Electric pickup trucks: the new workhorse vehicles

Rivian R1T Image: Rivian

The first electric pickup trucks have already arrived, carrying impressive claims over vehicle horsepower, towing power and range that rival even the most powerful combustion-engine pickups. Within five years there could be more than 20 electric pickups on the North American market, a boon to businesses and organizations small and large looking to reduce fuel costs and carbon footprints without missing a beat in their day-to-day duties.

But what if your fleet’s pickup trucks could do more than just carry weight? Beyond all the advantages offered by electric vehicles, electric pickups do something entirely new for the contractor or technician: they can be used as mobile power stations, where you can plug in your tools and more, without sacrificing any space to power-generating equipment.

Portable power

In assessing 404,652 light-duty trucks across North America, fleet telematics provider Geotab found that 45 per cent of fleet light-duty trucks in use today are ideally positioned for transition to electric. In Canada, Geotab found that 76 per cent of the gas- and diesel-powered trucks currently in use in Canada could be replaced by zero-emission pickups. The research also identifies multiple ways that electric trucks provide an advantage: lower fuel and maintenance costs; access to government rebates; and available auxiliary power outlets, which allow a truck to become a mobile workshop.

Expanded functionality for using the truck’s battery to power a variety of external devices, called vehicle-to-load, vehicle-to-grid or vehicle-to-everything (V2L, V2G or V2X), is now appearing standard or as an option on many electric trucks. This means the battery can power everything from a laptop to a circular saw or, when connected to a bidirectional charging station, it can even supply your home with electricity during an outage — for days, in some cases.

Expanded storage

Because an EV’s drivetrain is laid out differently from that of a combustion engine vehicle, many EVs now include a forward compartment that serves as another cargo area or ‘frunk.’ Both the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning have frunks equipped with power outlets. You can imagine recharging the batteries for power tools, like a lawn mower or leaf blower, or plugging in a cooler for worksite lunches.

On the F-150 Lightning, the 400-litre frunk is larger than the trunk of a Toyota Corolla. “It’s capable of hauling 400 pounds of payload to and from the job site, and is washable, lockable and drainable,” says Joe Comacchio, vehicle line manager for Ford of Canada. “The Pro fleet vehicle has four outlets and two USB ports for 2.4 kW of available power, capable of powering tools and other appliances anywhere you need it.”

The electric pickup trucks now available in Canada

Here’s a closer look at what we know about the electric pickup trucks beginning to hit the Canadian market. Keep up to date on new arrivals with our EV Listings.

Ford F-150 Lightning

First Canadian deliveries: 2022

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro. Image: Ford

Powered by a pair of electric motors that create all-wheel drive, the F-150 Lightning is available with a standard range of 370 kilometres and power output of 452 horsepower, and an extended range of 515 km with output of 580 hp. In either case, peak torque equals 775 pound-feet, more than has ever been offered in any F-150.

Maximum towing capacity in the extended-range Lightning is 10,000 lbs, while its payload tops out at 2,235 lbs. The available Onboard Scales feature uses sensors to estimate payload and determine how the truck’s range will be affected. The extended-range Lightning can also be equipped with Pro Power Onboard, which adds power points to provide electricity for external devices, and the Home Integration System, which can allow the truck to be used to power a full home.

In Canada, pricing on the fleet-only standard-range 2023 Pro grade starts at $67,000, while more expensive trims start at $79,000. Deliveries of the Ford F-150 Lightning kicked off in the spring of 2022.

Rivian R1T

First Canadian deliveries: 2022

The Rivian R1T’s “gear tunnel” takes advantage of space freed up by the layout of the EV’s dual-motor drivetrain. Image: Rivian

Rivian beat established automakers to the punch when it began delivering its R1T electric pickup truck to U.S. customers at the start of 2022.

The R1T comes with a standard 135 kWh battery that provides 480 km of range. An optional 180 kWh battery with 640 km will be available starting in 2023. Power is delivered to four motors, one at each wheel, with a combined output of 835 hp and 908 lb-ft of torque.

Some of Rivian’s innovative storage solutions include a gear tunnel that runs between the cab and box, adding extra 12-volt and 110-volt power outlets and a place to stow gear, while its door can support enough weight to act as a seat. Under the hood, another 311-litre frunk is equipped with a 12-volt outlet, and the 827-litre bed hides another 405 litres of storage space underneath it. The R1T has a maximum payload of 1,760 lbs and its towing capacity is 11,000 lbs.

Prices for the Rivian R1T start at $101,750, and Canadian deliveries for the standard range model started in the fall of 2022.

Chevrolet Silverado EV

First Canadian deliveries: 2023

GM’s rendering of the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT Image: General Motors

General Motors has confirmed that deliveries of the Chevrolet Silverado EV will start in fall of 2023. Powered by the same flexible Ultium battery platform that will underpin all future GM electric vehicles, the Silverado EV will be available with up to 640 km of range while peaking at 660 hp and 780 lb-ft of torque from a pair of electric motors, which will be mounted with one on each axle to create all-wheel drive. Initially, maximum towing capacity will peak at 10,000 lbs.

A WT (work truck) version is due to land in the spring of 2024. Its electric motors will produce 510 hp and 615 lb-ft of torque. Towing capacity will cap at 8,000 lbs at launch with maximum payload capacity topping out at 1,200 lbs. A future WT model has been promised with up to 20,000 lbs of towing capacity.

The Silverado EV will be available with the PowerBase charging system that integrates up to 10 outlets, and GM’s Super Cruise semi-autonomous highway driving assist technology will also be optional. 

The first available models will be the RST First Edition, which will be priced starting at $119,948. The WT will start from an MSRP of $52,448.

General Motors has also announced that a GMC Sierra EV will also enter production in 2023, for deliveries in 2024. So far no further details have been made available. 

Ram Electric 1500

First Canadian deliveries: 2024

Ram rounds out the electric pickup truck contributions of the traditional Detroit automakers with news that an Electric 1500 will go into production beginning in 2024.

Very little information beyond that has been made available at this point, other than word that the Stellantis electric platform — though not the Electric 1500 specifically — will be capable of an 800-km range.

Keep up to date on the latest EV availabilities via our EV Listings.