Two significant forces of American life are set to collide. Will a wave of electric truck launches help people's love of pickups and the need to reduce emissions come together happily for a greener future?
Americans love pickups. Ford's F-series have been the best-selling vehicles in the US for over 40 years. In 2019, three million pickups were sold in the US - but how does that square with America's aim to go electric?
The problem is that 'light duty vehicles' are a big source of transportation greenhouse gas emissions in the US - and transportation is the country's biggest sector contributor.
So, all of a sudden electric trucks seem important. Yet, there aren't any mass production electric pickups on sale. However, things will change soon.
With range anxiety still a big reason why Americans don't buy electric, turning them into connected vehicles that personalize routing and provide smart in-car alerts could be vital. Pickups need terrific green and trucking credentials. Let's look at three of the most eagerly anticipated:
Despite launch event hiccups, Tesla CEO Elon Musk is confident of the Cybertruck's potential. With 250,000+ pre-order deposits of $100, that's understandable. Reportedly, he's on the hunt for a central US location for a 'gigafactory' to build them.
What will the Cybertruck deliver?
- 0-60MPH: <2.9 seconds
- Range: 500+ miles
- Peak torque: 1,000 LBS (industry estimate)
- Peak HP: 800 (ind est.)
- Fuel: Battery
A divisive name should be no reason to hold back Nikola Corporation's Badger (apparently, it's called that because badgers are fierce and the truck will be too). This Arizona startup uses hydrogen converted into electricity to power the motors. It also has an onboard auxiliary battery. Hydrogen refilling stations are few and far between, but Nikola is planning to build its own network.
What will the Badger deliver?
- 0-60MPH: 2.9 seconds
- Range: 600 miles (300 battery, 300 fuel cell)
- Peak torque: 980 LBS
- Peak HP: 906
- Fuel: Battery and hydrogen cell
The Hummer EV
General Motors is resurrecting its iconic Hummer range as an all-new electric version. The original was retired in 2010, but it's such an identifiable brand a comeback was always on the cards.
What will the Hummer EV deliver?
- 0-60MPH: 3 seconds
- Range: 400 miles (ind est.)
- Peak torque: 11,500 LBS
- Peak HP: 1,000
- Fuel: Battery
Making a choice will be difficult until the vehicles are in production, but at the moment it seems if you want range, go for the Badger. For power, it's the Hummer. And if you want to turn heads, the Cybertruck might be for you.
Of course, these vehicles are highly-anticipated, but they're not going to be the only examples entering hitting a competitive market where differentiation could be defined as much by advanced driver assistant features and sophisticated infotainment as torque, horsepower and range.
The Rivian, which goes on sale later this year with an expected 400-mile range, has attracted much press coverage and, of course, Ford has plans to launch an electric F-series pick-up to cash in on their established popularity.