Electric Pickups Just Down the Road

Devoted fans of the pickup truck should soon be able to plug in, because electric versions are on the way. Several utilities are taking a close look, and it might just work for co-ops.

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Electric pickup trucks are on the way and could be of use to utilities. (Photo By: Workhorse)

Workhorse, an Ohio-based firm with a factory in Indiana, developed the 460-horsepower Workhorse W-15, which, like the Chevy Volt, can switch to gasoline if need be.

The truck’s lithium-ion battery pack gives it an 80-mile range on a full charge. After that, it can run on gasoline for about another 310 miles on a single tank.

The W-15 is due to go on sale next year with a sticker price of $52,500. Workhorse said it has received letters of intent from Duke Energy, Portland General Electric, the Southern California Public Power Authority and others.

“We feel the reception we've seen from fleets shows that these features and benefits are all things that fleets are looking for in their pickup truck vehicles,” said Steve Burns, Workforce CEO.

Up north, green mobility company Havelaar Canada said its Bison pickup will go about 185 miles on a full charge. It’ll have 46 cubic feet of exterior cargo space and be “equipped to thrive in severe weather and challenging terrain.” But the company offered no details on when it might be available.

Tesla is also working on an EV pickup. CEO Elon Musk tweeted in mid-April that the company plans to unveil it “in 18 to 24 months.”

Could there be an electric pickup in your co-op’s future? Alan Shedd, director, energy solutions, at Touchstone Energy® Cooperatives, is optimistic.

“An electric pickup with 200-plus mile range and modest carrying capacity could be a big hit,” said Shedd.

But he doesn’t expect the first EV pickups will replace the venerable Ford F-series, the nation’s best-selling truck for 40 consecutive years.

“To equal the towing and hauling capacity of most full-size trucks and have good range and low price is a tall order,” he said. But one step at a time.

“I think an electric pickup is a great choice that will fill an important niche,” said Shedd. “I think they will be popular and may help a new group of vehicle owners try electric.”

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