Electric Pickup Trucks: The answer to soaring fuel costs?

Ford Lightning Pickup Truck towing Airstream travel trailer
Ford F-150 Truck-photo courtesy of Ford Motors Canada

All electric pickup trucks are coming in 2022

Fuel costs have been soaring out of this world. Many RV enthusiasts and full time RV travellers are currently really worried about their ability to continue with the RV lifestyle. A pickup truck towing a travel trailer can use twice as much gasoline as a truck that isn’t towing anything. I can’t even imagine fuel consumption for those towing apartment sized fifth wheel trailers. As much as we love the RV lifestyle, RV groups on Facebook are resounding with questions about how we are going to keep doing it? Particularly those of us who travel great distances with our tiny homes on wheels.

After the work of towing the Arfpod all over Canada, Blue’s capabilities really shine. Blue happily takes my dogs (and their doggy friends) on jaunts to remote locations with ore than adequate 4×4 capabilities. As much as I love my truck, gas prices on cross country RV jaunts have me looking at other vehicles. As much as my Nissan Xterra, “Blue” has been the best vehicle in the world for my lifestyle, I have been doing a bit of research into more economical options. I went online to research electric tow vehicles and I was happily surprised by the number of all-electric pickup trucks slated to come onto the market within the next few years.

The Time is Right for Change

The time is right for some alternatives to gas guzzling pickup trucks and SUVs. Hybrid trucks have been around for a few years now, providing at least a little relief from gas prices. Most of these seem to be Ford Trucks. I’ve owned Ford vehicles in the past and they were nothing to write home about in terms of mechanical finesse. I’m not hating on Ford trucks, but the 3 I’ve had broke down alot, no matter how new they were. So normally I would never consider getting another Ford for even a minute. But Ford is saying they will be selling a revolutionary vehicle that is a real head turner as soon as May 2022. Could the Ford F150 Lightning be the answer to crazy gas prices?

Ford’s All Electric Truck is a Head Turner

Ford F-150 Lightning

The

When I discovered Ford is planning to introduce The F150 Lightning an all electric truck with built in, standard 4×4 capability, I was intrigued. It wasn’t just the prospect of driving across Canada with no fuel expenses at all- imagine filling up with free electricity every 400 km or so (with the available extended range package). Still, I’m pretty sure my travelling companions would be happy riding around in the crew cab. I wouldn’t ever drive with a dog in the back of a pickup truck and I hate seeing dogs transported this way… But I diverge: The Ford Lightning excited me. There is sure lots to love about this vehicle:

  • It just looks like a nice F150 truck- nothing wild and attention grabbing about the design. You could probably drive it around in Alberta, and no one would throw rocks at it.
  • The Frunk: The massive storage space where the engine used to be. This space is replete with 11 built in 110 plug ins to plug in…a fridge? An electric kettle? I don’t even know. But it’s pretty cool.
  • The engine has been replaced by 2 battery operated electric motors. One at each axle. That’s where the 4×4 driving capability comes from.
  • You can plug it in at home, and it will take 8 hours to charge.
  • Charging it on the road, you can charge it in 30 minutes, if you happen to be at the right charger.
  • If there is a power outage, the F150 Lightning will power your home for up to 3 days.
  • 10000 lbs towing capacity this is 5000 lbs more than Blue can handle.
  • Lower maintenance costs that a gas powered vehicle, since there is no engine oil.
  • The price about $60,000 buys a mid range truck with some nice bells and whistles including a back up camera and a trailer backing assistance gizmo .

Is Canada Ready For All Electric Pickup Trucks?

The futuristic looking Tesla Cybertruck electric pickup truck is slated for production in 2022

There are a few companies introducing some really interesting electric pickup trucks in the next 3 years, including Tesla. Tesla’s version of an all electric pickup truck looks like it was inspired by Elon Musk’s space travels. It’s pretty wild looking and sure would stand out when driving, or camping somewhere like Alberta. Chevrolet says it will have all electric trucks in production next year, but so far hasn’t been able to get a manufacturing plant set up, so, I don’t think it’s going to happen soon.

The thing is, we Canadians drive long distances. There has to be enough fast charging charging stations available. It’s not like if your battery runs down in the middle of the wilderness, BCAA could run you out some more electricity. Ford answers that by providing a map of all the EV charging stations across Canada. There are sure plenty of them. Some are faster than others, but they will all do the trick. I wondered if it would be feasible to charge a Ford Lightning at one of the local charging stations in Courtenay, especially while pulling my small trailer.

Only one way to find out: I went to check out two EV charging stations near Courtenay. Both were on Ford’s map. I pulled Blue into the one at North Island College, and my smallish SUV barely squeezed into the small-car sized parking spot. It would be difficult to charge a full sized pickup truck there, and there would be no way to charge a truck pulling a trailer there. So the next EV charging station was located in a small parking lot in Comox. It was completely doable with a pickup truck, but not a pickup truck towing a trailer.

Even as fuel costs soar, we still have a long way to go before RVers will embrace all-electric pickup trucks.

All Electric Truck Dealbreakers

There is sure lots to love about the Ford F150 Lightning. I am sure as time goes on, many people will embrace the pricey Tesla pickups too. Here is what will keep me and many other RVers who are considering replacing our gas guzzling tow vehicles with all electric versions.

  • Battery range– 500 km range sounds pretty good for driving around town, but not for towing anything. Towing will cut down battery range to around 350. That would make for lo-o-ong road trips with plenty of downtime for charging batteries. And the thought of being stuck on the side of the road somewhere with browned out batteries is kind of scary.
  • Battery life– No one seems to be able to honestly answer how long these batteries will stay functional or last. A gas powered car’s battery needs to be replaced every 3-4 years. Will Ford Lightning batteries be the same?
  • Charging Stations: Before RVers can embrace all electric tow vehicles, there needs to be certainty that we will be able to charge our vehicles during travel. More accessible charging stations are needed throughout North America. Drivers who want to tow anything need a completely new design for electric vehicle charging stations. One that’s suitable for long vehicles. In an ideal world, there would pull through charging stations for rigs that might have a total length of 30-50 feet. If we don’t have the infrastructure, we aren’t going to buy trucks like the Ford F150 Lightning.

I guess I’ll keep loving and feeding my trusty little workhorse, Blue, until the bitter end. I’ll revisit all-electric truck idea again next year and let you know what I find. It’s sure an interesting technology.

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