It may not have garnered front-page headlines, but a major milestone in automotive history was reached last fall. It took place in the otherwise quiet, ironically named town of Normal, Illinois. There and then, electric vehicle startup Rivian rolled its first consumer-ready vehicle off the assembly line, instantly becoming the first electric pickup truck brought to market.
Pickup trucks represent the final frontier in electric vehicles, which have quickly evolved from tiny sedans to SUVs. The market for the emission-free trucks is expected to grow significantly over the next several years. In other words, the Rivian R1T‘s time in the spotlight alone is coming to a close. It will soon be sharing the stage with a host of competitors. In fact, a number of new electric pickup truck models are right around the corner. Some are already in production, others won’t be available until 2023 (hopefully). Either way, expect to see these vehicles driving on a street near you in the not-so-distant future.
The aughts were full of trends we can safely say the world is be better off without. Chief among them was the popularity of the gas-guzzling Hummer. But in true 2020s fashion, the truck has been rebooted with a new owner (GMC) and a new way of moving.
While it was once antithetical to use the terms “Hummer” and “environmentally friendly” in the same sentence, this new, fully electric version is entirely emission free. It’s compatible with the fastest available chargers, enabling owners to gain nearly 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes of charging. The Hummer EV can travel more than 320 miles on a full charge.
The electric pickup truck, which went into production late last year, does have one thing in common with its gas-powered ancestor: it’s a beast of a vehicle. Powered by three separate motors, the Hummer EV produces an unparalleled 1,000 horsepower and 11,500 lb.-ft. of torque. All that strength comes at a price, however. The Edition 1 model came with a price tag north of $110,000. Less expensive versions will be available beginning in the fall.
Few automobiles have garnered as much pre-manufacturing publicity as the Ford F-150 Lightning. But, then again, few automobiles have had the potential to truly revolutionize American driving. The gas-powered F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. for nearly half a century. Converting owners of the traditional model to those of the Lightning could go a long way in helping EVs carve out a larger percentage of overall cars on the road.
And it appears the Lightning has already struck a chord with pickup truck drivers. In January, Ford announced it would be doubling its production 150,000 trucks per year after receiving 200,000 initial reservations. (For context, there were roughly 725,000 Ford F-150s sold in 2021).
Owners should be more than satisfied when they finally get behind the wheel of the Lightning, which is set to hit the road this spring. The emission-free pickup delivers 563 horsepower, 10,000-pound towing capacity and a F-150 record 775 lb.-ft. of torque. It also is the first vehicle ever with the extremely convenient ability to power your house.
Not resting on its laurels, GMC is coming out with a second electric pickup truck right on the Hummer’s heels. The Sierra Denali EV’s debut will make GMC the first automaker to offer two such vehicles.
Although it’s set to be revealed later this year, not much is known about the truck yet. The car maker offered a glimpse of the vehicle’s futuristic front end but has offered few other details so far. We do know the pickup truck will be a luxurious one – “Denali” is GMC’s highest trim level.
The F-150 may be America’s best-selling vehicle, but the Silverado is not far behind. Drivers purchased more than half a million units of the Chevy truck in 2021, making it the year’s third most-popular automobile. And just like its chief competitor, there will soon be an electric version.
The Silverado EV isn’t set to debut until the spring of 2023, but the payoff may be worth the wait. According to Chevrolet, the pickup truck will have up to 664 horsepower, more than 780 lb.-ft. of torque and be capable of supporting a payload of 1,300 pounds, all while getting from 0-60 mph in less than 4.5 seconds. Those concerned about driving range can sleep easy knowing the Silverado EV is expected to travel an estimated 400 miles on a full charge. Potential owners may also be lured by the opportunity to play hero to stranded motorists as the pickup truck will be capable of charging other EVs courtesy of an accessory charge cord.
Those looking to couple their advanced technology with futuristic design can wait on bated breath for the Canoo Pickup. Slated to launch as early 2023, the vehicle is complete with an onslaught of features designed to appeal to those using it for work and fun. The Canoo’s modular bed allows it to be divided to hold and secure loads of various shapes and sizes. Speaking of cargo, the vehicle has a payload capacity of a full-size pickup, but the footprint of a mid-size. Other work-focused features include multiple fold-down tables and charge ports accessible from all sides of the vehicle.
When the weekend arrives, Canoo owners can store their gear on the optional roof rack, which is easily accessible by an integrated step ladder. The innovative pickup is also designed to accommodate camper shells.
The only thing more confusing than the Cybertruck’s appearance is its production timeline. When it was originally unveiled in 2019, Tesla claimed the Cybertruck would be available by late 2021. Before that could happen, production was delayed until 2022. In January, Tesla announced it wouldn’t begin manufacturing until 2023, citing supply chain issues. This coincided with the car maker ridding its website of any references to a production schedule.
For the sake of some much-needed optimism, let’s assume the Cybertruck will indeed be available sometime next year. When that happens, consumers will be privy to a vehicle unlike any they’ve ever seen – assuming Tesla’s claims come true. The pickup’s DeLorean-style monochrome shell is nearly impenetrable. The 100-cubic-feet of exterior storage space can handle 3,500 pounds and be completely covered by a tonneau strong enough to stand on. All this in an electric pickup truck capable of accelerating from 0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds and covering 500 miles on a single charge.
AAA’s Recommendation: Whether you own an electric vehicle or a gas-powered car is up to you – and you should consider lots of factors in making that choice. No matter what type of vehicle you’re choosing, we recommend visiting a dealership, test driving one, and asking as many questions as possible to make an informed decision.