Every type of vehicle is going electric these days, and pickup trucks, vans, and cargo haulers aren’t about to be left out in the cold. A prime example of this is the new Tesla Cybertruck, but Elon Musk isn’t the only one innovating and pushing boundaries. The quintessential gas-guzzler that is the GMC Hummer is also coming out with an EV iteration, alongside electric configurations of the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and the absurdly priced Bollinger B2, with a starting MSRP of around $125k.
The Extinction Of Fossil Fuels
There is no denying that the global oil reserves are a limited resource, and that they are dwindling rapidly. Scientists have estimated that we have until 2030 to find an alternative fuel source before our needs completely outstrip our supply. Thus, it should come as no surprise that automakers are scrambling to change the way they do business and engineer cars. Hybridization has helped stem the urgency, but time is quickly running out and electrification seems like the next logical step.
That’s not to say that there aren’t other options. Biofuel has been shown to be successful when mixed with traditional fuels, especially in commercial vehicles. And then there is also hydrogen power, which may very well be more efficient than electricity. However, none of these are as viable or affordable as mass-produced systems, which is why we can expect to see EVs completely dominate the market in coming years.
Do You Dream Of Electric Horses?
All these heavy-duty vehicles have been prized over the years for their ability to go where others can’t and do the toughest jobs around the world. To do so, they are generally powered by high-displacement gasoline or diesel engines developing impressive amounts of horsepower, and ridiculous torque. But as has been proven by Tesla and Ford with their high-performance Model S and Mach-E respectively, electric motors are just as potent as combustion engines.
But where these new-fangled powertrains really shine is in their ability to throw out torque like it’s nothing. Workhorse cars are able to utilize this unique trait to easily lug around heavy loads without the risk of burning out, as proven by the Cybertruck’s claimed towing capacity of 14,000 lbs. Ford has yet to announce the performance figures of its F-150 EV, but the Bollinger B2 should be able to manage around 10,000 lbs, while the 11,500 lb-ft of torque supplied to the wheels of the Hummer EV may have both beat.
A Fuel Manager’s Dream
One area where utilitarian vehicles have always struggled is the balance between capability and affordability. Astronomical towing and hauling capacities come at a cost, and if it doesn’t cut you as deeply when you first buy these automobiles, it will when the gas bill hits you at the end of the month. Some of the most potent pickups don’t even manage to break double digits when it comes to miles per gallon, but electrification will change all that.
The Toyota Prius Prime, Chevrolet Bolt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model 3 have all shown that fuel economy can exceed the 100 mpg mark quite easily, and even sports cars like the Ford Mach-E and Porsche Taycan boast impressive figures. While it is unlikely that pickups and commercial trucks will be able to achieve quite the same level of efficiency, they will still offer significantly better mileage returns than any fleet manager could have dreamed of just a few years ago. The initial outlay for upgrading to these more expensive vehicles will quickly be offset by this, and the incentives many governments are likely to offer on new purchases won’t hurt, either.
A New Type Of Cool
It’s hard to deny that much of the appeal of pickup trucks has been their rugged, bold, and audacious nature. They are unashamedly loud and obnoxious, with more than enough bite to back up their bark. However, electric powertrains are silent, almost eerily so, and most of the EVs being produced are futuristic and sophisticated rather than brazenly aggressive. This may put off some buyers who have shopped in the segment for these more primal reasons. At least, that’s what some may think.
The truth of the matter is that most car manufacturers are sticking to what they know works when it comes to styling their new EV pickups. Ford and Chevrolet are offering the same chunky, imposing designs, and the Bollinger and Hummer are as charmingly disproportionate as ever. Of course, there will be some concessions made in the name of modernization, but Tesla is the only automaker going all out for the space-age aesthetic with aggressively geometric Cybertruck. If we were to colonize Mars right now, this is probably what all the colonists would drive, especially since Elon Musk would likely be funding the mission
The only thing we will truly miss about these gargantuan brutes, is their proud roars as they come barreling down the freeway far faster than anything that big should. The throaty rumbling of V6 and V8 engines are already more a memory these days, with everyone switching over to turbocharged four-pots, but the last refuge of the indulgently overpowered combustion engine will soon be giving up on it, too. Some manufacturers will likely try to create the illusion of that glorious soundtrack, as BMW and Mercedes-Benz have done with their latest performance models, but it will never be quite the same.