The decision to go out and buy a brand-new electric pickup truck for north of $40,000 may seem insane for some, but for others, it's exciting because there's a whole new world of utilitarian vehicles to be discovered. However, it isn't all rainbows and butterflies because, like with any car purchase, there are lots of things to consider and in this case, the bad may outweigh the good.
Don't think of this as an article hating on electric pickup trucks because they absolutely have their place in the market, but treat this more as a list of considerations before you pull the trigger on a very expensive and complex machine. By looking at a range of factors, we've listed 10 brutal truths that deserve a mention before anyone thinks about buying one of these swanky pickup trucks. Electric cars are here to stay whether we like it or not, we're just making sure you make the right decision from the get-go.
10 Initial Purchase Cost
Like we said in the intro, the starting price for an electric pickup in today's market is around $40,000 with prices rising as high as $70,000 and beyond. This is a stratospheric amount of cash for most people, especially when you can buy a perfectly decent new pickup for well under the base price. So, why would you consider one of these? Well, the answer is simple. They're new, exciting, and impressive on paper, but the initial cost of purchase is going to be a real turn-off for most potential buyers.
You also need to think that many people who buy a pickup truck traditionally beat them up because they're meant to be workhorses and do anything and go anywhere, but this is going to drastically change if prices stay as high as they are.
9 Public Perception
A concern that may not even cross a buyer's mind is how other pickup drivers will see them. The rolling coal culture is huge in certain parts of North America and Canada, and rocking up to a parking lot in a silent, clean, and electric pickup truck may not make for the best impression among peers.
It's going to be exactly the same as when the first umbrella was used. Those who used one were heckled on the street for years until it became socially acceptable to keep yourself dry in the rain. Coming to terms with electric vehicles, especially pickups, is going to take a long time, and right now, it's certainly a sore topic for hardcore pickup lovers – like it is for many other gearhead groups.
8 Charging Costs
Once you've gotten over the initial purchase cost of your new electric pickup truck, the next hurdle you'll face is charging it. This is something that can either be done at home, which is slower, or at a public charger, which is faster but more expensive. It's a bit of a balancing act at the moment, while charging companies and energy providers work together to find the best solution.
At the time of writing, it costs the average American citizen approximately 15.47 cents per kWh to charge an electric car, meaning a top-spec Ford F-150 Lightning would set you back around $20 for a full charge. This is fantastic and far cheaper than fueling up a large diesel pickup truck, but how long will this last?
With an energy crisis knocking on the door and EV charging costs in Europe skyrocketing, it's only a matter of time before prices rise.
7 Range Anxiety
A big one which is widely discussed in forums and on the news is the topic of 'range anxiety'. Poor ranges in EVs have significantly dropped in recent years, but they're still not as good as an ICE-powered alternative. For example, the Rivian R1T electric pickup truck has a claimed range of 314 miles, whereas the RAM 1500 diesel equivalent has a quoted range of 950 miles on a single tank.
This is a huge difference and a gap which isn't shrinking, and that's before you get onto the time it takes to top up both trucks.
As we know, the pickup truck is meant to be a hard-wearing brute of a machine, otherwise, why would Ford promote the slogan 'Built Tough' with all its off-road vehicles? So, surely filling one with an unfathomable amount of tech and complex wiring is only a recipe for disaster?
Traditionally, the pickup has been simple and easy to work on, which is why they are used on farms and ranches. As soon as you begin to introduce more tech, you create a higher chance that things could go wrong. Of course, brands are weatherproofing their EVs to make them work wherever, but the second some moisture or a small rodent gets into a wiring loom for the infotainment system that controls the car, you're stuffed.
5 Weight Problems
Pickups have always been heavy – that's why they can carry so much. They are built to last, and in order to do that cheaply you need strong, and therefore heavy, steel. To put this into perspective, a top-of-the-range Ford F-150 Tremor weighs 5,115 lbs, which is already very heavy. But the all-new GMC Hummer EV weighs an astonishing 9,000 lbs – meaning it's close to double the weight of a standard pickup truck.
This comes with many potential issues, including available range, stopping distances, and general drivability. Carmakers really aren't making it easy for themselves with this one, but unfortunately, the batteries are really heavy. So until someone develops a lighter one, we're stuck with these.
4 Temperature Worries
If you've ever played SnowRunner, then you'll know that truckers can face some seriously arctic weather conditions and therefore need a vehicle that can keep up and not die on them in the middle of nowhere. Well, unfortunately, that rules out any electric pickup truck. The reason for this is that the batteries in EVs just can't cope with freezing conditions. The optimum operating temperature for an EV's battery is around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, so any less, and it begins to suffer.
EV batteries just prefer warmer climates, so if you're trying to drive it in colder temperatures, you're going to face all sorts of issues such as a reduced available range, and you could even damage the battery. So, it is safer to opt for a gas or diesel-powered pickup if you live in temperamental conditions.
3 Charging Times
One of the most talked about topics in the world of electric vehicles is charge times because they're still far too long. To charge a Ford F-150 Lightning at home, you're looking at around eight hours to get it from 5% to 80%, which just won't work if you can't wait all night for it to be ready. It's not much better at public fast chargers either, with it taking roughly 40 minutes to fully charge an electric pickup.
Considering it takes a matter of minutes to fuel up a diesel or gas pickup rival, it simply doesn't yet make sense to daily drive an electric one, unless you can meticulously plan out your trip to ensure you reach all the correct chargers in time. YouTuber FunForLouis attempted to drive across America in his Tesla-powered VW Campervan, and well, the videos speak for themselves.
2 Limited Choices (For Now)
New electric pickup trucks are cropping up all the time, whether that be from start-ups or from large OEMs such as Ford, but there are really only a handful worth considering (or that you can actually buy, thanks Elon).
The main competitors in the US that you can actually buy are the Ford F-150 Lightning, Rivian R1T and Hummer EV. That's it. There are more with planned entry into the market soon such as the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Sierra EV and the RAM 1500 REV, but that's not now.
And who knows when Tesla will launch the long-awaited Cybertruck? That's a whole other story, but it proves that there just aren't all that many choices out there yet.
1 Charging Infrastructure
The situation is much better in America than it is in Europe, but it's still not 100% and that's regarding electric charging stations. There is a huge amount of work for governments to do all around the world to ensure everyone is able to charge their electric cars when they need to. Currently, we're facing broken charge stations, slow outputs and scarcity of availability – so when will this change?
The truth is, we don't know, but you'd hope these issues would be solved quickly – especially if the UK plans to ban the sale of new gas and diesel cars by 2030. Whether it's more chargers the world needs, or just faster charge times and longer ranges, we're unsure, but it's evident that currently, it's just not viable for so many people to own and daily drive an electric car – especially if they need lots of range in a pickup.