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Revolution or Evolution? Electric Pickup Trucks

Art Michalik

No electric trucks are sold to the public right now; however, the electric truck landscape will change significantly within two years. Here’s a roundup of what’s coming soon.

Should Your Next Truck Be Electric?

Light trucks are prime candidates for conversion from gasoline and diesel-powered engines. With their ladder frames, light trucks can easily accommodate the battery pack between the rails. Smaller electric motors are far less complicated than internal combustion engines, reducing service requirements and increasing reliability.

Rivian R1T "frunk" - rivian.com
Rivian R1T "frunk" - rivian.com

Removing the engine from under the truck‘s hood opens up an additional storage area (called a frunk by some, but not me). Frunk is the contraction of the words “front” and “trunk” and seems like a word you’d only hear on TikTok.

Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com
Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com

While there are no electric trucks on sale to consumers right now, several are on the horizon. Some manufacturers may not be around in six of 12 months. Let’s take a look at those proposed at this time, presented in alphabetical order.

Bollinger Motors B2

Bollinger Motors B2 - bollingermotors.com
Bollinger Motors B2 - bollingermotors.com

Bollinger is seeking to make itself the Swiss Army knife of EV trucks. To that end, they’ve developed a platform that can be reconfigured to meet several specialized needs. For example, the pickup version of the B2 can be configured like the old (and new) Hummer, with a squared-off body, four doors and a small rear bed.

Bollinger Motors B2 Chassis Cab 4 door - bollingermotors.com
Bollinger Motors B2 Chassis Cab 4 door - bollingermotors.com

In addition to the pickup truck version, the Bollinger B2 can be ordered as a chassis/cab, allowing for the mounting of dump truck, tow truck and box truck configurations. Unusually for an EV, the Bollinger Motors B2 is rated as a Class C commercial truck as it meets the US Department of Transportation (DOT) category minimum of 10,001 lbs. GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating).

Bollinger Motors CHASS-E - bollingermotors.com
Bollinger Motors CHASS-E - bollingermotors.com

Power is delivered through a 142kWh battery back to two electric motors, one front and one rear. Combined, the two motors achieve a rating of 610 horsepower, with the stated range of 200 miles. The company claims a 7500 lb. towing capacity, and the ability to reach 60 mph in 4.5 seconds, just a tick slower than the Ford Mustang Bullitt (unlikely at the same time).

The company claims it would begin selling the $125,000 (base level) truck late in 2020, though not much new has come out of Bollinger since this time last year.

Chevrolet BET

GM electric truck tease - gm.com
GM electric truck tease - gm.com

Not many details of the upcoming Chevrolet Battery Electric Truck (BET) have been released; its existence was only confirmed in June of 2020.

It’s unknown if the Chevrolet BET will be based on the existing Silverado platform or the Colorado platform or an entirely new platform of its own. The smart money is on a Silverado-based EV.

The Chevy BET will utilize GM’s new modular Ultium battery platform, shared with the upcoming Hummer EV SUT, though not much else will be shared between the two vehicles.

GM revealed its all-new modular platform and Ultium battery system - gm.com
GM revealed its all-new modular platform and Ultium battery system - gm.com

Range is determined by choosing several battery capacities from 50kWh to a massive 200 kWh (the largest thus far announced). The largest battery set is said to deliver a full 400 miles of range on a full charge.

The batteries will be located between the frame rails with as many as 24 separate modules, which can be stacked. There’s been no information forthcoming as to whether battery modules can be added or subtracted once the truck is on the road.

Production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Ford F-150 Electric

Electric Ford F-150 prototype - ford.com
Electric Ford F-150 prototype - ford.com

According to the company, the F-150 electric is being developed for serious truck owners who haul and tow (and apparently not to the 30-inch chrome wheel crowd). Furthermore, the company stated it will be the fastest and most powerful Ford F-150 ever. As the current marks are 450 horsepower and 0-60 in 4.5 seconds, it shouldn’t be a high bar for Ford to clear.

New technology included in the electric F-150 allows for mobile power generation; the truck can be used as a power source so you can plug in your Makita at the job site or power your 4K TV at the campsite.

The electric F-150 will be assembled alongside its gasoline and mild-hybrid brethren at the historic Rouge Complex in Dearborn, MI. Ford has continually operated facilities on the 1.5-mile long site since its initial construction in 1913.

Ford‘s stated on-sale date for the electric F-150 is mid-2022. It’s expected to be available through all US Ford dealers.

GMC Hummer EV SUT

GMC Hummer EV SUT teaser - gmc.com
GMC Hummer EV SUT teaser - gmc.com

Not surprisingly, the fuel-hungry Hummer brand departed showrooms in 2010, primarily due to the Great Recession of 2007-2009. Surprising many pundits in the auto industry, GM has announced the Hummer nameplate’s resurrection as an EV.

Did you catch it? The exterior design was teased in a commercial during the broadcast of the 2020 Super Bowl. If not, except a modern update to the traditional boxy Hummer styling.

GMC Hummer EV SUT outline teaser - gmc.com
GMC Hummer EV SUT outline teaser - gmc.com

Geared more toward lifestyle than work, the Hummer EV SUT will be available only in a four-door configuration with seating for five and a five-foot open bed in the back.

Power output is expected to be around 1000 horsepower with 1500 lb-ft of torque (that’s in three motor configuration). That’s twice the horsepower and 50% more torque than the Ford 6.7 L PowerStroke diesel engine. Lesser options include single and dual electric motors (the motor choice determines load capacity and tow rating).

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GM claims the Hummer EV SUT will boast three-second 0-60 times. That’s supercar territory.

Lordstown Motors Endurance

Lordstown Motors Endurance - lordstownmotors.com
Lordstown Motors Endurance - lordstownmotors.com

An attribute that separates the Lordstown Endurance from its competitors is that it would not (initially) be available to the public. Instead, Lordstown’s team will pursue sales to large fleets like construction firms and public utility companies.

The brand name Lordstown comes from the former GM factory’s location in Lordstown, Ohio. The start-up EV manufacturer purchased the site from GM in 2019. First opened in 1966, the first vehicles off the Lordstown production included the first-gen Firebird and Chevy’s full-sized cars (Caprice, Impala, Bel Air). The plant is also a bit notorious as the site where Chevy Vegas were assembled.

Lordstown Motors Endurance - lordstownmotors.com
Lordstown Motors Endurance - lordstownmotors.com

Another interesting attribute of the Endurance is that it’s powered by four separate 150 horsepower motors mounted outboard inside each wheel. Its stated range is 250 miles between recharging. The in-wheel motor configuration has been used in concept cars, but one has yet to hit the road. We’ll have to wait and see whether the unsprung weight increase effects handling and ride.

Lordstown Motors Endurance - lordstownmotors.com
Lordstown Motors Endurance - lordstownmotors.com

The braking system might take a bit to get used to as there’s no master cylinder, rotors, no hydraulic fluid. Instead, baking is handled by the hub motors and delivers recovered energy from braking back into the batteries.

The estimated price is $52,500, lower than many of its competitors, due mainly to its four hub motors, reducing the overall parts count and its straightforward chassis design. Look for the delivery of the first vehicle to occur sometime in 2021.

Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Like the rest of the automotive industry, Rivian saw a number of production delays in 2020. Regardless, they’ve made significant progress toward full production, which is expected to begin mid-2021.

Rivian has been developing its EV technology under stealth mode since 2009, long before announcing its electric truck program. A partnership with Amazon and Ford has attracted additional funding. Clearly, the technology and financial backing are in place.

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

Unlike some of its start-up competitors, Rivian has a factory, the former Mitsubishi plant in Illinois, refitted for EV production. No dealers are being sought. Instead, sales will be through Tesla-like company-owned showrooms.

The Rivian R1T and R1C SUV share a common platform. Expect three battery options at 180 kWh, 135 kWh, 105 kWh. The range should be around 400 miles between charges. The motors are said to develop a combined 750 horsepower and 829 lb-ft of torque. Like the Lordstown Endurance and its four hub-mounted electric motors, the Rivian R1T and R1C will have individual electric motors powering each wheel, two per axle. Likewise, we’ll have to wait and see how the extra unsprung weight will affect performance.

Rivian R1T - rivian.com
Rivian R1T - rivian.com

The absolute coolest part of the R1T is with its four motors it can execute tank turns. On one side, wheels move in one direction while the other side rolls in the opposite direction, for a tight turning radius, which is an excellent feature for both construction sites and campsites.

The expected price is $70,500.

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com
Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com

The Tesla Cybertruck certainly captured the automotive world’s attention when it was unveiled in 2019. It’s angular, stainless steel body panels set it apart from every other truck (as well as pretty much any other vehicle on the road).

The single-motor truck is configured as rear-wheel drive, the two- and three-motor models drive all four wheels.

According to Tesla, the single-motor base model will achieve a 250+ mile range and be rated at 7500+ lbs. of towing capacity, all at a starting point of $39,900.

Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com
Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com

The Cybertruck will seat up to six people. Its 6.4-foot long cargo bed features a slide-out tailgate that doubles as a ramp to load motorcycles and ATVs. Clearly, Tesla isn’t going after the commercial business with such an abbreviated bed.

All three Cybertruck versions feature an adjustable air suspension system that can be raised or lowered on the fly with up to 16 inches of ground clearance. Couple its suspension with its 35-degree approach and 28-degree departure angles, and the Cybertruck could be an exceptional off-roader.

Tesla estimates that the Cybertruck will go on sale late in 2021.

Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com
Tesla Cybertruck - tesla.com

Tesla also claims that the $69,990 top-of-the-line, three motor version will accelerate to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, reach a top speed of 130 mph, tow 14,000 lbs. and travel over 500 miles without recharging. Probably not all on the same charge.

Tesla tells us the single motor version will feature a 250-mile range, with the dual-motor hitting 300 miles.

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Art Michalik
Art Michalik

Art Michalik brings a career full of experience in the automotive industry to his writing. He has guided marketing at two major tire companies, represented some of the biggest names in the automotive aftermarket at an ad agency, built the enthusiast social media presence at a major online retailer and even managed one of the most famous racing schools in the world.

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