Canadians clamoring for the GMC Sierra EV will have to wait a little longer than their American counterparts, with the all-electric pickup launching a year sooner south of the border.
While the 2024 GMC Sierra EV Denali is set to go on sale in the United States sometime in early 2024, the truck won’t hit the Canadian market until the following model year. That’s the bad news. The good news is that this half-ton almost looks conventional compared to the Chevrolet Silverado EV that was unveiled earlier this year, not to mention the gargantuan GMC Hummer EV Pickup.
Almost is an important qualifier here, as the all-electric Sierra features a unibody construction – the bedsides and cab are stamped as one, similar to the quirky Hyundai Santa Cruz – while the front end goes without a grille in the name of aerodynamics. It also features the same midgate as the Silverado EV, which means the back of the cab can be opened for more cargo-carrying capacity.
“What we’ve done … is incorporate everything we know about Denali, everything we know about GMC, and truck function and capability, and put it into the Sierra EV,” Sharon Gauci, Buick-GMC’s executive design director, said during a virtual presentation. “This Sierra EV is a modern design statement, so everything is truly integrated, everything looks very seamless yet still bold and still capable.”
One Opulent Pickup
Leading the charge for the all-new electric half-ton is the 2024 GMC Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 – a trim that, judging by its name, won’t make its way to Canada for its second model year. Either way, in true Denali tradition, there’s an emphasis on opulence inside, with open-pore wood, aluminum, and etched stainless steel. It also features a massive 16.8-inch central touchscreen alongside an 11-inch all-digital instrument display, plus a massive fixed glass roof.
Judging by the photos, as well as the language used by GMC in describing it, there will be no retractable sunshade. Instead, the panel “is infrared-reflective and has a UV coating to help keep the cabin comfortable,” according to the brand. That likely means a fixed tint like the one on the all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E rather than the variable one offered by others, including the hybrid-only Toyota Venza.
Built on the same battery-electric platform as the Hummer EV, as well as the upcoming Silverado EV, the lithium-ion battery pack acts as a structural component of the truck’s construction. Details as far as battery capacity weren’t released by the brand, but it claims the Sierra EV Denali will have an estimated range of 644 km (400 miles).
It’s also got all the modern electric accoutrements one might expect, including an 800-volt architecture that allows it to add a claimed 161 km (100 miles) in just 10 minutes when hooked up to a 350-kW DC fast-charger. GMC claims that’s “the best charging capability” amongst EV trucks.
A pair of electric motors, one for each set of wheels front and rear, can generate an estimated 754 hp and 785 lb-ft of torque in a so-called max-power mode – one of five selectable drive settings. The automaker expects maximum acceleration times in the mid four-second range. There’s also adjustable regenerative braking and one-pedal driving to recoup kinetic energy that would otherwise be lost.
Beyond the stuff that makes it stand out from the typical half-ton, the Sierra EV has plenty of features that help it function like a pickup – and beyond. GMC describes it as “grille-to-gate versatility,” and it covers everything from the frunk that provides weather-sealed storage to the multi-function tailgate. In between is the midgate shared with the Silverado EV (and borrowed from the long-since retired Chevrolet Avalanche) that allows the rear wall to be folded and the window removed, turning the 5-foot-11 bed into a nine-foot one.
It’s also a big deal that the Sierra EV is built on a dedicated platform rather than an adapted internal-combustion one like its Ford F-150 Lightning rival. Whereas that truck retains the frame rails that are typical of trucks, the battery-electric architecture this GMC rides on maximizes underfloor space for battery cells. It also creates the same low and versatile floor found in other dedicated electric models like the Chevrolet Bolt EUV.
In terms of towing, the Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 in particular can tow a claimed 4,309 kg (9,500 lb), while payload rings in at 590 kg (1,300 lb). Capacities for forthcoming models weren’t announced.
Like the Silverado EV, this all-electric half-ton takes a page out of the Ford playbook by offering a massive onboard inverter that allows it to work as a mobile generator. According to GMC, a maximum of 10.2 kW can be used to power everything from tools to trailers – even a house in the event of a power outage. A total of 10 electrical outlets can be optioned, including in the cab, frunk, and tailgate.
Just like its Hummer EV sibling, the Sierra EV Denali will feature four-wheel steering with a so-called crab-walk function for tight manoeuvrability. It will also boast adaptive air suspension and Super Cruise hands-free adaptive cruise control that even works with a trailer hooked up to the back.
Coming to Canada
Details are thin as to when orders will open for Canadian customers, but GMC executives hinted that there would be Denali, Elevation, and AT4 trims to choose from for 2025 – the year this truck is set to make landfall in Canada. Likewise, details about those subsequent trims are scant, but apparently the AT4 will feature a 51-mm (two-in) lift, just like gas- and diesel-powered versions of the off-road trim, as well as four-wheel steering and crab walk.
In terms of Canadian pricing, well, it’s anyone’s guess at this point. In the U.S., the 2024 GMC Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 will start at US$107,000 before freight and taxes. Of course, being a launch edition, it’s likely more expensive than the regular Denali will be when it arrives. According to GMC, other versions of the truck will start in the neighbourhood of US$50,000.