Electric Cars Charge Up the 2022 Chicago Auto Show (GM Edition)

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The 2022 Chicago Auto Show is our first chance to get up close with the new, Ultium-based GMC Hummer EV electric pickup and the all-new Chevrolet Silverado EV that made its debut at CES earlier this year – but this year’s show might be as much about what isn’t there than what is.

In one of its first trips back to McCormick Place since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Chicago Auto Show opens to the public today. As we’ve seen with many re-openings, the show is different from years past. For starters, the show has fewer exhibitors – brands like Audi, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and Volvo, among others – didn’t show up, and the reduced scale of the show means that it occupies only one of two main halls for 2022, and the drive sections have been squeezed in, as well.

Similarly absent were the Chevrolet Bolt and Bolt EUV, nameplates with a troubled public image after a series of high-profile fires led to one of the largest and most expensive vehicle safety recalls in a generation. GM is still somewhat tight-lipped about those cars’ futures, but the fact that I haven’t read or heard a straight answer leads me to believe they are on their way out.

And Then There Were Two

GMC Hummer EV at the Chicago Auto Show.
GMC Hummer EV at the Chicago Auto Show.

The absence of the Bolt and Bolt EUV leaves just two plug-in vehicles to fly the GM flag at the Chicago Auto Show: the production GMC Hummer EV and pretty close-to-production Silverado EV.

Starting in the GMC/Buick booth, the GMC Hummer EV loomed large over the rest of the GMC lineup – both literally and figuratively. It was the only GMC you could call forward-looking in an era where just about every manufacturer who matters is going all-electric and plug-in cars like the Tesla Model Y are outselling just about everything this side of a Toyota Camry …

CNBC Screencap (11FEB2022).

… but, beyond that, it is a truly desirable truck. Don’t get me wrong, it is massive, ostentatious, and utterly unnecessary – especially with its six-figure price tag.  That said, it has a rugged, purposeful look that is backed up by beefy bumpers, tow hooks, and stout looking suspension bits that seem to be made to a standard that was unheard of in the old days of the paramilitary Hummer H1 diesel.

Cast aluminum subframes and control arms, beefy tow hooks.

The tires and wheels, too, seem to echo that “tough, off-road capable” vibe that, once upon a time, defined the Hummer brand. If you look closely, however, you’ll see some evidence in that picture that the GMC Hummer EV’s target buyer may be more Rodeo Drive than rodeo. Look again, and see if you see what I see.

Metallic paint on the fender flares.

That’s right, gang – instead of the textured, matte plastic fender flares you’ll find on Jeep Wranglers, Ford Broncos, or, indeed, ICE-powered Hummers made to prevent scuffs and scratches from showing, you have this deep, rich metallic paint. And, I know there’s probably a ton of flex agent in the mix, sure – but it’s the difference between my old Volvo XC70 wagon and my new(er) XC90 SUV. One is ready for the brush, and the other is ready for the brushless carwash.

Over at the Chevy booth, the Silverado EV got lots of attention from all the media outlets. With the possible exception of the Ford Bronco’s obstacle course drive event, it was by far the most crowded display throughout Thursday’s Chicago Auto Show morning press event – deservedly so. It’s a good-looking, versatile concept built on a heavy Ultium frame (it’s not a unibody, despite what you may have read) that should be good enough for a 3/4 ton rating, at least, as well as massive towing capabilities.


Clever features are everywhere in the Chevy Silverado EV. The integrated step in the rear bumper, the integral running boards, and the 60/40 split midgate make just about every part of the truck more accessible without giving it that “JC Whitney Special” look that is always perilously close at hand when you start optioning up a truck, you know?

Like the Hummer that the Silverado shares a platform with, it, too features those metallic fender flares – though they seem less out of place on the slick Silverado bodywork to my eye. Maybe it’s the more car-like, “urban” styling of this truck vs. the Hummer? It’s hard to say.

Lots of interest, and clever details.

Take a look at GM’s two electric contenders here, and let us know which Ultium frame is wearing it better at the Chicago Auto Show in the comments section at the bottom of the page. And: yes, they really are sticking with that “Silverado” branding.

Original content from CleanTechnica.

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