At present, 1 percent of the 250 million vehicles in the United States are electric (EVs), according to the New York Times. But at the end of 2019, only 2,000 of those vehicles were electric trucks. That number is set to change soon, with electric truck brands from pioneer electric vehicle leader Tesla to stalwarts General Motors, Ford, and Chevrolet to startups like Rivian Automotive and Bollinger planning to introduce EV trucks starting in fall 2021. What’s more, other electric vehicle manufacturers are launching a slew of SUVs.
It’s not surprising that automakers have switched their focus from lightweight vehicles to the heavyweight segment. Buyers are intrigued by the advantages of an electric car, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to trade in a roomy and practical pickup truck or SUV for the confines of a sedan compact. Despite lower fuel efficiency and higher emissions, larger vehicles have been the most popular segment among buyers, as well as the most profitable for automakers. Many trucks and SUVs seat six people comfortably, carry tons of cargo, and head into the backcountry and over rough terrain without a care. They’re the perfect blend of style, function, and power, and feed into a rugged, rough, and ready mentality that many Americans embrace.
As a whole, however, the industry agrees that shifting the vehicles that use the most fuel and produce the most emissions—trucks and SUVs—to electric drive will create the greatest impact on the environment.
For buyers, the price of an EV truck often induces sticker shock. But in the long run, the benefits outweigh the costs:
• The average EV produces emissions equal to a gasoline vehicle that gets 88 mpg—significantly better than the 21 mpg for a truck, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
• No emissions make EVs healthier for the environment and for you, thanks to less air pollution. Even if your electricity comes from a coal-fired power plant, your carbon footprint will still be smaller.
• With no moving parts, EVs requires far less maintenance than traditional vehicles, saving you money in the long run. The battery, electric motor, and electronics are mostly hands-off, and you need to replace fewer fluids. Regenerative braking also reduces brake wear.
• EVs support powered accessories in the vehicle and some new truck models also let you plug in power tools and other equipment.
One other note: In the decades to come, fuel-powered trucks may no longer be an option. In California, for example, Governor Newsom has mandated that all new vehicles sold in the state be emission-free by 2035. You’ll be seeing more EVs everywhere, as businesses adopt EVs—including the 100,000 Rivian electric vans that Amazon has ordered to deliver their goods.
One factor that looms large in the popularity of EV trucks is an expansive driving range—even with the large battery needed to propel a full-sized truck. Here’s a quick look at upcoming electric trucks 2021￼ and how far they can take you.
Up to 500 miles
• Inspired by a cross between stealth destroyers and attack planes and cyberpunk fantasy
• 1020 hp and 1050 lb-ft of torque
• 250-mile range with single motor, 300-mile range with dual, 500-mile range with tri
• Futuristic styling, with release far into the future as well
• 159- to 200-kWh battery packs
• 500-mile range
Up to 400 miles
• Built to electrify adventures, along with the related R1S SUV
• Power delivered independently to each wheel
• 314-mile and 400+-mile range, 800 hp
• Off-road performance that includes the option to crab walk around obstacles
• 1000-hp tri-motor, up to 830 hp for the SUV
• 350+-mile range for the truck, 300+-mile range for the SUV
• Same platform as the GMC Hummer EV
• Single-motor rear-drive and dual-motor AWD
• 350-mile range
Up to 300 miles
• Off-road electric pickup truck designed with towing capacity for hauling and adventures
• Two inboard motors good for a combined 614 hp, 668 lb-ft torque
• 200-mile range
• Designed to be a workhorse
• Dual-motor AWD good for 426 hp and 775 lb-foot of torque standard or 563 hp and 775 lb-ft optional
• 230-mile range, 300-mile extended range
One other plus for EV trucks coming on the market is a unique capability to customize with powered accessories on the vehicle and outlets to power other devices. For example, the Rivian R1T offers an optional camp kitchen complete with two burners.
The Ford F-150 will come equipped with Ford Intelligent Backup Power. If you experience a power outage at home, the F-150 can offload 9.6 kW to power lights, appliances, and other powered systems. At remote locations, the enhanced Pro Power Onboard lets you plug in a variety of tools, electronics, and appliances in the built-in electrical outlets. Power ranges from 2.4 kW to 9.6 kW depending on the model.
Given the hefty kilowatt-hours that many EV truck batteries boast, it’s critical to consider how you’ll charge the vehicle. Charging time depends on the battery size, how depleted it is, and the charging equipment, including the level and rate. Level 1 charging, which uses a standard 120-V outlet, works fine to top off after a daily commute but not for quickly recharging a drained battery.
A better option is a Level 2 charging station like the Enel X JuiceBox 40. You can install the Enel X JuiceBox 40 at your home and quickly charge your EV truck—meaning you’ll always have access to your EV truck’s full driving range. The JuiceBox provides ample cable length, a long lead plug, and easy setup.
Exactly when your EV truck uses power to recharge at home is flexible. The Enel X JuiceBox app lets you charge at the time when it will cost you the least. A connected JuiceBox smart charger can communicate with the utility and automatically shift the car’s charging time to times when electricity rates are low. That capability reduces peaks in energy demand on the grid and promotes use of solar and wind energy when it’s most abundant. It’s a win-win that lets both EV drivers and utilities use energy resources wisely.