The Eight best Electric utes heading to Australia
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- LDV T60
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If you think that a battery-powered utility truck (or "pickup truck", if you're from the US of A) couldn't possibly have the power and durability of a similar ute powered by petrol or diesel, all-electric trucks may soon have you changing your mind.
Billions has been spent on the research and development of full-size electric trucks by various companies, and a whole host of new electric trucks will be coming out over the next few years.
Although there are currently no commercially available electric trucks for sale in Australia, expect that situation to change as Electric Vehicles (EVs) increase in popularity and start to flood the marketplace. Obviously, the demand for vehicles of this size and shape is enormous, particularly in Australia, so vehicle makers know they have to provide electrified answers.
Below is a list of some of the most exciting EV trucks that are coming in the near future, although there's no certainty that every model - we're looking at you, Neuron EV T-One, which seems to be some kind of vaporware - will go into production.
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Expected to come in roughly a half size down from the current HiLux with a 5070mm length and a 3350mm weelbase, a production ute based on this EPU concept is expected for 2026. Interestingly, it will be Toyota's first monocoque-based utility, and is expected to run alongside the HiLux for some time. At its reveal it was shown in left-hand drive form, perhaps suggesting it will be focused on the US market, where it would compete with utes like the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
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The brand has released precious few details on what will power it, although it is expected to be on a next-generation platform. As it could be a perfect electric companion to Toyota's combustion range, it's one we'll be keeping a close eye on.
GMC Hummer EV
The electric vehicle truck with the greatest 4x4 off-road capability might be the GMC Hummer EV pickup, which comes packing a road-busting 745kW tri-motor powertrain and can get from zero to 100km/h in around three seconds. The Edition 1 pickup has already begun delivery in the US, with more versions arriving this year, the cheapest trim level costs $US84,650 or it’s $US106,645 for a three-motor version.Yes, it does sound eye-wateringly expensive, but the thing does have an incredible diagonal ‘crab walk’ function.
The Amazon and Ford-backed EV start-up Rivian has made major waves with its R1T, an electric double-cab ute that's also had a right-hand-drive version developed, meaning it's highly likely to find it's way to Australia eventually. The R1T ute and the similar R1S SUV are on sale in the US now, with the R1T impressing with its ability to do a standing-still "tank turn" - a manoeuvre sure to come in handy when in an off-road pickle.
Ford F-150 Electric
The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pickup truck in America - and has, at times, been the biggest selling vehicle of any kind in the world - so it will be interesting to see how consumers react now the F-150 Electric has begun deliveries in the US. Currently there are two trim levels: Standard Range (outputs of 337kW/1050Nm and estimated range of 370km) and Extended Range (outputs of 433kW/1050Nm and estimated range of 483km); payload for both is 1014kg. Unfortunately there are no firm plans for a local launch, yet.
The as-yet-unnamed BYD ute has been spotted in the wild several times and due to the brand's success in marketing its Atto 3 SUV, Dolphin hatchback, and Seal Sedan, it no doubt cannot wait to get its hands on an electrified ute offering. While details on the ute are also yet to be confirmed, it looks as though it won't be a purely electric offering after all, and will instead use BYD's DM-i PHEV drivetrain, which in existing Chinese-market cars pairs a 1.5-litre turbo engine with electric motors on both axles, assisted by a relatively large battery. This should give it a long driving range (one of the most challenging aspects of an electric ute) with the ability to go zero emissions for the day-to-day commute. BYD's local division is promising the ute will be built for Australian conditions and will be more cost effective than a purely electric solution.
Kia electric ute
The hotly anticpated Kia ute won't just be available with a diesel powertrain, but there will be what the brand has referred to as a 'dedicated electric' model too, although whether it will carry the same nameplate remains to be seen.
Expect to find out more, with the ute supposedly to be revealed during the course of 2024, but there's no doubt Australia will be a key market for the brand's first venture into ute territory.
GWM Cannon EV
The GWM ute has an electric spin-off on the market in China, sporting up to 450km of driving range. The brand's local division has said it is "Keen as mustard to get that car if we can" and that it was keen to get its hands on the electric version even if it didn't initially sell in big numbers. A significant facelift is on the way, so it might not be until the popular cheap ute's update until we see it Down Under
Revealed at the 2023 Shanghai Motor Show, the GST is expected to be the successor to the eT60, on a new electric platform and finally with 4x4 capability. Expect a significantly larger truck, with leaked specs having the GST measuring in at 5680mm long, and the concept sports an all-new futuristic styling direction, too.
Expect more information on LDV's next-generation ute offering over the course of 2022, but the concept version promises next-generation batteries with a claimed range of 1000km. It's anyones guess how watered down these specs might get for the production version.
Electric utes not coming to Australia
There are some famous electric utes or pickups which aren't heading Down Under, either because they won't be built in right-hand drive, or because they won't pass local regulations.
While its angular, sci-fi stylings have the potential to see it laughed off the road, there's no denying tht Tesla has developed a space-ute that can do the job - and then some. Three models have been announced - Rear-Wheel-Drive (RWD), dual-motor All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) and tri-motor AWD - with estimated ranges between 400 and 800 kilometres, depending on the model.
The four-door polygonal electric truck seemingly won't make it to Australia with the order button for the Cybertruck being removed from the Tesla Australia website in May 2022. The Cybertruck will supposedly land in American customer hands over the course of 2024 - well over a year late.
Ironically, the Endurance may not be long for this world after the once-promising Lordstown Motors started running into financial troubles as it attempted to get its first vehicle, a mid-size pick-up truck, off the ground. Having built just a handful of vehicles in 2022, the company filed for bankruptcy in June of 2023. With a completed vehicle on its hands and the former founder buying the remaining assets its future is up in the air, but don't expect to see this American start-up hit Australian shores any time soon.