Analysis: The Rise of Electric Pickup Trucks and Why They Make Sense

Over the past 12 months, we’ve received dozens of press releases regarding the development of electric pickup trucks from manufacturers around the globe. Unlike cars and vans, there hasn’t been a mainstream electric pickup launched yet but this hasn’t deterred OEMs and start-ups for stating their intentions to join the market.

Pickup Truck Owners Are Sceptical of Electric

Growing up on a farm in rural Lancashire, I’ve been driving pickup trucks – officially – ever since I passed my test at 17 and so I say this with careful deliberation, but pickup truck owners tend to be Luddites when it comes to new technology. That’s me included.

We tend to stick to what we know as our vehicles are something we depend on, quite often, for both work and personal – so switching to a completely different form of propulsion is something we’re wary to do.

This serves as a reason why, despite electric cars and vans being available for years, there still hasn’t been a mainstream pickup truck go on general sale. Pickup trucks is one of last automotive sectors to make the switch to electric, despite being one of the main beneficiaries of this technology.

Huge Benefits for Pickup Truck Owners

Asides from the obvious lower running costs, simpler maintenance and environmental benefits, there are a number of attributes that makes electric a particularly attractive proposition for pickup truck owners.  

Firstly, electric propulsion provides almost instant torque. Unlike diesel engines – where torque can peak anywhere up to 2,000rpm – the quoted peak torque is almost always available from the moment you press the accelerator, meaning its easier to pull away with a laden trailer or on a hill start.

Secondly, with a sealed battery and motor, electric pickup trucks often have far deeper wading depths (one metre on the Rivian R1T) as there’s no air intake. Also off-road, independently working motors for each wheel means that torque can be transferred far more easily on low traction surfaces.

Finally, there’s are benefits when it comes to range. The long bodies of pickup trucks allows for the accommodation of larger batteries and, as the heaviest item on the vehicle is accommodated below the chassis, the centre of gravity will be lower which means drivers won’t feel body roll anywhere near what they experience on a diesel truck.

Electric Pickup Trucks to Look out For

Now we’ve explained the benefits, we thought it would be nice to recap of the product announcements made over the past 12 months. Unlike cars and vans, traditional OEMs are lagging when it comes to electric pickup trucks, with the high-profile announcements coming from start-ups and Chinese manufacturers:

1: Nikola Badger

2: Tesla Cybertruck

3: Rivian R1T

4: Great Wall P-Series

5: Bollinger B2

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