Even though SUV sales have taken off over the past decade, the pickup truck is still one of the strongest forces in the American car industry, selling ten of thousands of units every month. From 2015 to 2021, for example, the mighty Ford F-150 averaged over 830,000 sales per year, making it the biggest-selling truck in the U.S. and the 3rd largest-selling vehicle in the world after the Toyota Corolla and RAV4.
Trucks are big business, and fully electric trucks are the flavor of the month. With basically every automaker under the sun launching a slew of electric vehicles, major carmakers and startups alike are flooding the market with fully electric pickup trucks to meet the expected explosion in demand over the next several years.
It’s all about range, performance, towing capacity, and price
But with basically one new electric pickup truck debuting every month, what are the best ones you can buy right now? Pickups have unique roles and demands that distinguish them from standard SUVs, sedans, or hatches. An EV truck must prove its worth and deliver as a true pickup by offering the functionality of a pickup and the sustainability of an EV. We will go through the top 3 EV pickups to see which one offers the best combination of range, performance, towing capacity, and price.
For the 2022 model year, there are actually only three fully electric pickup trucks on sale right now, with several more slated to launch very soon. We know there will be thousands of readers out there rooting for the Tesla Cybertruck, but unfortunately, that EV, suffering several delays, is still a ways off. So in the meantime, the three EV trucks we will look at are the Ford F-150 Lightning, the Rivian R1T, and the GMC Hummer EV.
No 3: GMC HUMMER EV
- Price: $110,295
- Range: 329 miles
- Power: 1,000-hp
- Towing Capacity: 7,500 pounds
With a base price of $110,295, and styling that closely resembles the predecessor, the GMC Hummer EV is an unlikely candidate for an EV powertrain given its gas-guzzling history and its macho clientele including Arnold Schwarzenegger. Luckily the Hummer EV does not take itself too seriously and employs a launch control device called ‘Watts to Freedom,’ or WTF mode. Engage the control and the 1,000-hp tri-motor, 4WD setup will propel you from zero to 60 mph in 3.3 seconds, while its giant 212.7 kWh battery pack offers a range of around 329 miles on a single charge.
In addition to the WTF mode, this Hummer can not only raise its ride height to nearly 16 inches off the ground using ‘Extract Mode,’ but it also boasts a party trick—the ability to “CrabWalk”—in which it uses a bespoke four-wheel steering system that allows the truck to drive diagonally around obstacles.
The shock value continues at Hummer with the firm bravely bringing itself back from the brink, while at the same time, rebranding itself as an EV company. I don’t know about you, but the words ‘Hummer’ and ‘EV’ come across like an oxymoron and it’ll take a little more time for that ‘Hummer EV’ combination to sink in. So we can expect to see more electrification from Hummer in the near future which will always put smiles on our faces.
Other EVs to look out for: GM will also join the EV pickup genre soon with their Silverado EV in the fall of 2023. The Silverado EV RST comes with 660 hp and a range of up to 400 miles, which is eye-opening. The same Silverado RST can also tow up to 10,000 lbs, according to GM.
No 2. RIVIAN R1T
- Price: $73,000
- Range: 314 miles
- Power: 835-hp
- Towing Capacity: 11,000 pounds
As the first EV truck to go on sale in the U.S., every aspect about the Rivian appears focused on trying to create a new truck performance benchmark. The jury is still out on the radical pickup’s design, with some calling it inspired and game-changing and others referring to it as childish. We think it adds something completely new and fresh to the truck world and feels it will sell well. The R1T flagship model gets a Quad-Motor AWD system that pumps out 835-hp from its 128.9 kWh battery pack. Those 4 electric motors enable the truck to sprint to 60 mph takes just 3.3 seconds, while permitting an EPA-rated 314 miles of range. This is a super-quick time even for a sports car, a feat that is made more spectacular when you hear that the pickup has 14.9 inches of ground clearance and is capable of towing up to 11,000 lbs.
Inside, the R1T is superbly equipped and boasts ambiance and materials that make it feel like a luxury vehicle. It would be even better if the Rivian was compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and offered its large touchscreen with physical buttons for controlling simple features like the adjustment of the rearview mirrors. Overall, however, the R1T delivers more positives than negatives. One feature we particularly compliment is the special compartment built into the side of the R1T, right behind the rearmost doors that extend the entire width of the truck.
No 1. FORD F-150 LIGHTNING
- Price: $59,474 (XLT spec)
- Range: 320 miles
- Power: 580-hp
- Towing Capacity: 10,000 pounds
The world’s biggest-selling truck is now available as an EV. The F-150 Lightning enters this threesome with the lowest price and the highest customer appeal. Ford offers the Lightning with two different battery packs: the $51,974 “Pro” spec offers a 98.0 kWh unit that delivers an EPA-rated range of 230 miles while the $59,474 “XLT” spec delivers a 131.0 kWh setup with up to 320 miles of driving range. Lightning EVs with the smaller pack generates 452-hp, while the larger pack produces 580 horses. That setup will jump to 60-mph in around 4.1 seconds and delivers a respectable towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds.
To save on cost, stylists gave the F-150 Lightning’s exterior and interior designs heavy doses of penmanship and materials from the current gasoline-powered model. Certain features, however, such as the front light bar, are unique to the Lightning. Although to be bluntly honest, the truck’s plasticky interior feels underwhelming in the $92,019 Platinum spec. One of the most impressive features of the Lightning is its 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro setup which can power your house in case of power failure. This feature is very useful, especially in the southern states for hurricane season, or to quickly deal with a power outage that may occur. Along the same line, the Lightning also features multiple power outlets that can power a mix of tools and home appliances.
In contrast to the Rivian’s eye-opening bespoke compartment design, the F-150 Lightning also features a cavernous frunk with 14.1 cu-ft of sealed space. Ford says this is the largest sealed front trunk of any electric pickup and we believe them.
The Hummer EV is definitely a fun machine with its 1,000-hp and WTF mode. But with a price north of $110,000, making it nearly twice the price of the Ford, we feel it’s just too much green mail for the car. To be honest it was a toss-up between the F-150 Lightning and the R1T as to which EV came out on top. Both offer great value and performance, but at the end of the day, even though the Rivian offers great performance, unique features and the biggest towing capacity, we leaned towards the Ford because it was $23,000 cheaper, offers a great total EV package, and has greater mainstream appeal. When the Tesla Cybertruck appears, we will re-evaluate this list. Stay tuned.