The Rise of Electric Trucks
The future is now, and it looks electric. Electric trucks have gotten a lot of attention and for good reason. We don’t think the American market is going to give up gasoline and diesel trucks anytime soon, but it’s impossible to ignore all the traction their electric cousins are getting. If you want to keep your finger on the pulse in the truck world, we’ve got some information that’ll help you stay up to date.
Why Choose Electric Trucks?
It’s a gasoline and diesel-powered world, so electric pickups seem like something right out of a sci-fi flick. Can electric trucks really perform all the heavy-duty responsibilities that we rely on our trucks to do?
To start, electric motors are equally capable, if not more capable, of providing ample torque. Internal combustion engines are made up of hundreds of moving parts and require a high number of revolutions to reach their peak efficiency. The more complex a system is, the more energy is lost.
In contrast, electric motors are made of considerably fewer parts, creating a simple system that is much more energy-efficient. This means almost instantaneous acceleration and much better torque. Check out this article for a more in-depth look at how the two engines work.
If you’re skeptical about torque, check out this video of an all-electric Ford F-150 towing several freight trains filled with more F-150s.
Energy Efficiency and Maintenance
We’ll be clear about the price of electric trucks. They’re only now starting to trickle into the market and as such, they don’t come with a cheap price tag. The cheapest truck in the foreseeable market is the base Tesla Cybertruck at $40,000. That’s not an insane price for a heavy-duty workhorse, but the merits of the technology haven’t been proven yet.
If you can afford the high start-up cost, there are a number of factors that will translate into savings into your pocket. As we talked about in the torque section, electric motors are much more energy-efficient than traditional internal combustion engines. This means a better “fuel” economy, a problem that plagues traditional pickup trucks.
In addition, simpler systems mean easier and less frequent maintenance! Keep in mind, there will definitely be a curve where automotive repair shops learn to work with electric vehicles.
Have you ever heard of a “frunk”? It’s a silly word, but it’s one you’ll see attached to many of the electric vehicles hitting the market. It’s a mashup of the words “front” and “truck.”
You see, electric motors are much smaller than combustion engines. So much so that the front part of an electric truck has so much room it can be used as a secure, lockable trunk! Some models, like the Bollinger B1, even offer trunk space under the bed of the vehicle.
Mobile Work Station
Do you use power tools in your line of work? One of the most important benefits of an electric pickup truck (or even a hybrid) is that you can plug your tools right into your truck, wherever you go. This provides a lot more flexibility on worksites.
What are the Concerns Around Electric Trucks?
Electric trucks are limited by many of the same things that electric cars are. For electric vehicles to be able to compete with gasoline and diesel vehicles, they need to have range. In other words, a car or truck battery needs to be able to go as many miles as a tank of gas in the average car or truck.
Unfortunately, storing that much electricity results in big heavy battery packs that can offset some of the benefits of having an electric engine. In addition, there currently isn’t enough battery charging infrastructure to make them a reasonable choice for all parts of the country.
The last concern is one that especially hits home for pickup truck drivers. Limited miles of range is an issue that’s compounded by the very purpose of pickup trucks: carrying and towing heavy loads. That requires more force, and thus more energy.
Take the Tesla Model X, for example. The Model X is Tesla’s all-electric mid-size SUV that is already out in the market. When towing something behind it, the range drops drastically.
Who is Developing Electric Trucks?
The biggest names in the scene for electric trucks are mostly startups. Major car manufacturers have serious investments in combustion engines and have been slow to adopt the change over to electric. Let’s take a look at some of the trucks that are getting a lot of buzz.
All-Electric Ford F-150
The Ford F-150 has been the best selling truck in America for over forty years. While an all-electric Ford F-150 is still far out on the horizon, Ford plans to release a hybrid version later this year. While the video of the electric F-150 towing more than a million pounds (allegedly) went viral, it’s yet to be known what actual performance will look like.
Release Date: TBD, 2021 is the earliest prediction.
Towing Capacity: TBD (Probably not a million lbs.)
GMC Hummer EV Electric Pickup
Another major truck manufacturer, General Motors is also planning to build an electric pickup truck. This truck is not slated to come out until 2020, but GMC has released some staggering specs. Namely, the pickup will allegedly have the capacity for 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 pound-feet of torque. We eagerly await its release!
Release Date: 2022
Towing Capacity: TBD
Like it or hate it, the Tesla Cybertruck made a huge splash when it was announced in November 2019. It’s not a conventional truck by any means, owning to its strange shape and unorthodox trunk. Marketed as a camping centric vehicle, the Cybertruck will be one to keep your eyes on in the coming years.
Release Date: Late 2021 for single motor RWD version, 2022 for dual and Tri-Motor All-wheel-drive versions
Towing Capacity: 14,000 lbs
The Rivian R1T is the only truck on our list scheduled to come out later this year, effectively making it the benchmark for electric truck performance. Rivian boasts that the R1T will have nearly 1,800 horsepower and a towing capacity of 11,000 lbs! Those are some incredible numbers, and we can’t wait to see it put to the test.
Release Date: 2020
Towing Capacity: 11,000 lbs
Known for their electric semi-trucks, Nikola decided it was a natural business decision to move into pick-up trucks. Unique to Nikola, the Badger will also be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. Combined with a lithium-ion battery, the Badger is projected to have an astounding range of 600 miles!
Release Date: TBD- Project was just announced in February 2020
Price: TBD- Range is $60 to $90k
Towing Capacity: 8,000 lbs
These aren’t the only electric trucks being produced! Some other contenders include:
How Close is the Future?
Electric pickups look like the newest wave in automotive technology. Like electric and hybrid cars, it’ll probably start with slow growth. Fleet buyers are most likely to be the first adopters, as better fuel economy and less maintenance will make them incredibly enticing. Bottom line- don’t sleep on electric trucks just yet!
We’re still far away from electric trucks being a normal appearance on the road. If you don’t think you’ll be one of the early adopters, take a peek at what we have in stock. We may not have electric trucks yet, but we think our diesel burners do a pretty good job!