Best Electric Pickup Trucks – F150 Lightning, Hummer EV, Rivian

WHEN AUTO MATERIALS want to test what the public thinks about an upcoming truck model, they go to Texas. So that’s where Darren Palmer, vice president of electric vehicle programs at Ford, found himself four years ago.

A handful of people in Palmer’s test group in Dallas initially thought they were seeing a demonstration of Ford’s F-150 Raptor, an absolute beast of a gas-powered performance truck. Palmer didn’t exactly tell them anything else as he ran through the numbers.

“I said, ‘I have this new truck for you. It has 775 pound-feet of torque, it has 563 horsepower, it pulls a 10,000-pound trailer on a 25 percent grade, and it goes from zero to 60 in four seconds, he says. Then he revealed that the lightning was completely electric. “It was fun to watch [these] Texans with their faces, mouths open.”

Ford’s F-150 Lightning is now available to order for just under $40,000. Ford has a planned production run of 150,000 trucks for 2023, and it’s not alone in making electric versions of “gas guzzlers.”

There’s an all-electric Chevy Silverado coming in 2023. There’s the Hummer EV pickup, available for pre-order now for a cool $80,000. And then there’s the beefy-yet-sleek R1T truck from Rivian, a newer American manufacturer that officially entered the market last year.

Add to all of that Tesla’s much-publicized Cybertruck, tentatively slated for a 2023 release, and you have a fleet of powerful electric trucks ready to hit America’s busy highways and dust-strewn back roads.

The timing couldn’t be better either. Gas prices are soaring due to global upheaval. Consumer demand for fuel-efficient vehicles is increasing. (GMC recently claimed that 70 percent of Hummer EV orders came from first-time EV buyers.) And in February, the Biden administration announced it would spend nearly $5 billion over five years for a national EV charging network, though it did not specify charging compatibility .

Even with all this momentum, Palmer says he’s still faced the same skepticism from drivers he saw at the Dallas event four years ago. “I’m really tired of people asking, ‘Will it pull?'” he says.

Yes, electric trucks can tow. (In a 2019 marketing campaign, Ford flexed a prototype Lightning pulling a line of freight cars loaded with 42 F-150 trucks, the equivalent of 1.25 million pounds.) And yes, electric trucks have all the torque, horsepower, and lift—and go off gasoline cars—sometimes even more. “I would say most of the ways [electric pickups] marketed, manufacturers are saying they can do everything a gas car can do and still be faster than your sports car,” said Bradley Brownell, co-founder of Autopia 2099, an auto show for all vehicles powered by electrons.

So when GMC ramped up its marketing for the Hummer EV, the company told the automotive press about the truck’s “WTF mode” (that’s “watts to freedom”), stating that the EV could go from zero to 60 in three seconds, nearly the same speed as a Corvette.

Even Rivian, a California-based electric car maker founded in 2009 with a mission to save the planet, boasts in its marketing for the R1T pickup that it packs an 835-horsepower engine that also pushes it from zero to 60 in three seconds. thinking about tomorrow”

says Forest Young, Rivian’s global brand manager. “All the things, I think, a truck can handle — this idea of ​​being tough, this idea of ​​resilience and being able to overcome obstacles in its path … we connect those ideas with being persistently responsible. It’s hopeful hedonism at its best.”

Regardless of the manufacturer, there are still some reservations about electric vehicles on all sides. Drivers trained on gas engines will constantly worry about the range of electric vehicles. Local governments across the country have been slow to implement public charging stations or push concrete EV-friendly policies. And environmental analysis has shown that batteries used to power electric cars may be more harmful to the environment in the long term than the manufacturers would like to admit.

But legacy automakers, like Ford, which have seen their valuations deteriorate compared to Tesla’s, argue that their trucks are so much more than vehicles that move you from place to place. The Lightning can serve as a backup generator for your home, it houses a massive front trunk for extra storage in place of an engine, and it can handle the electrical needs of a glamping site or a tailgate.

“Our approach is that electric cars will do things that gas never did,” says Palmer. “People are resistant to change, and you have to show them something to help them buy into it.”

You’ll notice that the ad spots for the Lightning, which, yes, include tons of footage of the truck hauling stuff (a helicopter!), also show the vehicle moving through a big city at night, home to a suburban house with bikes in the garage. Indie band Battle’s song “Atlas” has replaced Bob Seger’s lamenting “Like a Rock”. An official wearing a button-up stands in for a cowboy in dusty jeans. And there is a sense of evolution.

It’s the kind of advertising that offers a promise: The truck has helped build America. Can America now help rebuild the truck?

A version of this article was originally published in the July/August 2022 issue of Men’s healthhrs.

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