Chevrolet is using aluminum and high-strength steel to both lighten and strengthen its all-new Silverado pickup truck in 2014. Just don’t call it a lightweight. It hates that.
According to a press release from General Motors, high-strength steels are used in the cab and fully boxed frame structure to give the truck more rigidity and help it meet ever-tougher safety standards. In the words of Executive Chief Engineer Jeff Luke, “That reduces the weight of these components without sacrificing the toughness and durability customers count on.”
GM says the high-strength steel frame rails are hydroformed to further increase rigidity and reduce mass of the front frame area. Furthermore, high-strength steels are used in the forming of the cab structure, and “ultra-high-strength steel” is used in the rocker panels and underbody “in anticipation of new shallow-offset crash tests.”
One area that got special attention was the pickup box, where GM says it beefed up the toughness of the steel inside the box, where many a load will be lifted, dropped, flung, chained, and tarped. Instead of the stamped steel box used in most pickup boxes, Chevrolet opted for roll-formed steel, which again is said to be lighter and stronger.
Lest you think high-strength steel gets all the glory here, GM also called on its new friend Al– short for Aluminum, duh– to lighten key components including the hood. The new EcoTec3 engines we told you about earlier will feature aluminum blocks and heads. Finally, four-wheel-drive models will use forged aluminum upper front control arms and cast aluminum lower control arms and steering knuckles. Together, the front suspension and hood are said to save some 59 lbs.