Despite optimistic tweets and statements from CEO Elon Musk, it looks like Tesla will not be the first automaker to produce the first extended range electric pickup truck in the U.S. Of course, anything can happen, but it looks like the Workhorse Group will get there first with the W-15, set to go into production later next year. With several utility companies and municipalities committed to buying W-15s, extended range electric pickups could find a niche with commercial fleets.
Who's to say that's the best alternative technology to use in pickups? From the looks of it, Honda may be in the best position to offer alternative-fuel pickup choices based on its line of Clarity electric vehicles.
The Clarity vehicles are the most technologically advanced and efficient vehicles Honda sells, offering three choices: fuel-cell (available now in California), plug-in hybrid and electric battery models (the latter two will be available later this year).
The Clarity sedans got us wondering: How long will it be before Honda offers these powertrains in other products, such as the Ridgeline? We hope it isn't too long from now.
Despite all the interest in electric vehicles, it seems like we're still far away from EVs becoming commonplace if companies such as Workhorse — which has never made a pickup truck before — are among the first to go into production with an electric pickup. When major automaker — one that has a well thought-out mid-size pickup — begins offering customers a choice of powertrains that includes electric alternatives, then we'll know EVs have taken hold.
It seems like it would be easier to install a new powertrain into a pickup than design a new truck. All Honda would have to do is apply the Clarity strategy to the existing Ridgeline lineup. And why not try it with the Pilot SUV as well? It would be great to have a full electric or fuel-cell powertrain options for a mid-size pickup. We're guessing some of those Honda buyers who waited for the new Ridgeline would pay a little extra for a more environmentally responsible powertrain.
Cars.com photo by Angela Conners