GM is stepping into the all-electric segment with a wealth of new products, including several new EV truck models. Each of these new GM EV trucks promises capability and practicality on par with ICE-based alternatives. However, each of these trucks – for the time being – fails to offer one of the most common features found on ICE-based pickups, specifically power-retractable assist steps.
For those readers who may be unaware, GM’s all-electric truck lineup includes the Chevy Silverado EV, the GMC Sierra EV, and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup. Each of these vehicles, along with the related GMC Hummer EV SUV, fail to offer power-retractable assist steps. Incidentally, they’re all based on variants of the GM BT1 platform, The General’s dedicated all-electric architecture designed specifically for large trucks and SUVs.
So, what gives? First, there’s the issue of weight, as retractable assist steps are quite a bit heavier than their fixed (non-moving) counterparts. But there’s also another reason that we learned about recently. In discussions with GM Authority Executive Editor Alex Luft, GM engineers explained that the absence of power-retractable assist steps on BT1-based vehicles is due to packaging constraints. Essentially, the “Ulti-body” frame and battery pack make it impossible to tuck the steps, along with their related motors and mechanisms, under the vehicle’s body, and as a result, these vehicles are only offered with fixed assist steps.
However, there is some hope is on the horizon, as engineers also told us that this will not always be the case, without going into any further details.
Indeed, the introduction of power-retractable assist steps on high-end models and trims would help quite a bit with ingress and egress in a more elegant fashion than fixed steps. However, the Cadillac Escalade – which will debut in August – will also featured fixed assist steps, foregoing the retractable units, even as an option.