Historically, electric motors have not been a good fit for the American work horse, the pickup.
Electric trucks were available at the dawn of the auto industry and more recently from General Motors and Ford Motor Co. in the late 1990s as the companies worked to comply with California's zero-emissions regulations.
Chevrolet's S-10 Electric and Ford's Ranger EV were limited in speed and range, and their cargo-hauling capabilities were diminished in part because they had to lug heavy battery packs. Today's advanced technology has greatly improved all facets of performance on the coming wave of electric pickups from Rivian, Tesla, Ford, GM and others.
But some issues remain: With the possible exception of the uniquely styled Tesla Cybertruck, pickups are aerodynamically inefficient, meaning it takes a lot of energy to move them. That affects driving range. A battery pack can and often does weigh more than a conventional internal-combustion engine, transmission and drive axle. The battery pack alone in a Tesla Model S, for example, weighs 1,200 pounds, vs. about 675 pounds for a Ford EcoBoost V-6 engine and 10-speed automatic transmission.
The last generation of electric pickups was pitched mainly to fleet buyers, although small numbers were leased to environmentally minded consumers. The new trucks are aimed at a different audience.
"Initial EV truck sales will inherently go to buyers willing to make the changes necessary for an EV lifestyle," IHS Markit analyst Stephanie Brinley said. "Buyers who are skeptical and not interested in making the switch to an EV truck won't be swayed only by design. For them, it will take time and seeing the product prove themselves out. Plus, Rivian and Tesla will also have more traditional choices from Ford and GM to compete with as well."
Here's a look at two electrified pickups of the past.