The eight electric utes most likely to go into production (and some that probably won’t)

the-eight-electric-utes-most-likely-to-go-into-production-(and-some-that-probably-won’t)

Rob Margeit

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It’s the newest automotive battleground, one that has the mainstream manufacturers fending off challenges from upstart start-ups in the race to electrify arguably one of the hottest segments around the world – dual-cab utes and pick-up trucks.

Critics of electric cars decry the fact that an electric ute just won’t work, citing range, towing ability and the all-round ruggedness of today’s crop of dual-cabs as traits that just don’t translate to electrification. It’s a belief even our previous government campaigned on in the 2019 Federal election.

Then Small Business minister Michaelia Cash famously uttered the words “We are going to stand by our tradies and we are going to save their utes” responding to the then opposition’s policies proposing that 50 per cent of cars on Australia’s roads would be electrified by 2030.



But, with the majority of the world’s car makers committing to phasing out petrol- and diesel-powered combustion engines from their ranges by 2035, and some as early as 2030, it’s electrification that will ultimately save the ute.

That hasn’t been lost on the mainstream, with the trickle of electric utes expected to flood in the not-too-distant future. Ford has already launched its F-150 Lightning contender on to the market and to good effect, demand outstripping supply.

General Motors will follow shortly while a host of start-ups are continuing to make waves in the segment with a swag of announcements, if not actual utes on the road. Yet.



Here then, is our by no means comprehensive list of utes and pick-up trucks that are likely to make waves in our electric vehicle future.

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It was inevitable that the U.S.’s best-selling vehicle of any kind would get an electric version. Production of the Ford F-150 Lightning got underway in Michigan in April, and such is the demand for the electric pick-up that Ford has stopped taking orders (it has 200,000 in hand already) and estimated wait times of at least a year.

The entry-level model starts below $US40,000 but it’s the dual-motor top-of-the-range Lightning grabbing all the headlines with its 420kW/1050Nm outputs and claimed 4535kg towing capacity. Range is a claimed 524km.



While Australia is set to get regular Ford F-150s by 2023, it’s unlikely we’ll be seeing electric variants any time soon, such is the demand in the U.S. for the Lightning.

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Not to be outdone, Ford’s arch-nemesis Chevrolet has confirmed its Silverado pick-up will get electrified by the middle of 2023. General Motors has already opened the order books on the Silverado EV which, in its most affordable trim, is priced at $US39,900 with its dual electric motors making a combined 380kW and 834Nm offer 644km driving range and a towing capacity of 3629kg.



The likelihood of the Silverado EV making it to Australia remains unknown, with a local General Motors spokesperson saying only, “The Silverado EV is another vehicle in the General Motors line-up that demonstrates our vision of an all-electric future, however GMSV (Australia’s General Motors Special Vehicles) is not making announcements about the new model at this stage.”

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The outlandish styling of the Tesla Cybertruck broke the internet when it was first revealed in 2019. Then, it was anticipated the space-age Cybertruck would go into production by 2021. However, delays have seen that blow out to 2023. Still, that hasn’t stopped a deluge of interest with Tesla reportedly holding around 1.25 million orders for its futuristic pick-up.



Technical details remain clouded in mystery, following Tesla’s removal of any technical and performance data from its website late last year.

As for Australia, while Tesla has been accepting deposits of $150 from Aussie hopefuls, it seems the Cybertruck won’t be making its way to our shores after all, despite online polls suggesting Australia could be the second-largest market for the Cybertruck behind only the U.S.

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Those lamenting the unlikelihood of the big guns from the U.S. winging their way to our shores, might look to LDV which has confirmed an electric version of its popular T60 dual-cab ute could be in local dealerships by the end of the year.

The LDV eT60 has already been confirmed for our neighbours in New Zealand, meaning it’s not a stretch to suggest it will make its way into local dealerships.

But, forget the headline-grabbing prodigious electric performance numbers attached to the big American electric pick-ups.



The LDV eT60 features a single electric motor with outputs of 130kW and 310Nm, a driving range of 325km and a towing capacity of just 1000kg. But, driving range is halved to around 160km when towing a load, according to data published by LDV in New Zealand.

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U.S. start-up Rivian has started production of its R1T pick-up truck that promises 550kW and 1124Nm from its four electric motor and a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.0-seconds.

And in good news for Australians, Rivian’s chief engineer Brian Gase iterated in 2019 that the brand would “have an Australian launch”. However, little news has been forthcoming in recent years.

In the U.S., the California-based Rivian claims to have around 83,000 orders for the R1T (and its R1S SUV sibling) but supply constraints, thanks to the global pandemic, have throttled back production capacity and seen Rivian posting a $AU6.4 billion loss in 2021.

But with Rivian partially-owned by Ford and Amazon, the start-up has the resources to weather the financial and supply storm.



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Chinese car giant Geely is the latest to reveal plans for an electric dual-cab ute, taking the covers off its Radar RD6 this week.

Technical details remain unknown, although Radar stated the RD6 would be capable of 600km of driving range on a single charge.

Chinese media reports suggest the RD6 will be available in both rear- and four-wheel drive with power outputs ranging between 150kW and 300kW.

A local spokesperson for Geely wouldn’t be drawn on Australian availability of the RD1, telling Drive only that “There are plans for global markets, but we can’t comment on roll-out plans and timings yet”.



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This one is in the ‘maybe’ basket but leaked reports out of the U.S suggest that the HiLux’s bigger brother, the U.S. market only Tacoma, is in line for an electric variant when the next generation rolls out in 2024.

And that opens up the prospect of an electric HiLux when the next generation launches in 2025. Reports out of the U.S. reveal that the Tacoma and HiLux are set to share Toyota’s new TNGA-F ladder-frame platform. And that means should Toyota Australia decide to offer an electric HiLux with the new generation in 2025, it would have easy access to the battery electric platform likely to underpin the next-gen Toyota Tacoma in the U.S.

As we said, this one belongs in the ‘maybe’ pile but if the demand is there for an electric version of its best-selling vehicle, Toyota will have the means to make the transition efficiently and cost-effectively.

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Another in the ‘maybe’ pile but just this week, Ford in the U.S. has filed a trademark for the Ford Ranger Lightning name, following on from earlier comments by Ford CEO Jim Farley who said, “We’re already pushing dirt down in Blue Oval City in Tennessee for another electric pickup truck that’s different than [the F-150 Lightning]”.

That by no means guarantees the Ranger Lightning will make it to production but with a new-generation Ranger slated for the U.S. in 2024, the prospect remains very real. Whether that translates to the Australian market remains unclear, for now. Maybe.



And not forgetting…

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A 447kW dual-cab ute with a claimed 400km of range and a $US52,000 price tag. More here.

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Scheduled for launch in 2023, the Hummer EV revives the storied nameplate with a tri-motor electric pick-up developing 619kW and an estimated 1350Nm. Range is a claimed 483km. More here.

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Slated to go into production in the second half of 2023, the Alpha Wolf looks big, but is smaller than a Toyota Camry. Driving range is claimed at around 400km. More here.

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This wildly styled pick-up looks to remain just a styling exercise following recent news the company was on the brink of financial collapse. Shame. This one looks pretty cool. More here.



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Two electric motors, all-wheel drive and a driving range of 320km. More here.

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One that definitely won’t be happening after the company confirmed in December 2020 that its much-hyped Badger pick-up would not go into production despite a $AU2.7 billion investment from General Motors. Shame, as the inevitable Nikola Tesla comparison would have been cool. More here.

Rob Margeit

Rob Margeit has been an automotive journalist for over 20 years, covering both motorsport and the car industry. Rob joined CarAdvice in 2016 after a long career at Australian Consolidated Press. Rob covers automotive news and car reviews while also writing in-depth feature articles on historically significant cars and auto manufacturers. He also loves discovering obscure models and researching their genesis and history.

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