The classic pickup truck is all about power, durability, and dependability, but none of those should be compromised when going electric. Is the world ready for electric pickup trucks and can they measure up and replace what we already have?
The answer is “yes.” Of course, they can. Just as people doubted that electric vehicles would ever be good enough, each month it seems new models are breaking records on speed, range, and power. It’s no different for the truck, but perhaps, more difficult. Although the owner of Tesla, Elon Musk, announced months ago they would have an EV pickup truck in the works, other companies are already beating him to it.
Innovation often comes from need. Smaller design teams like Bollinger have created the B1 from the sheer requirement of a man on a farm that needed to get to the city over rugged roads, in an efficient way. The Workhorse W-15 was created by innovating for mail trucks. The Havelaar Bison is the best EV truck for cold weather and was specifically designed for the Canadian environment. Although these manufacturers are generally smaller, the future of the electric market for pickup trucks is promising thanks to them.
The sleek and powerful Bollinger B1 is the world’s first all-electric, all-wheel drive off/on road sport utility vehicle on the market. Fully designed and engineered in Hobart, New York, the MSRP is yet to be announced but estimates are putting the price at approximately $60,000 (comparable to Jeep Wrangler and Land Rover). Interested consumers can register for free now and will be asked to put $1,000 down as the release date approaches.
The rugged, heavy-duty truck design has a pair of electric motors situated on each axle, forming a dual-motor drivetrain that boasts 360 horsepower (270 kW) with 472 pound-feet of torque. The truck can accelerate from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds and runs on all-wheel drive (AWD). The battery capacity comes in two options: 60 kWh or 100 kWh, which take 7 or 12 hours to charge from fully depleted on Level 2.
The sport utility EV also has a classic, 3-box lock frame with a convertible full to half cab and unique storage options. The front pass-thru door can even accommodate 24 2X4 boards through the entire body of the truck. The B1 is painted in a “Gunhouse Grey” which is a nod to the road that inspired the design. The overall length is only 150 in and the entire frame stands on a perfect 50/50 weight balance. The best in class power, torque, and ground clearance are what clearly distinguish this beautiful model from anything else on the market.
The Workhorse W-15 is an electric pickup truck specifically designed for fleets. It’s the first plug-in range EV truck built from the ground up by an OEM. The Ohio-based company, Workhorse, did not originally intend to build electric trucks. The brand typically manufactures trucks for companies like Fed Ex and the U.S Postal Service. They were prompted to try the W-15 after the Post Office was looking for a manufacturer for their next-generation mail truck.
The W-15 is an electric pickup that also serves as a hybrid in the case of demanding driving scenarios. The all-electric range tops at 80 miles and the expected efficiency is 75 MPGe. The nearly silent truck goes from 0 to 60 in just 5.5 seconds with a 460 hp, 60kWh battery pack.
Workhorse has partnered with Ryder to begin selling the fleet trucks and currently has 5,000 orders already with the MSRP at approximately $50,000. The hybrid vehicle features two-230 hp/172-kW EV motors and a gasoline-powered three-cylinder range extender to ensure the job always gets done. At this price and efficiency, the W-15 has a lower total cost of ownership than a Ford F-150.
The zero-emissions Bison E-Pickup is an AWD electric truck that is manufactured by Havelaar Canada in Ontario. The all-electric pickup truck can travel up to 186 miles on a single-charge range and is engineered to tackle steep, off-road grades with a full load. The rugged capabilities allow for a 54% hill start and 21% hill climb at full load.
Launched in partnership with the University of Toronto, the vehicle is set for commercial production (although that may change). The truck features 46 cubic feet of exterior cargo space plus 18 cubic feet of additional storage space. Mounted on the chassis is a full electric, dual-motor powertrain driving four corners. The frame is composed of carbon-fiber-reinforced steel to ensure that it withstands the extreme environments and terrain in Canada.
Much like Tesla, the inside cabin showcases a large, central touchscreen with advanced vehicle intelligence and connectivity. The steel frame also makes it one of the safest EV trucks in production. Unlike the Workhorse W15, there is no range extender in the Bison and it is 100% the best EV truck for the environment so far.
In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed that an EV pickup truck will be unveiled in the next 18 to 24 months. Considered part of Mr. Musk’s “master plan” to create an entire environment of electric and autonomous vehicles, the idea for the electric pickup also comes with promises of a semi and bus as well.
Although the challenges are big meeting the closest competition (Ford F-150), Tesla has often been innovative in their pricing schemes. Some Model S and Model X owners waited with reservations for up to 3 years, but it ultimately made the vehicle more affordable.
Calling it a “new kind of pickup,” the promised Tesla pickup is expected to have some of the following features:
- 0-60 in 5 seconds flat.
- At least 400 miles of range.
- Unassisted towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.
- Base-level battery pack with a capacity of 120 kWh and top-level at 160 kWh.
- Auxiliary battery on the top of bed floor for an additional 100 miles.
- Anticipated MSRP of $60,000 – $70,000.
- Spacious “frunk” (front trunk) with multiple USB, 12V and 120V outlets.
- Wet/dry storage with a drain plug.
- In-wheel motors allowing for a much deeper bed.
- 360-degree halo light on top of the cab.
- Quickest accelerating factory full-size truck on the market.
Much of this is anticipated and expected technology based on what Tesla has already released, promised and is currently developing. The Tesla pickup is not set to hit the market for at least another 2 years.
Although Tesla seems to be the leader in the electric vehicle industry, disruptive technology catches up quick. While Tesla has promised to also release a semi, Cummins just recently beat them to it, stealing the market sector with the AEOS model.
|MSRP||Type||Est. Electric Range||Est. Total Range||Est. Time to Charge||Drivetrain||Battery Capacity (kWh)||Top Speed (Mph/ Km/h)|
|Bollinger B1||Approx. $60,000||Battery Electric||67.4 est MPGe||120 mile or 200 mile||7 or 12 hours on Level 2||All Wheel Drive (AWD)||60 kWh or 100 kWh||127 Mph|
|Workhorse W-15||$52,000||Hybrid||28 mpg city and 32 mpg highway||75 miles electric and 310 miles/tank||6 hours||All Wheel Drive (AWD)||60 kWh or 100 kWh||70 mph|
|Havelaar Bison||$58,000 (Canadian)||Battery Electric||n/a||186 miles||n/a||All Wheel Drive (AWD)||40 kWh battery pack||80 MPH|
|Tesla Pickup Model U||$60,000 to $70,000||Battery Electric||n/a||400 miles||n/a||Either rear or all wheel drive||120 -160 kWh battery pack||n/a|
The most promising current selection for an EV pickup truck is the Bollinger B1. Although pricier among the EV models at $60,000, the truck offers multiple battery capacities (up to 100 kWh) and has a top speed of 127 MPH. However, the Bollinger has an all-electric drivetrain and some truck owners may still have a bit of range anxiety.
In that case, the Workhorse W-15 would be better suited as it is a hybrid with several motors. After 75 miles of electric driving, the 11-gallon tank of gas takes over (or can be used for large jobs where an extra push is needed). Once the Tesla pickup is finally released, however, it is most likely to blow all the other brands out of the water.
The world is still a few years away from seeing roads driven by electric-powered pickup trucks, but we’re not far. As more efficient batteries are developed and different methods of infrastructure, the costs will come down and the level of affordability will make more sense for the common consumer.
The most popular truck on the market is the F-150 and Tesla promises to eventually compete with that on every level, including cost. Once the power, range, and cost of an electric pickup or utility vehicle is the same as a gas-powered one, there will be no reason to use them at all. And our environment will thank you.