Is an Electric Pickup in Our Future?

Is an Electric Pickup in Our Future?
Illustrations by Mark Stehrenberger Design

It wasn't that long ago when the idea of fully electric cars had some pundits saying it would never happen, but they are here. And now, with the presidential election behind us and the Obama administration likely to continue to push toward more automotive electrification, it seems more likely than ever to see added investment in that direction.

Automotive News is reporting that it's likely President Barack Obama will continue to push for the his target of 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015, less than three short years away. If that is going to happen, electric vehicles will need to evolve away from cute-car anomalies and move into more mainstream designs and vehicle segments. And that means pickup trucks.

Given the coming regulations that the EPA will be (and has been) pushing, including the 54.5 mpg (equivalent) corporate average fuel economy targets for 2025, we have to assume that pickup trucks will be represented. But from which manufacturers and in what segments? There's no question that pricing will eventually have to come down to make them affordable to be bought in reasonable numbers, but much will depend on the company that makes the first vehicle and is willing to take the big risk. 

Is an Electric Pickup in Our Future?

As best as we can tell, it's more likely to come from an existing company that is used to taking big risks with special projects and doesn't mind where the money for those projects comes from. That's why it makes more sense to us that a company like Tesla is more apt to take the first steps than a company like GM or Ford. We'd also assume that along with the risk in technology, there could also be an equally large risk in styling.

Clearly, these types of "utes" would be both interesting and unique and could create an entirely new segment, one we have seen in this country for over 40 years. Australia (also meaning both Ford and GM) know that these types of vehicles can be quite capable, quite rugged and quite powerful (and, we're told, very fun to drive).

Only time will tell, but for now, we offer this as just one possibility. There's no question our pickup trucks will change over the next 10 to 15 years (who knows what will happen to fuel prices), but there's no reason we have to sacrifice style, comfort and work duty, is there?

Is an Electric Pickup in Our Future?


And here you have the return of the compact pickup truck...

Tesla? Pfft. The first electric truck on the road will be a GovtMoCo Sierra. Obama Edition Denali. Just more Government Control from our leader. Government Motors Corp. will be right there with him.. Not Tesla.

Yea, I think GM will have the first Electric truck. I mean if the governent has their way, GM is loosing thousands on every Volt they sell, but the government won't let them discontinue it.

Don't write off Toyota in the electric truck race. We reported that Tesla has an electrified "test mule" Tundra:

and while some people think this is nothing more than a testing tool, we know that a) Toyota and Ford are co-developing a hybrid and that b) Toyota hired Tesla to produce an all-electric versions of the Rav4, so it stands to reason that a plug-in version of the pending Tundra hybrid could be on the drawing board.

Not for me, or any other red blooded American,

Yea, I think GM will have the first Electric truck. I mean if the governent has their way, GM is loosing thousands on every Volt they sell, but the government won't let them discontinue it.

@Rick, yep. If there's going to be an electric truck from anyone, it will be from GM and their GM'C' namesake truck. Just another Government Motors debacle waiting to happen. They took the money and made a deal with the devil himself. I can see the taxfunded rebates on new GMC's already.

GovtMoCo Sierra

-They're bringing back the Govt.MoCo. Canyon too. I'd suspect that will be the first one as toycrusher84 mentioned because of it's smaller size.

Not for me, or any other red blooded American,

-I hate to agree with a Dodge man but I do. Why can't the feds stay the hell away from our trucks?

@Tundra HQ: They couldn't park that thing in a normal parking area? They just park wherever? Reminds me of the 20 and 30 year olds parking in the handicaps that jump right out to get whatever, cause the extra 30 or 40 feet of walking will slow them down.

Just because they are electric I really hope the designers/engineers don't try to push these futuristic Jetsons concepts. Make them look like real pickup trucks please.

Electric cars are one thing, electric trucks? No thanks. Tesla or even GM"c" can keep them. I want simplicity in my truck. Give me fuel of any sort over a an electrical battery nightmare. If GM hadn't taken the government money and especially guided under the administration we unfortunately have, it might be a different story for them to do a Niche electric truck On Their Own for those west coaster's. No subsidies, no rebates, nobody rides for free. That said, it isn't the case and what they did will haunt them for all eternity. And for good reason. As a guy who drives all things Chevrolet and to an extent Cadillac for my wife, I'd just assume Chevrolet Motor Company became their own entity. Get the hell away from GM-GMC.

If there was ever a time to secede from the union so to speak in the automotive world, it's the secession of Chevrolet from Government Motors. Obama and GM have got to go.

Just because they are electric I really hope the designers/engineers don't try to push these futuristic Jetsons concepts. Make them look like real pickup trucks please.

@Red, I wholeheartedly agree with you. This stuff is getting completely out of hand.

You guys are seriously set in your old ways. Full electric (not hybrid) vehicles are wonderfully simple in their function. Electric motors have full torque over their entire rpm range. You don't even need a transmission or drive axles. The motors will be integrated into the actual wheel hubs. That is practically zero moving parts!

You might be happy that companies like Tesla, Toyota and even GM are doing electric truck research as the end of oil is coming in all of our lifetimes. You can have your dino-juice truck if you want, but it'll be sitting in your back yard as a giant flower pot.

If it's a Tesla, no thanks. If it's a Ram 3500 Cummins diesel-electric, yes please!

And you're stuck in the past with your manual trans. Batteries are more expensive and are toxic to the enviroment upon disposal. Not to mention you can't rebuild something like that as simply as you could re-ring and put a fresh set of bearings in a normal internal combustion engine. Burn natural gas or ethanol-alcohol of any sort. It's far better than a battery only system. And to do a hybrid system for a heavy truck hauling heavy things that will only deplete the system faster is fruitless. You'd need a generator onboard anyway. Just more BS. Way to go Obama and Government Motors both. Idiots.

"Real Engines, Keep 'em alive"

The only thing Tesla has on the market now is a 80K+ battery barge, and if they were to make a pickup it would also have to be at least 80K+ just right for the hollyweird types but not the reg guy that need to make a living with his truck! I am not sure about the Rav4, but I do know that where I live there has been a 1st gen Rav4 electric running around now for about 10-13yrs! it is driven by a nanny for the owner, does the food shopping and simple erands, I have talked to a couple of them, and from what they tell me, whenever thay take it out it has to be plugged in, and it take about 8hrs to charge, and they are able to drive about 4omiles! it has heat and a/c, but if used it takes a lot out of the bat. the owner loves it! but it is only front wheel drive, and it can't even tow their jet skis, and they never use it in the winter, because they can only go about 20 miles before it goes dead. However there is a market out here that has solar carports on the parking lots, and when they do the shopping there, the get a charge for 0! just saying, and to prove a point that I do not hate toyota, but just wont buy any. I am probably going to replace the Ecco-Boost with a Siverado Hybrid, I am looking for one right now, I have gotten the Ford back after Ford finaly fixed it! wowee after all that BS, I hope that dealer ................

Why did you Americans vote for Obama ?

He is killing the automotive world !

His strict e.p.a regulations mileage will destroy the vehicles !! (all done for fictional so-called global warming)

Oh yeah,you voted for Obama for free stuff,you got your free Obama phone now trucks/cars will suffer !!

Guess what will happen when most cars are electric..yeah, Your electricity rates will raise so high you will be crying for the days of $4 per gallon gas !! Obama is on record even recorded on tape saying he will skyrocket (raise price of) electricity rates.

So there you have it,you have your free Obama phone,and you will need it when you ride your bike (there will be taxes on that too when the majority are forced to ride a bike licence fees ect) so I guess Americans dont like driving or cars or trucks anymore,your voting proved it !! The glory days of driving are gone.Yeah the Nissan Leaf runs for 38 miles in real life before needing a 16 hour charge ! Good luck with that !

By the way Obama said he wants to get rid of foreign oil,yet gave billions of your tax payer dollars to Brazil for Brazil to invest in their oil drilling ! While you Americans have less drilling on federal land and less by this administration..You voted in a liar,shame on you !

From one Canadian to a polite (Canadian) way......your nuts!

@Canadian Vehicle Lover - wow, what an idiot. You sound like Canadian Ram Owner, you know, the guy who hates Asians.

The interesting thing is that if you look at demographics - rural residents and people with lower education levels voted Republican and urban residents and higher educated people voted Democrat.
Here is an even more interesting statistic = " The most telling fact of all is the measly 39% of Romney campaign funding that comes from donations of $1,500 or less from ordinary Americans. By comparison, 79% of Obama's funding comes from such donations."
The Koch brothers donated 400 million to Mitt Romney's campaign.
"More striking than the power that banks -- piles of money -- wield over the candidates, regardless of their political preference, is this statistic: 94% of elections are won by the candidate who raises more money. As Dylan Ratigan, New York Times best-selling author, points out, how is this any different than an auction?"

Canadian Vehicle lover - the question to ask isn't who is in power but "Who paid for it?".
You pump 400 million into a capaign, don't you think those contributors are going to want something in return?

That sketch is shaped a lot like the old Holden Crewman Ute:
I would think that the most likely player would be Nissan, since they actually sell both all-electric vehicles and pick-ups in the US.

Yea, and what happens when your electric is out for two weeks after a storm. Your screwed thats what.

Fortunately a 1 or 2 week lull without power is rare and there's always a generator or solar power.

"Yea, and what happens when your electric is out for two weeks after a storm. Your screwed thats what."

Immediately after the storm, not everyone lost power, but almost no-one could get gas. A few days later many people got power restored, but gas was almost impossible to find. 2 weeks after the storm almost everyone has power, but everyone is on gas rationing with odd/even days, etc. Easier to charge at home overnight than to wait on a gas line for hours every other day.

If there was ever a time to secede from the union so to speak in the automotive world, it's the secession of Chevrolet from Government Motors. Obama and GM have got to go.

@AC, now we're talking! Old Chevrolet was America, the Red, White & Blue in it's purest form. Untouchable quality, unmatched integrity and engineering and unequaled good looks! Modern Chevrolet under GM's doing has gone to hell. Piss on Government Motors. I'd back an independent Chevrolet Motors anyday though! You know full well if they were their own company and not under GM's dictatorship they wouldn't have such half baked and half assed products. As for electric trucks, I'll pass.


If your reading these comments and think that an electric vehicle is more complex than its gas or diesel powered version than you simply dont understand ANYTHING about how a vehicle works! PERIOD!

everyone wants their truck to "TOW LIKE A FREIGHT TRAIN" right???????? GUESS WHAT? A locomotive IS AN ELECTRIC MOTOR POWERED BY A DIESEL GENERATOR! a train is electric power. so why would you NOT want an electric truck? as long as the range isnt limited by electric only then its BRILLIANT!

@American Chevrolet.........your right! Sucession is a great idea!
About the electric truck. I'm still and will always be a fan of the traditional drivetrain but let's say GM had a drive system like a locomotive with a diesel running a big generator sending power to traction motors at all four wheels. That's instant torque and I wonder why it's not being done. GM has the Electromotive Division that builds locomotives and those SD70-MAC's are amazing with the power they produce in the railroad industry! The Volt has a similar drive system so you would think GM would be doing something with this technology. It could possibly be a "hybrid" that someone actually cares about and has a real world use.

The first electric pickup will be made by a Japenese company, it will suck so bad no one else would build an electric truck. Still don't get why everyone calls the Volt a government motors car. The car was being tested and was nearing production BEFORE the bailout not after. It is a GENERAL MOTORS that created this car NOT Government Motors.

You people really want to overlook the benefits of an electric truck, don't you? Let's ignore the politics for a moment and look at real-world possibilities here.

(A. Electric motors put down a lot more torque than gas engines. This has been proven even with vehicles weighing thousands of tons.
(B. Most trucks, like most cars, are rarely driven more than 100 miles in a day unless they are expressly used for continuous long-distance hauling like when I carried aircraft propellers from Chattanooga, TN to Atlanta, GA for rebuilds. Obviously, with a 200-mile round trip an electric simply wouldn't make the run in a single charge--but driving a very similar truck for TV pickup and delivery when I worked at a repair shop would have been ideal as even with several pickups on a single run the round trip was still under 100 miles.
(C. A. and B. above also mean that you simply aren't spending money on gasoline or diesel and as such aren't spending $20/day or more for fuel at today's prices. Odds are your electric bill, while seeing a bump, would still see less than half the increase over buying gas over the same time period.
(D. That electric truck could, in the event of a weather emergency or other blackout, possibly power the critical appliances in your home for at least a day which, while not sufficient for the blackouts seen after hurricane Sandy would still get you through the average snowstorm or thunderstorm blackout that normally lasts only a few hours.

Finally, I've argued many times that cars like the Prius and the Volt are grossly over-engineered. It would be easier to put a large-horsepower electric motor under the hood in place of that gasoline engine to drive a manual or even automatic transmission than it is to run two to four in-wheel motors that have to be light enough to not grossly affect ride and handling while tough enough to handle all the different road conditions those motors would encounter. Not two years ago we saw an example of an old Land Rover converted to raw electric power using lead/acid batteries and a single big motor. In nearly every test on a television show it proved as capable as a newer diesel-powered relative using only a 40 horsepower motor on parts of the Rubicon Trail--including the Waterfall.

If there was ever a time to secede from the union so to speak in the automotive world, it's the secession of Chevrolet from Government Motors. Obama and GM have got to go.


AmericanChevrolet, Ken, OldGMGuy, I'm right there with ALL of you! Long live Chevrolet Motor Co. I couldn't give a rat's ass about GM or any of it's other so called companies/brands. Never did, never will either. The sooner we leave that sinking government titanic the better.

@OldGMGuy: Unfortunately, your information is out of date, though essentially true. GM no longer owns EMD. That said, that style of diesel/electric or gas/electric really is a better idea than what GM came up with for the Volt and Toyota/Ford came up with for the Prius. However, it does have one drawback: kicking that accelerator for max acceleration literally puts all the load on that engine instantly, most likely dragging it down to a dead stall unless you add some sort of throttle limiter.

Diesel/Electric locomotive drivers have to bring the throttle up carefully to avoid literally yanking the drawbars off the cars and usually have to spool up to full power gradually to get the load rolling. Even so, those locomotives are regularly tasked to pull loads right at their rated limits and the loss of even a single engine can cause the whole train to stall, blocking the rails until helpers can be brought in to push/pull it through until the dead loco can be switched out of the consist.

Yes, I do realize that description is a little off-topic, but the point is that (A. it is possible and (B. it should be notably less expensive than a Volt/Prius. However, it does not eliminate the need for fossil fuel to power the engine.

I think a D/E drivetrain would be great for over-the-road haulers and others who regularly travel hundreds of miles non-stop, but pure battery models would serve admirably in most urban/suburban environments and maybe offer quick-charge or hot-swap service stations (as has been previously discussed) for those who only occasionally have to take their electric longer distances.

The sooner we leave that sinking government titanic the better.

@Brian- good luck with that my friend. The feds are banking on Chevrolet to raise the value of GM shares. Without Chevy, GM has nothing worth any real value outside of the Chinese Buick brand. Unfortunately, that's just sucking your taxdollars too since they're really just Opel's from the failing European company. Sorry guys, Chevy is all Govt. Motors has. I too with they could free themselves and build some serious quality product instead of being held back by Buick's and GMC's but Corporate evil GM says no. They truly are a Stalin like dictatorship. The whole enterprise should have died back in the 1900's. I love old Chevrolet's too but those days are gone. GM destroyed Chevy. And that's a fact.

Good. Build it. The pickup truck market needs MORE innovation, not less. More new thinking, not less. More choice, not less.

Here is a link that states that the US will become the worlds largest producer of oil within a few years.

But it also states that the cost of oil will rise, I suppose the developing nations will see to that.

As I have pointed out in the past there is only so much obtainable lithium to make batteries from.

Man, the number of folks who can't post a simple comment without mentioning the President or this Goovernment Motors crap is amazing. I'm guessing you're still wearing your tinfoil hats and looking for UFO's and black helicopters loaded with jack-booted government thugs, too.

At any rate, an electric pickup may not seem as far-fetched as we think. We already have one EV SUV for sale now (the Jeep-likeEcos Fun) and another on the way (Tesla Model X). I wouldn't be surprised if Tesla brings such a vehilce. They've already announced plans for several new models, including a new roadster and a much less expensive compact, so I'm looking forward to see their definition of a pickup.

VIA Motors already has an electric truck that also runs on gas much like the Chevy Volt.

It's clear Obama put his foot in his mouth and unless he steps up and buys up several 100 thousand EVs by 2015, it's not going to happen. Not by the private sector even with massive subsidized rebates.

Understand this. If China and India's huge growing middle class goes toward Gas powered cars like we did many US cities will be underwater soon. I firmly believe this. For this reason China has recently invested 84 million in US firm Protean Electric. Read about it.

The application is not for every kind of car and certainly not for everybody. But it has it's place.

I did not vote for Obama, but I do support all the R&D and investments in EV, inwheel motors, brake, ultracapacitors, flywheel and hydraulic recovery systems. I belive much of this R&D would not have progressed as much as it has without Obama investments in related companies and university programs.

From a personal finances point of view. If all you need is a do some lite hauling and you drive 15k miles a month. The differnce in fuel cost between EV and V8 Gas can be is as much as $350 a month .. about the price of decent lease.

Open your mind and think about it.

A hybrid system similiar to a locomotive would definitely work for large trucks but it would be costly. I could see a hybrid system similiar to a locomotive as well in a pickup but the real challenge will be to reduce the battery size, increase the range, and lower the cost. I do not think straight electric would work because of the limited range and extreme weather conditions. Electric motors are much simpler and require less maintenance but having a smaller motor to recharge the batteries seems to make more sense.

@Big Al from Oz--Interesting article. World demand for oil is enough to push the price up regardless of increased production. Also limited refinery capacity will keep the price high. I can see more use of hybrid powered vehicles especially diesel and gas. Also biodiesel and biofuels that are non corn and soy based would be better to use along with the hybrid.

Strictly electric vehicles would be more limited in range but would work in major urban areas as long as the distances were not too great. We have to limit our use of fossil fuels just to limit the amount of pollution which will grow as the US population expands. It is predicted that the US population could reach 500 million by 2050 mainly from increase immigration. Sheer population alone concentrated in large cities makes air and water pollution more of a growing concern (this is what is happening in China's cities). The US will become a major coal exporter to China and India as well, but coal is a major polluter as well. Natural gas is the cleanest of the fossil fuels and fortunately for the US it is abundant, but with known reserves of 50 to 100 years it just buys us time.

The US needs a comprehensive energy plan that will not only plan for the next 10 to 20 years but for the next 50 to 100 years with specific targets. All energy sources such as fossil fuels, solar, wind, methane gas from land fills and sewer plants, and alternate fuels from switch grass, algae, and non food crops need to be part of the mix. Conservation along with a mix of energy types, smart electric grids, more efficient appliances, more efficient heating and cooling systems, more efficient cars and trucks, and a better rail and mass transit system need to be done in synergy. If all these things were done with a long range goal we as a nation would not need to import any energy, we would have no need for the Middle East entanglements, and we would become a net exporter of energy which would create many good high paying jobs.

We need to work on our infrastructure which includes smart electric grids, better roads and bridges, replace aging water and sewer pipes and systems, make high speed internet more widespread, and put electrical plants at most landfills and sewage plants that would feed into the electrical grid. These things can only occur if we spend the money for them in the US and reduce our military presence around the World, especially the Middle East. Our problems are not so much a lack of energy as a lack of long term objectives and an inefficient use of the sources of energy available to us. Special interest groups and politicians stifle our abilities to develop a comprehensive energy plan and thus contribute to high unemployment and higher long term energy prices.

@JeffS: First off, with the exception of a specific model known as "The Green Goat", railroad locomotives do not use batteries--those electric motors are driven directly by the generator which is driven directly by humongous diesel engines. That still doesn't negate the fact that they are much more powerful and economical over direct drive engines using either steam or straight diesel (the old American three-car trainsets that became famous in the '40s were diesel powered, not d/e). A similar system would prove far more effective especially for OTR truckers but as I said earlier, would not eliminate the need for fossil fuels.

On the other hand, speaking of the all-electric vehicles you might want to note that the Tesla Model S just won the Car of the Year award and it has a usable range of 285 miles on a charge, more than most people drive in a week unless they have a long commute. As such, a Tesla truck like the concept drawings above could well be a viable competitor to our current gas- and diesel-engined road whales--as long as the price is competitive with equvalent models as the Model S is competitive with Beemers and Caddys.

I don't deny that our infrastructure needs some serious upgrading and quite honestly vehicles like the Tesla could encourage the initiation of those upgrades. If done correctly, said upgrades could include all-new passenger rail corridors to run parallel to expressways at half the cost of creating dedicated rights of way taking passenger rail off the hands (and rails) of the Class I railroads. As such, long trips could be handled by the airlines, moderate trips (100-500 miles) could be handled by economical electric rail while short runs would be the purview of the electric car--almost totally eliminating fossil fuel use by consumers.

@DW Fields--Thanks for giving me the correct information. Big tractor trailer trucks would be a good application of the system uses on locomotives. I am not opposed to all electric, I just think that they need some more development and the Tesla along with the Nissan Leaf are a good start. For most of us a hybrid would be more practical especially on a long trip. I am glad to see any development because we need to move forward to technology. We as a nation need to have a national inniative toward energy independence and to use all available energy sources along with smart use of energy. I totally agree with you on the light rails and I welcome a discussion with you and anyone who is willing to discuss this.

We need to get beyond doom and gloom and beyond thinking that we have always done it this way and why change. I agree with you as well that not everyone needs to drive a full size V-8 truck and that other choices should be available. I do not want to deny someone's choice of a big V-8 truck but I do not need or want one myself and I chose not to contribute to the energy situation anymore than I have too. My next vehicle will be some type of hybrid. That is my choice for environmental and economic reasons. I only see higher energy prices in the future and I wish to be proactive instead of reactive.

I don't see electric pickups happening anytime soon on any kind of meaningful scale. The new ford focus electric version has a whopping 76 mile range that is probably more like 68 miles. Now how are they going to make a pickup that weighs three times as much have a reasonable range without putting in 20 of those super expensive battery packs? I do like the thought of less moving parts, but I don't think electric trucks will ever EVER replace the internal combustion engine.

@Beebe: Regretfully, I will agree with at least part of your comment--we won't see electric pickups in any quantity for at least 10 years if not 20; however, we will see them. Some of the current hybrid technology for pickups works by essentially turning the driveshaft itself into part of the motor, which would give a strong torque boost to a smaller engine for getting a load rolling. However, in its way that is over simplifying and not offering any kind of long-term benefit to improve gas mileage. A 60- or 80 horsepower electric motor under the hood supported by under-bed battery packs would let a truck be a little heavier but offer the kind of starting torque now offered by 350hp diesels and still use most of the rest of the current drive train to keep the motor at a good balance between torque to the wheels and economical rotary speed. If a little 40 hp electric can outperform a 120 hp diesel in a Land Rover, an extra 40 hp would have it burning all four tires off the line.

Give it time, we will see them. Considering the range of the Tesla Model S, I almost believe they will be the ones to offer the first legitimate electric truck.

dwfields. Maybe you are right. The problem is going to be price. If price wasn't an issue then they could do it. The tesla S with higher range STARTS at 76,500 before the tax credit. Even the focus electric is 32,000 dollars. A full size pickup with that range would easily top 100,000 dollars just because those batteries are so dang expensive. They have a LONG ways to go in cutting that price. I don't see it happening. I talked to a professor at University of Florida who has been doing a lot of work and research into alternative fuels, electric cars, etc. He says electric cars will probably not be a major source of transportation within the next 50 years. He thinks hydrogen will play a big part but it will be a combination of many types of vehicles and fuels. He also says the internal combustion engine will probably always be around. His predictions seemed kind of gloomy to me. The cost of transportation can't go anywhere but up for the time being.

I for one think the time is right for an all electric compact pickup truck. None of the major car manufacturers are producing decent compact trucks anymore. Toyota made the Tacoma so big you cant tell it apart from a Tundra anymore.
Ford stopped selling the ranger last year. Who knows why? (CAFE standards? I thought those dont go into effect until 2025, with a gradual ramp-up before then?)
And these designs on this page, especially the one at the top, are great. They are sleek, modern, and very appealing.
Couple these designs with an all electric drivertrain, L-ion batteries, a touch screen tablet built into the dash, vinyl wraps with snazzy graphics, and you've got a winner.

I think electric vehicles have a long way to go before they are an economical alternative. You guys complain about cost now, and electric pickup would be at minimum twice as much.

Small electric delivery style vehicles would work in an inner city operation but outside of that why would you use an electric pickup.

I don't how many people remember the original Japanese mini trucks, in particular their size and power.

Ford has a 1 litre 3 cylinder ecoboost that could power a mini truck, the engine has about the same horsepower as a comparable 2 litre mini truck engine but more torque. Fiat is the same with their 900cc twin cylinder engine.

These engines in a small car are supposed to deliver over 55mpg. In a mini truck I don't see why they wouldn't give at least 45-50mpg.

This would be a damn sight cheaper, easier, affordable than producing an electric pickup. I would think the demand for such a vehicle would be huge.

I agree electric trucks in any numbers are at least 10 to 20 years away. More hybrid systems will be available especially in cars and smaller crossovers. Mild systems such as the ones in the Lacross and Malibu might become more common because the cost is not prohibitive (Same is true for the new Ford Fusion). Batteries will have to become smaller and less costly, but you have to start somewhere. My wife seems to like the Buick Lacross so we might get one of those loaded with the e-assist which gets up to 36mpgs on the road. She has decided that crossovers are to tall for her even with running boards. My neighbors have an e-assist LaCross loaded and she really likes it.

In order to meet the new fuel standards we will see more hybrid systems. There is only so much you can do with weight, aerodynamics, gearing, and turbo charging and direct injection. Also my experience with rechargeable lawn tools such a weed wackers, blowers, and lawn mowers is that they do not have enough charge for most jobs and they spend more time being recharged than actual use. These things can be worked out but they still need some development which will come from more use and newer technology.

@beebe--Sounds like an interesting discussion with the professor. It is hard to predict what the future will bring. Back seventy years ago we were all suppose to have flying cars and in the 50s we would have food that was prepared for us automatically and robots as well. Years ago no one would have predicted the personal computer, I pads, cell phones, and the microwave oven. I do think that the battery technology will improve and the cost will get lower but we will have some form of internal combustion engine around powered possibly by other fuels. Hybrid systems are a shorter term solution but in 20 to 50 years who really knows. I do believe combinations of existing technology will be used to squeeze more efficiency out of our cars and trucks and to contain costs.

@DWFields Downside to all electric cars; range, charge time, weight, price, and safety. In an accident there is a high chance of the wires from the battery being cut, if the car is on fire the fire department must peel away part of the body find a switch that isolates the battery from the car. Skipping that step ends with lots of people getting zapped by alot of electricity. If you go to a dealer that has a Leaf or a Volt, open the center consule and you will find one of the switches. This is why I would rather die than buy an electric car

All the Bashing of Government Motors, that is just a bunch of no minds that still have not gotten over the Hurt locker test drive.
I really believe that a truck with a generator driving electric wheel motors, is the future you would want a battery pack to buffer the engine output, you could have the system with the ability to be plugged in to go from say 60% charge to full charge.
With computer tecnoligy say when you are driving you tell the computer where you are going tomorrow, it would charge the battery to what ever level it needs, and whether you would be plugging it in.
Computer controls of the output will ensure stability, and control. The removal of the drive shaft and rear gear, replaced with wheel motors. 4 wheel drive, all the time, regeneration and stability control sounds like a winner to me.
The volt is a great test and knowledge unit people I know that have them love them and I live in the mountains.

I hate to say it, but many of you, like many of the current electric car makers, are grossly over-thinking the concept. If a guy can do it in his garage with basic tools and lead-acid batteries for a Land Rover, then engineers should be able to do the same thing and include a lot of automation as well--like that battery cut-off switch mentioned.

And that's the point; over-engineering is why these things are so expensive far more so than the components used. Why do we need in-wheel motors which add to the unsprung weight when a single, larger motor can do the same job through the existing available drivetrains? And, just as those motors become generators during braking, engine braking--or rather "motor braking" can be just as effective at far less cost.

Yes, I know a computer system is needed to get the most efficient use, but by reducing the number of parts and simplifying the whole drivetrain, the overall cost would be lower and likely the entire vehicle would be lighter. In other words, why re-invent the wheel? Remember too that the article above postulated a $52,000 truck which isn't all that much higher than existing models of gas-engined trucks. Simplify it more and the cost could drop to near that of your off-the-showroom-floor utility truck.

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