One of the most effective changes an automaker can do when designing a new model is make it lighter. Lighter vehicles can be more capable and more fuel efficient, which is why the 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 ditched traditional steel in favor of light weight, high strength steels in their construction.
Two thirds of the 2014 Silverado and GMC Sierra’s cab structure is made of high strength and ultra-high strength steel, including the A pillars, B pillars, rocker panels, roof rails and underbody. The main rails and key cross members of the trucks frames are also made of high strength steel, while the pickup boxes are made from roll formed steel for increased strength and reduced mass, compared to the stamped beds from competitors.
“Our customers tell us they want better fuel economy, but only if it doesn’t come at the expense of capability,” said executive chief engineer of the Silverado and Sierra, Jeff Luke. “By using lightweight materials like ultra-high-strength steel and aluminum for key structural parts and components in our new trucks we were able to improve both capability and efficiency.”
Strong, lightweight aluminum alloys also contribute to the trucks reduced mass, aluminum front suspension components, hoods and other parts while all three of the EcoTec3 engines utilize an aluminium block with aluminium cylinder heads.
This diet kick also contributes to the trucks’ class leading fuel economy and tow capacity numbers.