It’s no big secret that the automotive industry is in the middle of a major shift, as vehicles with electric powertrains are — for the first time ever — set to overtake traditional gasoline engines in popularity and availability. And while that shift has been a long time coming, there’s an interesting trend taking shape within that shift.
Over the course of just the last couple of years, a number of brands — both new and long-standing — have announced a very specific type of electric vehicle they’re working to produce. Of course, we’re talking about pickup trucks. These bedded four-wheelers are often heralded as highly-capable workhorses, off-road-ready adventure mobiles, and even supply-hauling daily drivers. And now automakers are beginning to see the very real, very impressive potential of pickups with electric powertrains. While they’re not all going to be winners, we’re backing the following eight options as the best electric pickup trucks worth waiting for.
Why Go Electric?
A New Kind Of Workhorse
Most of the arguments for electric vehicles of any sort are probably things you’ve heard before. But with pickup trucks, there are some other exceedingly valuable things to be said for them of your typical “eco-friendly” or “cheap to maintain” talking points. We’ve outlined some of the most impactful ones below:
Efficiency: Gasoline power is limited by a number of factors, almost all of which relate directly to the act of combustion. Yes, burning fuel can equate to a tremendous amount of power produced. However, that power is limited by a fixed combustion temperature and energy loss during combustion, as well as the amount of fuel that’s accessible. If you want to increase that power in any way, you either need a bigger engine, more fuel (meaning a bigger fuel tank), a boosting factor (like nitrous) or some combination of the three. Electricity, by contrast, is virtually weightless (although batteries can be quite heavy), is more energy-dense, and is cheaper — therefore making for a far better return when you consider all factors together.
Torque On-Demand: This actually kind of goes hand-in-hand with the efficiency argument above, as one of gasoline’s biggest drawbacks is in energy lost. You see, the simple act of combustion — literally exploding fuel and repurposing that explosion into wheel-turning power — results in losing quite a bit of energy in the process. That means, to access torque — the most important power factor in towing and navigating difficult terrain — requires higher RPMs (AKA an increased rate/frequency of combustion). By contrast, electric motors lose virtually no energy, as there is not a “combustion” of which to speak, just a transmission of energy from the motor to the battery and/or wheels. That means more power is immediately accessible in electric vehicles and that power stays available even as speed increases.
Tow Capacity: Gasoline motors, while great for high-speed performance, are not very good at producing high levels of torque (the figure most important when it comes to towing). Diesel-powered ones, while not as agile or quick, are much better. However, both pale in comparison to the potential of electricity. Admittedly and up until recently, electric vehicles were not designed for towing and even some of the newer ones fall short. However, when towing is the end goal and the motors/batteries are designed for it, combustion power doesn’t even compare. For reference, a 2020 Ford F-150 has a maximum towing capacity of 13,200 pounds. The all-electric prototype the brand built, by contrast, towed a whopping 1.25 million pounds. Yes, you read that right; that’s an increase of almost 1,000%. And now that Ford has set that very, very high bar, we expect the trend of ultra-high towing capacities in electric vehicles to continue onwards and upwards.
Second only to the Rivian in regards to how long ago it was revealed, the Atlis XT dates back to the beginning of 2019. And while there still isn’t a working prototype as far as the public knows, there are too many positives promised by the manufacturer to ignore. That includes an entry price of just $45,000, complete assembly in the USA, a 4WD electric hub motor system, 4-wheel independent suspension, regenerative braking, and an estimated functional life of a million miles. They’re also claiming it is good for a top speed of 120mph, a 0-60 time of just five seconds, and up to 500 miles per charge — however, there are lower-end editions that can only do 300 and 400 miles each. If Atlis can actually deliver on all of these promises (and we hope they can), this could be one of the most formidable electric pickup trucks around.
Range: Up To 500 Miles
Tow Capacity: 20,000+ LBS
If we had to pick a single one of these electric pickup trucks that we thought looked the toughest, it would be the Bollinger B2, hands down. Of course, that was actually a part of the point, as the company wanted their EV pickup to look like what it is: a utilitarian road-going tank. That is bolstered by a promised performance of 614 horsepower and 688 foot-pounds of torque, along with a 7,500-pound towing capacity. On top of that, the vehicle also boasts patented pass-through doors (meaning you can feed, say, a sheet of plywood through the nose and out the tailgate) an extended bed with a 5,000-pound load capacity, and a suspension that’s adjustable between 10-20 inches for improved ground clearance when you need it. Unfortunately, this one has a pretty low-end range figure, offering an estimated 200 miles per charge. Admittedly, that drawback is a pretty big one, but all other signs point to the B2 being a great success.
Range: 200 Miles
Torque: 688 FT-LB
Tow Capacity: 7,500 LBS
Ford All-Electric F-150
Ford is still a relatively long way away from actually producing an all-electric F-150 midsize pickup truck on a large scale (they’re claiming it will be ready next year or soon after), but they’ve definitely already developed a viable prototype — which they showed off during the summer of 2019. Unfortunately, that means the performance specs haven’t even been hinted at, with one exceedingly impressive exception. You see, the longtime American auto manufacturer teased the capability of their all-electric F-150 prototype by having it haul an actual freight train loaded with 42 other gas-powered F-150s — which equated to towing roughly 1.25 million pounds in total. Now, before you get too excited, it’s pretty likely that this prototype is not what we’re actually going to see on the showroom floor once the electric F-150 is officially released, but, even if it’s half as powerful, it could set the standard in the industry.
Tow Capacity: 1,250,000 LBS
Sometimes, the best way to start a new automotive company is by picking up where another left off and going from there. That’s kind of what happened with Lordstown Motors when they took over GM’s formerly-defunct six-million square-foot facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Of course, having a production plant is only one part of the equation. The other, perhaps obviously, is a vehicle to produce at said plant. But Lordstown has that, too, in the form of their Endurance electric pickup truck. This futuristic bedded EV is said to have a quartet of hub motors, thereby making it an all-wheel-drive system, alongside an undercarriage battery that’s good for more than 250-miles per charge and frees up more space for storage across the rest of the vehicle. It’s also already available for presale with a starting price of $52,500 and a meager $100 down payment.
Range: 250+ Miles
Tow Capacity: 7,500
Neuron EV T.One
Of all the pickup trucks on our list, the Neuron EV T.One is, by far, the one with the most unknowns. In fact, the brand has been extremely tight-lipped about hinting at any and all performance figures, as they’ve claimed that the T.One is more about real-world usefulness than boastful horsepower and top speed figures. Yet it still makes our list for one very important distinction that sets it apart from the other trucks you see here: it’s built on a customizable modular platform. According to Neuron, the T.One is designed around versatility, meaning it will be available with a number of different modules that can be attached and/or removed to suit the work you need the vehicle to do. That includes things like a camper top, a dump truck-style steel high-wall bed, and (of course) a standard pickup bed. It remains to be seen how many modules will actually be available come production time, but there’s still an abundance of promise surrounding this electric pickup truck.
Tow Capacity: N/A
You might find it interesting and even novel that, in the electric pickup truck world, there are two companies named after historically-significant scientist Nikola Tesla. But we think it’s even more interesting that both brands have exceptional trucks slated for a release in the near future. In this case, the Nikola Badger has been more recently announced but is actually ready (so the brand claims) for a September release this year. While it remains to be seen if that will actually happen, the promises Nikola is making regarding its performance have got us chomping at the bit for a closer look. For reference, that includes a range of up to 600 miles, up to 906 horsepower, and a torque rating good for up to 980 foot-pounds. That puts the Badger toward the top of the class all-around, which could force its competitors to up the ante. As mentioned, there are still more questions than answers, but this is a story worth watching as it unfolds.
Range: 600 Miles
Horsepower: 906 (Peak)
Torque: 980 FT-LB
Tow Capacity: 8,000 LBS
Rivian’s R1T was actually announced all the way back in 2018 and may be the vehicle most-responsible for kickstarting the proverbial arms race that is the electric pickup truck industry, as it pushed the other companies on this list to unveil their own plans. Of course, that’s only a part of the story, as an announcement itself wasn’t enough to light that fire. Rather, it was Rivian’s promise that the R1T would offer 400+ miles of range, a quartet of motors at the wheels (which make it an AWD vehicle) good for an output equivalent to 750 horsepower, and a 0-60 time of just three seconds. Pair that with an impressive amount of onboard storage — the bed, under the “hood,” and even a through-and-through body compartment that makes use of otherwise wasted space — and you can see why the R1T shook things up so much. Rivian is even already selling preorders at a starting price of $61,500 with a $1,000 down payment.
Range: 400+ Miles
Torque: 829 FT-LB
Tow Capacity: 11,000
Though the unveiling didn’t quite go as planned (e.g. the “indestructible” window broke) and it’s an angular eyesore to some, there’s no denying the industry-shaking impact of the Tesla Cybertruck. Looking like a low-res vehicle from an outmoded racing game, this unique EV still boasts plenty of promise. That comes in the form of impressive capabilities — like up to 500 miles of range, a 2.9-second 0-60 time, an expanding tailgate that turns into a loading ramp, an ultra-tough cold-rolled stainless steel body, and more. And you can bet that cold, hard exterior is protecting a wealth of comfortable interior options and groundbreaking tech, like onboard AI capable of automated driving, Tesla’s signature touchscreen entertainment system, and so much more. Reminiscent of the DeLorean time machine from Back to the Future, the Cybertruck clearly isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely going to be making waves in the industry for years to come, especially since it’s going to be ready for 2021 and starts at just $39,000.
Range: 250-500 Miles
Tow Capacity: 7,500-14,000 FT-LB
The 15 Best Electric Cars
Though these pickups are still over the horizon, there are plenty of EVs presently on the market for anyone interested in the powertrain of the future. Find the perfect one for you on our list of the best electric cars.