General Motors is currently revamping its full-size SUV lineup with a host of upgrades and changes, including the integration of a new independent rear suspension (IRS) setup, the latest example of which arrived with the introduction of the 2021 Chevrolet Suburban and 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe. What’s more, the full-size GM trucks lineup, which includes the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, is also rumored to be making the move to a new IRS, as we covered previously. Now, GM Authority is here to tell you the real reason behind these moves – electric power.
The General is currently hammering away on building electric variants of the T1-based GM trucks and SUVs. The new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will utilize a variant of the GM T1 vehicle platform known internally as BT1 (Battery T1).
According to sources familiar with the project, the electrically motivated architecture necessitates an IRS, as the current leaf spring configuration doesn’t play well with the battery placement design.
Typically, an IRS configuration comes with a long list of benefits, including improved ride quality, improved handling and control, and for enthusiasts, the potential for greater wheel articulation in off-road environments. However, there are disadvantages as well, including greater weight, higher maintenance and manufacturing costs, and lower payload and towing capacity. That said, the tradeoff is likely worth it for the majority of buyers, including GM truck customers.
With regard to the vehicles likely to be affected by these sweeping architectural changes, the full-size GM trucks, including the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, are at the top of the list. The vehicles in the full-size GM SUV lineup are also potential recipients of the new architecture and electrification, including the Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban, GMC Yukon, and Cadillac Escalade.
What’s more, a potential Hummer revival could take place atop the new BT1 architecture as well. As we covered previously, Hummer is rumored to be headed for a comeback as a new all-electric brand.
Back in November, GM CEO Mary Barra confirmed that the automaker would indeed introduce a fully electric pickup in the fall of 2021.
It’s currently unclear which GM models will receive electric derivatives, but our sources indicate that an EV pickup and EV version of the Escalade are pretty much a certainty at this point.