General Motors has announced that its upcoming Chevrolet Silverado electric pickup truck will be available with a fixed glass roof. Expect it to be part of an options package and included in top trims stocked by your local dealer.
Glass roofs are all the rage. Automakers are installing them on more and more vehicles, and electric vehicles without one are becoming rare. When utility vehicles started to sport the delicate glass roofs it raised eyebrows among testers and outdoors people who actually use the roof for utility to haul things like kayaks and bicycles. The roofs of which we speak are not moonroofs or sunroofs, both of which open to let in air and are relatively simple to fix if broken. Instead, these are fixed-on-place roofs that cover the entirety of the top of the cabin and don't open. Some (Tesla) also lack a sunshade.
GM says that the fixed pane of glass will offer "expansive visibility, increased headroom, and an enhanced experience of spaciousness for both front and rear passengers." Since pickup trucks already offer the most headroom of all vehicle types, this seems like bringing coal to Newcastle.
Every vehicle owner loves the idea of a see-through roof. However, in hot sunny climates, many owners pull the shade closed in order to keep the sun from glaring into their eyes and the cabin temperature from rising. In electric vehicles, cooling the cabin is a costly prospect since it reduces range.
When large panels of glass break in a vehicle, insurance companies and vehicle manufacturers sometimes point to one another as the responsible party for the repair. The cost to repair a broken roof on a vehicle such as a Tesla Model 3 costs approximately $1,300 - when the spare part is available. Owners of new vehicles with broken glass often point out that the aftermarket has yet to begin offering the new parts and automakers have yet to build spares inventory.
Image of broken glass roof on an electric vehicle courtesy of reader Joan Morgan.
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American news outlets and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
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