Rising fuel prices, stricter emissions testing, preventing global warming – whatever your reasoning, there’s no doubt that electric vehicles (EVs) are the future. And while the commercial market has been slow to transition, there are models in the works that could offer genuine solutions for car haulers. We’ve rounded up some of the biggest EV projects due to hit the market in the next few years.
Atlis XT Pickup
An American-based start-up, Atlis is currently rounding up more funding for its XT truck that is due in 2020. The intended design is widely configurable, with a range of bed layouts and motors. Driving range varies from 300 to 500 miles with trailer capabilities of up to 35,000 lbs with a gooseneck and is designed to maintain 65mph at up to a six percent gradient. One neat addition here is that the wing mirrors have been replaced large screens either side of the steering wheel.
Ford F-150 Electric
America’s favorite pickup truck is going electric. First announced in 2017, the prototype was shown in a YouTube video towing 10 double decker rail cars, weighing more than a million pounds. Though we’re not expecting the production version to list those kind of figures, it’s certainly a show of strength that the new electric version will be no less of a workhorse than its petrol versions.
As part of the Daimler Trucks North America, Freightliner has some serious investment behind them. The electric version of the Cascadia class 8 truck was first revealed in 2018 and is already into small scale pilots in California. The trucks are due to roll out further in 2021 and are aimed at the regional and local markets. The eCascadia have a 250 mile range with an 80 percent recharge (200 miles) in around 90 minutes and have level 2 (partial) automation.
In collaboration with Toyota Motor North America, this special version of the Kenworth T680 is a class 8 truck powered by a Toyota hydrogen fuel cell to deliver zero emissions. Aimed more at the regional haul market, the trucks have a range of more than 300 miles and are due to start hauling cargo between Los Angeles and Long Beach in late 2019. A hybrid prototype of the T680 was also shown in April 2019, which combines a compressed natural gas engine with electric cells.
The popular Peterbilt 579 has also been given the fully electric treatment in collaboration with TransPower. This is one of three electric vehicles from the company, which also include the 220EV medium duty and the 520EV refuse truck, thanks to funding from the California Air Resources Board. The 579EV features eight 44 kW/h battery packs to deliver a 150-250 mile range, with a full charge taking around four hours. The company plans to have around 30 electric trucks on the road by the end of 2019. There’s no news as to whether they will do a 389EV or 337EV.
The R1T is the first of two electric vehicles from the relatively new American auto manufacturer, Rivian. Though still little known, firm has some big name backers, including Amazon, Cox automotive and Ford. Infact, Ford’s upcoming electric F-150 and Mustang-inspired crossover are due to use Rivian’s platform. The R1T is due to start shipping at the end of 2020 with prices starting from $61,500. It comes in three setups, with the top model offering over 400 miles of range and 826 lb ft of torque. All models have a towing weight of 11,000lbs.
Tesla founder, Elon Musk has talked about releasing a pickup truck for sometime. He’s been promising something to surpass the Ford F150 and quoted as saying it will come in at under $50k. Details of the final product are still sketchy, though there are lots of predictions online. Experts suggest that the eventual reveal –– which could come as soon as Nov 2019 –– will see a range of up to 500 miles and the ability to tow up to 300,000 pounds.
A little more detailed are Tesla’s plans for a class 8 truck. Originally unveiled in 2017, the Semi is currently due to go into production by the end of 2020. There are two versions planned; a short-range (300mile) version starting at $150k and a long-range (500 mile) version starting at $180k. Though this looks high, Tesla are estimating $200k in fuel savings over its lifetime. More impressively, the specs suggest a 0-60 of just 20 seconds with an 80,000 lbs load and the ability to maintain 60mph at up to a 5 percent gradient.
Volvo VNR Electric
Volvo has big plans to both sell and lease its trucks in the North America market. The new VNR electric range includes a class 8 battery electric model, slated for late-2020. Volvo has been creating electric vehicles since 2010 and already has a range of electric and hybrid trucks available in Europe. The new VNR Electric will be based on the technology currently used in the FE range. Though currently part of a California pilot program, it is due to extend across the Pacific coast in 2020.
Xos Trucks ET-One
Formally known as Thor Trucks, Xos is a Los Angeles-based firm that has already supplied Class 6 electric armored vehicles to security firm Loomis and Class 6 delivery trucks to UPS as part of pilot programs. The ET-One is a class 8 truck based on a Navistar frame with a new aerodynamic body and an electric motor from TM4. The prototype proved it could haul 80,000 lbs across 100 miles on a single charge, while the final version promises ranges up to 300 miles.