We're hearing reports from Automobilemag.com that a top Telsa spokesman is interested in taking the company's high-performance all-electric powertrains — installed in Tesla's Roadster and Model S vehicles — to see how the same basic powertrain strategy could work inside a midsize or full-size pickup truck.
Apparently, Tesla has a model or two to design and build before allotting the time, energy and money for a fully electric pickup, but with all the attention (and profit margin) that full-size pickups are getting as they try to squeeze out every mpg they can, it makes sense that Tesla might be in the right place to take a risk on a function-first, no-nonsense electric work truck.
We hope Tesla does a lot of studying on truck buyers, truck use and truck-ness, sort of the way Via Motors did with the VTrux, which seems to have caught the attention of Jay Leno. It's taken much longer than we expected, but Bob Lutz, the longtime auto exec and recently retired GM vice chairman, has finally gotten around to bringing Leno one of the extended-range electric pickup trucks.
At the 2012 North American International Auto Show, Via Motors debuted its GM-based full-size pickups, vans and SUVs with a totally new with a 4.3-liter V-6 gas engine that can power a set of electric motors used for the vehicle's propulsion. (They basically replace the existing powertrain.) The plug-in electric truck can run about 40 miles on electric power alone, then another 300 miles with the V-6 acting as a generator. Of course, the VTrux's coolest feature is that it can also be used as an independent 110- or 220-volt power source for just about all your professional and personal electrical needs.
Lutz is a spokesman and consultant for Via and is a great promoter of his point of view. Search on Google or YouTube for his recent appearances on the "The Late Show With David Letterman," "The Colbert Report" or "Real Time with Bill Maher." In fact, In addition to these TV appearances, he recently stopped by Leno's 100,000-square-foot dream building to tape an episode of Jay Leno's Garage, where the two discussed and drove one of the VTrux vehicles (they're offered in regular, extended, and crew-cab configurations) and talked about how impressive and functional trucks like these could be.
Jay's final comment after driving the VTrux was, "Well, there's the future." Of course, it is a bit of a schmooze fest, but there is some good info here.
Could more extended-range or fully electric pickup trucks (or bigger SUVs) be in our future? The short answer is "most likely," especially if the prices come down (a lot), but not anytime soon.