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GM Highlights Silverado's Efficiency, Strength with 'Toughnology' Concept

September 25, 2014

Photo: GM
Photo: GM

The use of high strength steel has made the Chevrolet Silverado lighter, stronger, and more efficient. Those attributes are highlighted in the simulated raw steel appearance of the new Silverado 'Toughnology' concept, according to GM. The concept is also a showcase for Silverado’s connectivity technologies – including all-new OnStar 4G LTE with built-in Wi-Fi hotspot – as well as accessories and performance parts available through Chevrolet dealers.

High strength steel, which is pressed while still in molten form, can be up to 30 percent lighter than carbon steel with the same strength. It offers significant mass savings at a lower cost than aluminum, which helps keep down the overall vehicle cost. Lower weight translates to greater efficiency and capability, according to the automaker.

The 2015 Silverado 1500 with the EcoTec3 5.3L V-8 engine is EPA-estimated at 23 mpg on the highway and offers a maximum trailering capacity of 11,200 pounds, per newly adopted SAE J2807 Recommended Practices. With the available 6.2L V-8 engine and all-new eight-speed automatic transmission, the Silverado’s trailering capacity increases to 12,000 pounds.

The Silverado Toughnology concept wears most of its high-strength steel under the skin, just like every production model. Approximately 67 percent of each Silverado cab is constructed of the durable material, including stronger ultra-high-strength steel. It is used in the A-pillars, B-pillars, rockers and roof rails, as well strategic sections on the interior structure. Ultra-high-strength steel is used in areas of the rocker panels and underbody to help improve performance in crashes, according to the company.

Lightweight strength extends to the Silverado’s pickup box, where the floor is made of roll-formed steel. It’s more durable than the conventional stamped steel used by other manufacturers and it’s lighter than the material used for stamped parts, further reducing vehicle weight. The Silverado also strategically uses aluminum, including the hood, which saves 17 pounds over a conventional stamped steel hood, according to the company.

The Toughnology concept's paint job mimics the look of raw, unpainted steel and is accented with steel molecule graphics. The hood – the only visible metal exterior component that isn’t steel – is painted black.

Performance capability upgrades include a performance exhaust system and upgraded performance brakes. Under the hood is a performance air intake system on its 5.3L engine rated at 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque.

The available OnStar with 4G LTE and built-in Wi-Fi hotspot provides a mobile hub for drivers and passengers to stay connected. The hotspot is on whenever the vehicle is on and comes with a three-month/three-gigabyte data trial (whichever comes first). 4G LTE is the most current and fastest mobile data network – 10 times faster than 3G and 100 times faster than OnStar’s previous generation hardware.

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