(The Car Connection) — Electric pickup trucks are no longer a prospect: they are a reality. And they’re exceptional.
The Rivian R1T won The Car Connection Best Luxury Car To Buy 2023 award, while the bestselling vehicle in the U.S. for more than four decades, the Ford F-150, got even better with the Ford F-150 Lightning. The electric pickup truck won our overall Best Car To Buy 2023 award. They’re not just great trucks, they’re evolutionary vehicles.
GM and Ram are playing catchup, but the Thursday reveal of the Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept proves that the evolution is just beginning, and greater innovations reimagine and recreate what can be done with the traditional pickup truck form.
Loaded with luxury and convenience options, the basic but long-lasting work truck has evolved into a family truck that can double as a mobile boardroom. No matter the iteration or the powertrain, pickup trucks get more expensive each year, averaging at least a 3% increase annually since 2009, according to J.D. Power. Pickups account for nearly 20% of all new-vehicle sales, and in 2022, consumers paid about $60,000 on average for a new pickup truck.
Electric trucks follow a similar pattern. Automakers have promised a $40,000 electric truck, but no one has yet to deliver one. In the first year of sales, the F-150 Lightning experienced three price hikes, amounting to a 40% increase, from $41,669 to $57,869 as of December, 2022.
Note, the revised 2023 federal EV tax credit of $7,500 applies to SUVs and trucks that cost less than $80,000 and must have final assembly in North America. For more info on income limits and other factors, visit the IRS page.
The electric trucks listed below range from what’s on sale now to what are under development. Prices will change, but here’s what we know about what it will cost and when. All of these electrics are American-made.
Price: $74,800-$98,800 (all listed prices include destination fees)
On sale now: Rivian charges $6,000 extra for the Large pack and $16,000 for the Max pack, and another $8,000 for quad motors over the standard dual-motor setup.
Launched before the R1S SUV, the R1T was the first available battery electric pickup to market and it’s such a great vehicle it won Motor Authority’s Best Car To Buy 2022, given by our sister publication.
California-based Rivian offers the R1T with three powertrains. The base model has a 105-kwh Standard pack with a dual-motor all-wheel-drive setup good for about 260 miles of range. The most popular model so far has a 135-kwh Large pack with a four-motor AWD powertrain that makes 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque. It sheds its roughly 7,000-pound curb weight from 0-60 mph in an astounding 3.0 seconds. The range is estimated to be 328 miles. A 180-kwh Max pack quad-motor R1T has a 400-mile range.
Not only is it quick, the R1T is capable, with a towing capacity of 11,000 pounds, an air suspension that enables nearly 15 inches of ground clearance for supreme off-roading, and more than 50 different drive mode configurations. As long as a mid-size truck but as wide as a full-size truck, the short 54-inch bed lends itself to a roomy, luxurious crew cab, and excellent cargo solutions such as a cargo tunnel between the cab and the bed that can hold up to 300 lb of gear, and could be filled with a slide-out camp kitchen. It is an excellent adventure vehicle, and silent, emission-free off-roading with its electric powertrain is an added bonus.
On sale now: The base Lightning Pro can only be had with the Standard pack for non-fleet shoppers.
Demand for the F-150 Lightning has outstripped expectations, prompting Ford to more than double the initial production run to a total of 150,000 annually. Dual in-board motors are powered by either a standard-range 98-kwh battery pack good for 240 miles or an extended-range 131-kwh pack with an estimated 320-mile range. Either pack can create up to 775 lb-ft of torque from the motors, while the standard range generates 452 hp and trucks with the larger pack are rated at 580 hp. Towing capacity reaches 10,000 pounds and the payload maxes out at 2,000 pounds.
Sold in Pro, XLT, Lariat, and Platinum trims, the Lightning is pretty much the same as the gas F-150 from the crew cab back to the 5-foot-6 bed that carries over so owners can swap accessories between gas and electric models. The Lightning’s frunk stores 14.1 cubic feet, carries 400 pounds, and doubles as a cooler or power source. It’s easier to load and unload big box runs than the bed, and it’s waterproof and secure. The Lightning can charge appliances with up to 9.6 kw of output from the bed or, when equipped with Ford’s innovative Home Integration System, it can act as a backup home generator in case of power outages. The bestseller has gotten better.
Price: $112,595 for Edition 1; $86,245 EV2 base model
Expected delivery: Edition 1 production ended, so the $106,245 Hummer 3X arrives this year; expect the EV2 base model for 2024
Once the nemesis for environmentalists, the return of the Hummer and its zero tailpipe emissions epitomizes all that’s changed in a decade. A tech showcase with four-wheel steering so it can crab walk, an adaptive air suspension with a ground clearance of up to 15.9 inches, GM’s Super Cruise hands-free driving system, and a four-panel removable roof that can be stowed in the frunk, the new Hummer is all about capability and exclusivity. The 1,000-hp three-motor system has an estimated range of 329 miles and can hit 60 mph in about 3.0 seconds despite weighing more than 9,000 pounds. Its 1,000 lb-ft of torque help it tow up to 11,000 pounds.
Base price: $39,900
Expected delivery: Spring 2023
The Silverado EV shares its Ultium platform with the GMC Hummer EV and will be related to the gas Silverado in name only. Sold only with a crew cab and a 5-foot-11 bed and weighing about 8,000 pounds, The Silverado EV Work Truck, or WT, comes with front and rear motors making 510 hp and 625 lb-ft of torque. With standard all-wheel drive and a steel suspension, it will be able to tow up to 8,000 pounds and carry a payload of up to 1,200 pounds. Chevy did not disclose battery size in its base model. The top RST First Edition makes 664 hp and 780 lb-ft, with a 24-module, 200-kwh battery pack, and it has an estimated 400-mile range. Chevy also quotes a 0-60 mph time of less than 4.5 seconds and a towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, but a payload of only 1,300 pounds. It will have an air suspension with four inches of range and rear-axle steering. The RST model will also have an interior gate that opens up to the bed much like the Chevy Avalanche of old. Opening the 60/40 split mid-gate into the cabin will allow items up to 9 feet long to fit. Lower the standard Multi-Flex tailgate, raise its rear stop, and the bed fits 10-foot-10 items.
Expected delivery: 2024
The Ram 1500 Revolution BEV Concept unveiled early in 2023 previews the production version to follow within the year. The long and lean concept has two electric motors for all-wheel drive, but Ram didn’t disclose battery pack sizes or even if it would be based on 400-volt or 800-volt architecture. The crew cab has grown 4.0 inches, and sports rear suicide doors and no B-pillar between the front and rear doors. The configurable cabin can be equipped with a third row of jump seats and a removable mid-gate option that can put the jump seats outside of the cabin. A center tunnel like a driveshaft tunnel runs from the bed through the cabin into the frunk to haul items that are 18 feet long.
Price: No one knows
Expected delivery: 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, ?
We’re not sure if the production Cybertruck will match the triangular Tesla concept, but Tesla’s first pickup embodies the hype of other Tesla vehicles. The stainless-steel wedge with a 100-cubic foot vault instead of a cargo bed can carry 3,500 pounds or tow up to 14,000 pounds, seat six, hit 60 mph in under three seconds, and have a 500-mile range in top quad-motor AWD trim. Initially, a single-motor rear-wheel-drive model was supposed to start at $41,100, and the dual-motor AWD was priced at $51,100, but the only info available on Tesla’s configurator early in 2023 was a $100 deposit option.
Expected delivery: Lordstown shipped the first batch of trucks to fleet customers in December 2022.
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The mid-size Endurance makes 550 hp from four motors—one in each wheel—for a Lordstown-estimated 193-mile range. The battery is a 109-kwh unit and it accelerates from 0-60 mph in 6.3 seconds, and has a top speed of 118 mph. The truck can also haul a maximum payload of 1,050 pounds, and tow a maximum of 8,000 pounds. Beset by financial woes and an SEC inquiry over executives selling shares before bad news broke, the Lordstown Endurance electric truck factory was bought by iPhone maker Foxconn. An initial batch of 500 Endurance trucks will be built for delivery to fleet customers. Lordstown said it will work with Foxconn to slowly ramp up production as supply chain constraints are resolved.