I think it's possible they will produce them. Depends on too many factors to know. Ford announcing this week that they're pumping $500 million into Rivian will certainly help too.
I do think there's a market for hybrid pickups, and am surprised that none of the major manufactures have come out with them yet. The pickup platform has plenty of space for batteries, and the instant torque of electric motors make them a great choice for a vehicle that will, in theory, need torque more that cars do, so they can haul heavy loads. Pickups also tend to get worse fuel economy than cars do, and hybrid/electric powertrains would help not only users save money at the pump, but also auto manufacturers meet increasingly stringent CAFE standards for their brands. Pickups tend to be some of their best sellers right now, so improving economy of said workhorses could only help them.
That being said, I'm not as sure that fully electric pickups will be viable for a while. While it might seem fleet managers would love the potential fuel savings, few are going to want to risk having them run out of charge and have to be towed. For individual users, a fully electric pickup or SUV may be fine for a soccer mom or commuter, which will be the majority of buyers. But few who uses it as a work truck or serious off roader will want to risk going somewhere with no charging infrastructure.
For the purposes of discussion, and speaking of off roaders, this does pose an interesting idea for Rivian: perhaps an optional solar charger with large panels, that could be deployed to get an emergency charge into the battery?
In reality though, this isn't a practical solution. Here’s why:
A Tesla Model 3 with a 50 kWh (kilo Watt hour) battery theoretically has a 220-mile range, if driven with a light foot on smooth roads. 220 miles / 50 kWh = 4.4, meaning it gets about 4.4 miles of driving per kWh of charge. Let’s theorize a pickup with the same 50 kWh battery will get a 150-mile range since it’s much heavier. This means 3 miles of driving per kWh on smooth level roads, probably 1/3 that if under heavy load, such as off-roading, so we’ll assume 1 mile per kWh.
Let’s further assume the off-roader is 5 miles outside of town, or some place where they can connect to an electric vehicle charger. In order to get enough juice into the battery to get back to civilization, this means they’d need to get 5 kWh into the battery to get home.
A 250 watt solar panel measures about 5.5 x 3.25 feet (Too big to be practical in a car, but would fit in the bed of a pickup), and puts out 250 watts in full sun per hour. This means 4 hours of sun will produce 4hx250W= 1 kWh. To get to 5kWh with 1 panel you’d have to charge 4x5= 20 hours! As the sun doesn’t shine for a full 20 hours, you’d have to sit there and let your vehicle charge for at least 2 days, perhaps longer if you off road in areas with more dilute sunlight due to cloud cover or whatever.
Even if you had two solar panels, under optimum conditions, it’d still take at least a day to get 5kWh into your electric off road truck, and that’s just not very practical. Doesn’t mean Rivian (or an aftermarket manufacturer) couldn’t produce and sell something like this, but very few people would buy it.
Thinking about this further, I suppose a more practical solution would be bring along a gas-powered generator, and use that to charge the batteries. An 8KW generator is not that expensive, and should charge the eV in far less time.
At any rate, I'd certainly buy a hybrid gas or diesel electric pickup, as the internal combustion engine would be there for backup. But because I do use my truck rurally and off road, I don't see an all electric pickup in my future any time soon.
For a pickup, I think a hybrid or electric can be a good idea. One of the Big 3 was playing with a full-size electric/hybrid, but I don't remember which or what happened with it.
For off-road, specifically, and for general "oh, crud" running out of gas, getting a charge in the middle of nowhere isn't feasible. One thing electric doesn't have yet is the ability to lug "a gallon of electricity" to where you need it in an emergency, including siphoning from other vehicles in the group.
Related to above is range, and it's also one of the reasons @MrsRojhan and I haven't looked seriously at an all-electric vehicle. You can't just stop for ~5 minutes and fill the tank. Even with charging stations, you are talking at least 20 minutes just to get going again (50% charge) up to ~80 minutes or so for a full charge. There may be the same/similar concern for fleet use. Using @Omicron's estimate of 1kwh per mile and 5kwh needed to get back to civilization, even if a car-battery-to-electric-adapter existed you'd still need over 4 hours to charge assuming you could sustain and accept a 100A charge rate.
As an "off pavement" (not off road) vehicle, I'd really like to see a hybrid or full electric. The amount of control that individual, high-torque, motors give at each wheel is a game changer for safety, stability, and traction.
I think they will make it however, I'm not sure how they would handle off-road has to be a bit heavy. Also as we all know water and electronics don't mix so if that battery and components get wet I think it will end your day pretty fast. On road yes, off-road I can't see any kind of semi deep water crossing where that battery might get submerged for any length of time. Also Like Rojhan said above there is no way to recharge it out in the woods etc... Maybe solar but that would probably take days with the size of panel you would want to carry and even a generator might take a while as well?
I know electrics are coming full bore but I for one am not ready to give up Piston Power! I'm old school piston pumping loud exhaust let me tweak/modify to the end of my checkbook ARGH ARGH ARGH. My boys (30 and 35) are embracing the electro mantra especially after their collage days and full baptism into the Millenial realm even though they were raised in dads garage of muscle cars (last one was 69 GTO Judge) and dune buggy projects and years of Dream Cruises and trails and eating dirt, sand and mud. We all had a blast but it didn't click for them. Future tunners are programmers who will try and figure out on how to get more amps to the motors vs. mechanics getting down and dirty building motors and transmitions to go faster. I know it has been proven that the electrics (Tesla) are spanking high dollar Pro Street machines but I still love getting my hands into the bowls of fuel burning engines. I will go kicking and screaming before I give up Piston Power and step foot in a self driving auto and hope I goto the beyond before that happens. Just Sayin. The Riven does look good though.
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