an automotive journalist based in Brisbane, Australia. William is a Business/Journalism graduate from the Queensland University of Technology who loves to travel, briefly lived in the US, and has a particular interest in the American car industry.

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