It’s very likely that you’ll begin seeing electric pickup trucks appearing in your neighbor’s driveways soon. You may even be wondering if an electric truck might work for you. Some of the trucks you should keep your eyes peeled for will obviously come from well-known car manufacturers while other unknown makers are trying to compete. From the look of things, it’s highly possible that many of the future electric trucks will be manufactured by new brands you probably haven’t heard of before.
Are There Any Electric Trucks Available Right Now?
The answer to this question is sort-of yes, but mainly no. Some fleet vehicles and medium-duty truck users have begun using electric vehicles. United Parcel Service began using electric delivery trucks in 2018 after a successful test program. UPS estimates electric vans will save about $170,000 throughout the expected 20-year life of the trucks. UPS is currently the largest user of electric delivery vehicles in the United States. The company recently purchased 950 all-electric trucks from Workhorse Group.
Numerous other companies have begun using electric trucks for delivery duties and other fixed-route operations that limit the primary downsides of electric operation. Companies using electric delivery vehicles typically drive less than 100 miles per day and always return to their depot for recharging at the end of the day. However, several companies are testing long-range heavy-duty trucks in the United States. Unfortunately, battery range and rechargeability remain the biggest obstacles faced by developers and buyers of electric trucks.
The First Electric Truck on the Market
The first electric trucks were on the market in the United States sometime during the 1880s. In fact, the electric car predates the petrol-powered internal combustion engine and was popular as a local delivery vehicle until the 1920s when gasoline-powered trucks became a common occurrence.
In 1997, both Ford and Chevrolet introduced Electric Vehicles (EV) versions of their light trucks. Both vehicles had a limited range of around 70 miles and cost at least twice as much as the petrol-powered versions. Ford built about 1,500 EV Rangers, selling most to fleets. Chevrolet, on the other hand, produced 600 EV S-10 trucks before canceling the program in 1998. The company recalled and crushed all but 60 of the electric trucks. Ford similarly recalled most of their electric trucks, but an unknown number, possibly as high as 250, escaped fate. Such a decision from car manufacturers to first release and then recall all their EV units is what lead to the creation of the documentary titled “Who Killed The Electric Car” in 2006, questioning the real motive behind the unusual move.
The first modern electric pickup truck to hit the market in 2020 might be from a company you have never heard of before. An innovative American startup company expects to bring its electric truck to the market for the 2021 model-year. The Rivian R1T, which should be distributed by Ford, is expected to be the newest electric truck to hit the United States automotive market. Ford and Amazon are the main sponsors behind the Rivian brand. Another startup called Lordstown -funded in part by General Motors – may also release an electric pickup truck in 2020.
Are Electric Pickup Trucks Practical?
Electric vehicles have many significant differences from their gasoline counterparts. Electric cars are often simpler due to having fewer parts. However, the battery packs in use today are very heavy and typically make up the entire floor of an electric car.
An electric vehicle’s range is affected by many factors. A serious issue for developers looking to build an electric truck is that trucks tend to be heavy. This significantly reduces the range of the battery. Furthermore, a truck carrying a load, like pulling a trailer or hauling concrete from a job site, will see a drastic decrease in range.
Until the first electric trucks hit the market, we won’t know know how well an electric truck will perform when asked to perform the types of jobs people buy trucks for. Ford demonstrated that their upcoming F-150 EV is capable of pulling 1 million pounds. Likewise, the soon-to-be-released Cybertruck from Tesla is rumored to be capable of pulling 300,000 lbs – but how far will they be able to pull such a load is the real question here.
When Will Electric Trucks be for Sale?
The Rivian R1T is expected to go on sale by the end of 2020 as a 2021 model. Ford anticipates releasing an electric version of the F-150 with the next model update, likely mid-2021. Electric trucks from Tesla and Chevrolet are in progress, but no specific release dates have been announced. Tesla aims for a release near the end of 2021 with other configurations coming in 2022. Meanwhile, start-up Lordstown Electric, founded by the former CEO of Workhorse Group, may have its electric truck on the market by the end of 2020.
Over the next several years, you will see many companies jumping into the electric truck market. Moreover, industry experts believe that consumer acceptance of electric cars is a strong indicator of the marketability of electric pickup trucks. Fleet agreements have even already been made with the electric truck manufacturers. You should then expect to see electric pickup trucks available in most parts of the United States by the model year 2022.
How Much Will Electric Trucks Cost?
Buyers should expect the cost of electric pickup trucks to be slightly higher than petrol-powered equivalents. Tesla executives say the Cybertruck will start at $40,000, while the top-of-the-line model is expected to fetch $69,000. The more conventional design by Ford should start around $54,000. Rivian’s electric R1T is slated to debut with a window sticker around $69,000.
Electric vehicles tend to cost more than gasoline-powered cars initially but typically more cost-efficient throughout the vehicle’s life. Electric vehicles are inherently simpler and offer far better fuel-efficiency. Consumers will not need to spend as much money on maintenance and fuel but will have to factor in the cost of charging the truck.
Another factor that buyers must consider is that the at-home charging infrastructure must be purchased separately. The equipment can cost buyers between $200 and $1,500 and often requires professional installation. In many states, legislation to promote electric vehicles might allow buyers to receive a rebate. Rebates are available through many electric service providers for owners of electric cars as well.
Why You Might Want an Electric Truck
Gasoline and diesel trucks are less costly to maintain, drive around and come with lots of towing capabilities. The first electric trucks will not have the same range as a conventional truck but may have better-towing capabilities. Electric cars and trucks can take advantage of the torque available from a stop. On the other hand, conventional trucks must build-up to their powerband.
An electric pickup truck might be a good choice since average drivers rarely exceed the range of most base model electric trucks. Furthermore, for more serious use, upcoming battery technology development will allow for a lot more performance.