What is the Allure of Electric Trucks and Pickups?
June 17, 2022
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) recently published an article detailing that younger men (those less than 35) are gearing up for the electric pickup truck. KBB reported that Cox Automotive (its parent company) found that these buyers are more likely to purchase a plug-in pickup.
What’s the allure of the electric truck, though? How will these models compare to their fuel-injected counterparts? There are many new pickup trucks that are about to drive into the market; electric options include:
- Ford F-150 Lightning
- Rivian R1T
- 2022 GMC Hummer EV
- Tesla Cybertruck
- Chevrolet Silverado EV
What are the Concerns about the Electric Pickup Truck?
KBB reported that older buyers (those over 35) were more likely to stick with standard fuel-injected pickup trucks. In fact, more than half of these buyers revealed they would only consider purchasing gas-fueled pickups.
The concerns about these new plug-in pickups also were noted by KBB; some buyers weren’t happy with the price points, but towing capacity also was a concern. The Ford F-Series currently offers the best towing capacity on the market. Even the smallest F-150 is capable of towing up to 11,300 pounds when fully (and properly) equipped.
How do these electric models compare in price and towing? Here’s what buyers need to know about each model.
Buyers who want a new Lightning are out of luck unfortunately. Orders have closed, as the demand was incredibly high. The Lightning is the electric version of the F-Series, which has reigned as the best-selling vehicle in the country for about four decades.
The F-150 Lightning is priced at $39,974. This is nearly $10,000 more than the standard F-150’s starting price. The Lightning also has a towing capacity capped at 7,700 pounds.
With an estimated range of 300 miles, though, drivers can feel confident in going the distance with this truck.
The Rivian R1T is one of two models offered by the electric automobile company (the other option is an SUV). The R1T has a starting price of $67,500, much higher than the Lightning. However, the R1T offers better towing capacity; it can pull up to 11,000 pounds.
According to Rivian, the R1T has an estimated range between 260 and 400 miles; the discrepancy is due to different battery and motor options.
The Hummer EV is offered in both a pickup and an SUV. The pickup truck model is priced at $108,700; as a Hummer model, the pickup might lean a bit more luxury. Can this pickup pull its weight in towing capacity? The Hummer pickup has an estimated maximum towing capacity of 7,500 pounds—the lowest on the list.
Can the Hummer EV take on long distances without fully zapping its battery? The Hummer EV pickup has an estimated range of 329 miles, which is decent.
When will the Cybertruck officially hit the streets? No one really knows. However, this model has created a lot of buzz. Unlike the other models on the list, the Cybertruck doesn’t feature a standard pickup truck design. Instead, the Cybertruck is angled and sculptural and fits its futuristic model name.
The Cybertruck also is among the lower-priced electric truck options; in fact, the Cybertruck has a starting price of $39,900. However, the all-wheel drive model can soar to around $69,900. The Cybertruck is expected to have a towing capacity of up to 14,000 pounds (the highest of all the electric models).
In addition, Tesla’s Cybertruck is expected to outdrive its competitors on a full charge. The Cybertruck is expected to have an estimated range of 500 miles.
General Motors announced its intent to go to an all-electric lineup. It should come as no surprise that an electric Silverado is expected to debut sometime in 2023.
Interested buyers can reserve their electric truck now. With a starting price of $39,900, the electric Silverado is in the same price range as the Lightning and the Cybertruck. The Silverado EV is expected to have a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.
The Silverado will have the second best estimated range among the electric pickups (second to Tesla) and will offer an estimated range of 400 miles.
How Do the Electric Models Compare to the Standard Pickup?
The concerns of older buyers might be related to how much weight these electric trucks can tow and perhaps their price, too. How do the electric models compare to the standard models?
The most popular pickup trucks in 2021 were the Ford F-Series, the Ram Pickup and the Chevrolet Silverado. These pickups are offered in half-ton, ¾ ton and full ton models. Each upgrade offers better towing capacity and a higher price tag.
One of the key differences between the electric models and the standard models might be related to the engine design. While many electric models offer engine options that could improve performance in some way, the towing capacity appears limited to all the electric pickups.
Tesla’s Cybertruck offers a towing capacity of up to 14,000 pounds, but, again, the F-150 can tow (when fully equipped) up to 11,500 pounds. The F-150 is the smallest truck among the F-Series lineup. The F-250 can tow up to 15,000 pounds. The F-350 can tow up to 20,000 pounds (when fully equipped).
Both the Ram pickup and Silverado lineups offer better towing capacity with larger models. Buyers of these fuel-injected pickups can choose the model that fits their towing or hauling needs.
With electric models, the lineup seems more limited. There isn’t the option to fully equip a model to improve on the towing capacity. In addition, many of these electric base models are more expensive than the base (or starting MSRP) of their standard counterparts.
Buyers who need a pickup truck for heavier loads might not feel that the upcoming electric options can carry the weight of the standard models. They also might feel that their money can be used to invest in upgrades for these trucks that enhance both the drive and the power of the vehicle.
Electric for a Younger Buyer?
The younger buyers might focus more on the ecological impact of the electric future. Diesel and gas-guzzling engines emit pollution into the air. While improvements have been made to reduce the emissions that add to air pollution, the environmental impact still remains a concern.
Younger buyers, therefore, might be more in tune with the greener thinking that focuses on conservation and lessening the individual’s carbon footprint. One way that buyers can decrease their impact on the environment is to decrease their energy use—removing fossil fuel dependence is one solution.
The electric vehicles that are about to hit the highways are the first generation—the beginning of an electric pickup future. How these models perform and how buyers embrace them could be a pivotal factor in determining if these plug-in pickups even have a future.
Yet, for major auto brands (like GM), there may be no going back to the gas fumes of the past. GM is embracing an electric future, and others will perhaps join in on this trend. Younger buyers are eyeing these electric trucks, and if the younger generation wants electric, demand will perhaps rule what is supplied.
Are Electric Trucks in Short Supply?
Buyers who are beginning to get excited about the prospect of owning an electric pickup might have quite a wait. While Rivian and Tesla appear to still be taking orders for the R1T and the Cybertruck, those who want an electric Lightning are out of luck (for now). Ford has seen such a surge in interest and orders that they ceased accepting additional orders.
However, the Silverado also can be ordered. Buyers also can reserve a Hummer EV. With the popularity of the Lightning, it might be a good idea to place an order for an electric truck sooner rather than later (if a buyer really is committed to the purchase).
Those who are on the fence about these models, though, might wait to see how these models perform once they hit the streets. The next generation of electric pickups could offer additional towing power, longer ranges and maybe a more affordable price, too.
While some buyers want to immediately purchase the next new model, waiting for a later option also could be a good decision if the buyer just isn’t ready to commit. Manufacturers continually improve upon existing models, and, as the electric future is just beginning, the later electric models could be more impressive than the introductory pickup models.
Should all buyers be prepared to electrify their future? Again, GM is moving to an all electric lineup. Others could join in on this trend. Electric might be the future of driving. As popularity for these models becomes electrifying, consumers may begin to see more charging stations integrate into their communities.
Buyers who are concerned about the price of electric models also might wait to see if future models begin to focus on more budget-friendly price points. As electric vehicles begin to gain mainstream acceptance, prices might decrease and become more affordable. Cautious consumers may simply wait to see what the electric future holds before driving off the lot in a new electric plug-in vehicle.