At present, 1 percent of the 250 million vehicles in the United States are electric (EVs), according to the New York Times. But at the end of 2019, only 2,000 of those vehicles were electric trucks.
With Tesla CEO Elon Musk declaring the Tesla model Cybertruck as their ‘best product ever’ and Roger Alm of the Volvo Group confirming record orders for truck production, the number of electric truck deployment is set to change soon in North America. Electric truck brands from pioneer electric vehicle leader Tesla to stalwarts General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Chevrolet to startups like Rivian Automotive, Lordstown Motors and Bollinger are planning to introduce fleets of electric trucks starting in fall 2021. What’s more, other electric vehicle manufacturers are launching a slew of electric range SUVs like the Ford F 150 Lightning, GMC Hummer EV, Tesla Cybertruck, Atlis XT, Rivian R1, Chevy Silverado EV, Daimler truck, and more.
It’s not surprising that automakers have switched their focus from lightweight vehicles to the heavyweight segment. Buyers are intrigued by the advantages of an electric car, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready to trade in a roomy and practical pickup truck or SUV for the confines of a sedan compact. Despite lower fuel efficiency and higher emissions, larger vehicles have been the most popular segment among buyers, as well as the most profitable for automakers. Many trucks and SUVs seat six people comfortably, carry tons of cargo, and head into the backcountry and over rough terrain without a care. They’re the perfect blend of style, function, and power, and feed into a rugged, rough, and ready mentality that many Americans embrace.
As a whole, however, the industry agrees that shifting the vehicles that use the most fuel and produce the most emissions—trucks and SUVs—to electric drive will create the greatest impact on the environment.
EV advantages spread to a new segment
For buyers, the price of an EV truck often induces sticker shock. But in the long run, the benefits outweigh the costs:
- The average EV produces emissions equal to a gasoline vehicle that gets 88 mpg—significantly better than the 21 mpg for a truck, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
- No emissions make EVs healthier for the environment and for you, thanks to less air pollution. Even if your electricity comes from a coal-fired power plant, your carbon footprint will still be smaller.
- With no moving parts, EVs require far less maintenance than traditional vehicles, saving you money in the long run. The battery pack, electric motor, and electronics are mostly hands-off, and you need to replace fewer fluids. Regenerative braking also reduces brake wear. Of course, the electric car battery lifespan is largely dependent on routine car maintenance.
- EVs support powered accessories in the vehicle and some new truck models also let you plug in power tools and other equipment.
One other note: In the decades to come, fuel-powered trucks may no longer be an option. In California, for example, Governor Newsom has mandated that all new vehicles sold in the state be emission-free by 2035. You’ll be seeing more EVs everywhere, as businesses adopt EVs—including the 100,000 Rivian electric vans that Amazon has ordered to deliver their goods.