Perhaps out of an interest to keep Tesla in the news, Elon Musk suggested yesterday that his company might build an electric pickup truck that would compete with Ford’s F-150 in the next 5 years. To that I say “I’ll be the blue guy,” a sarcastic way of saying “Don’t hold your breath.”
Here’s why I think the notion of a Tesla pickup in 5 years is beyond fanciful.
Via Motors recently announced plans to introduce an electric-powered GM-based pickup truck at this month’s North American International Auto Show, being held in Detroit. Boasting potential fuel economy of 100mpg, the truck is what is being called an extended-range electric vehicle, or eREV, for short.
There are a wide range electric conversion options for truck owners interested in going full electric. Here are the basics:
Truck type: Until recently, smaller trucks were preferred over their larger cousins due to weight issues, but advances in battery technology had enabled even full-size drivers to take advantage of an completely emissions-free ride.
Battery Options: Inexpensive conversions typically use lead acid or absorption glass mat (AGM) batteries – just like the battery under your truck’s hood right now. It’s not uncommon for amateur conversions to fill the truck bed with as many as two dozen 6 or 12 volt lead-acid or AGM batteries to go full electric. If you want to preserve your pickup bed for hauling (go figure), batteries can also be located in the passenger compartment, under the hood, or anywhere you can make them fit.
If money is no object, then nickel / metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which are identical to those used in vehicles like the Toyota Prius, can be used for conversions. If money is really no object (and that’s not just an expression), then ultra-high end lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries can be used. Both Li-ion and NiMH batteries may require special cooling systems, but they are lighter than lead-acid and AGM batteries and take up far less room in a typical conversion.