Commercial Electric Pickup Truck Conversions
Not everyone is comfortable hacking together their own custom electric pickup truck conversion. The technology used in this type of vehicle is often unfamiliar to even the most dedicated gearhead. It can also take a lot of time, garage space, money, and trial and error to accomplish…items not always in plentiful supply for people who lead busy lives.
Fortunately, there are a number of companies that now offer turnkey electric conversions directed at pickup truck owners. Both the United States and Canada have seen an explosion of entrepreneurs tuned into the electric vehicle movement. These organizations offer professional installations of a complete electric driveline, along with service plans and warranties to help preserve peace of mind while tooling down the highway.
Rapid Electric Vehicles Technologies (REV) is based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They are focused on both individual and fleet conversions of the Ford F-150 full-size pickup truck, the Ford Ranger compact truck and the Ford Escape SUV. The F-150 is classified as a plug-in hybrid because the company leaves the original gasoline engine as-is and adds an electric motor powered by a lithium battery. This gives the truck a 40 mile range on a single charge. What’s more, the battery itself can be charged by either the truck’s gas-powered motor or regenerative braking.
The Ford Ranger / Escape electric platform is a pure electric conversion, which entails removing all mechanicals associated with the original engine. This means that REV strips out more than 900 parts, including fuel lines, the radiator, and the exhaust system, and replaces it with an electric motor and charging system that has less than 10 moving components. This represents an incredible simplification of the truck’s running gear. The compact pickup or SUV has a top speed of 105 miles per hour with its new electric motor, and it can drive for 125 miles between charges. Each charge requires between 2.5 and 5 hours, with the fastest charging times resulting from the use of a 220 volt outlet.
REV offers the original Ford warranty on any vehicle it converts, and it also guarantees its battery packs for up to 3 years of use. None of the safety equipment originally included with the trucks is touched or altered in any way, and REV claims that their redistribution of weight from the front to the lower middle of the vehicles actually improves handling and lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity.
Rapid Electric Vehicles Technologies is just one of a number of vehicle conversion outfits popping up all over the continent. Hybrid Electric Vehicle Technologies offers a similar F-150-based product, although the range of the electric-powered drivetrain is restricted to 15 miles. Ampmobile Conversions takes a case-by-case approach to converting individual cars and trucks, and are located in North Carolina.
While electric conversion might not be for everyone (and no one is converting Tundras yet), it is clear that the technology exists to produce a pure, commercially viable electric pickup that doesn’t sacrifice utility or capability for the sake of fuel mileage. While it may not be inexpensive to switch over from gasoline to electricity in your vehicle, the long term benefits of unshackling from fossil fuels are hard to deny both in terms of cost and environmental impact.
Let’s go Toyota – we want to see what you come up with!
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Filed Under: Tundra Hybrid