Toronto, Ontario — The upcoming 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV is proving to be something truly unique, not simply because of what makes it run, but because of the frame upon which it runs.
General Motors’ chief engineer for battery-electric trucks, Nichole Kraatz, told GM Authority that the new electrified Silverado’s body “is not a unibody and it is not a body-on-frame.”
“We’ve designed a different type of architecture where we have a body that has a floor, but also, the Ultium battery structure is actually a good portion of the structure and those two are connected after the body exits the body shaft. So we’ve defined kind of a new category of vehicle that doesn’t have that traditional body-and-frame approach,” said Kraatz.
Kraatz and her team have taken to referring to this new frame design as “Ultibody”, taking the “Ulti” prefix from GM’s Ultium EV platform.
Chevrolet’s communication lead for the Silverado, Kyle Suba, went further into detail on the construction of the new frame type.
“Like the GMC Hummer EV, the Silverado EV is a unique design that differs from the traditional body-frame-integral because the Ultium platform serves as the structure, but is not part of the body. It is also not a traditional body-on-frame because there are no body mounts that connect a separate frame to the body,” said Suba.
“The architecture integrates the Ultium battery pack into the fundamental structure of the vehicle, enabling not only our impressive range but structural benefits. It’s about offering the best solution for each customer depending on their needs.”
The alternative frame design of the Silverado will mean that repairs “will follow different processes due to the change in architecture,” according to Suba, “but will not be markedly more time consuming with the new vehicle structure.”
She went on to say that repair procedures and training will be shared with dealers closer to the Silverado EV’s projected launch in fall 2023. GM says they expect the truck to be in production by spring 2023.
The BT1 platform will also be used in the GMC Sierra EV, GMC Hummer EV and the upcoming Cadillac Escalade EV.