Should Tesla build an electric Pickup Truck ? Add your idea of how you would use it below.
We would haul odd stuff to and from work and haul 3 horses in a trailer.
They've already said they're planning to, but it will be several years out. I was arguing with someone who hates Tesla on the electric cars Facebook group. He was saying how I underestimate how people use work trucks, and that it would need a Megawatt-hour sized battery to be useful. There are very different types of businesses that use trucks for different things.
I was running through my mind all of the local businesses who don't tow things, but they drive trucks around all day in town (plumbing, HVAC, electricians, etc.), just to have a truck bed or the toolboxes in the back. Last time I flew out of an airport, I was looking down and saw several trucks down there around the gates and runways. I thought, "Those trucks never leave this airport. They don't need a lot of range and could save a lot on fuel cost and would always be near their chargers." That is many trucks times a lot of airports. I have a friend who is in the law sprinkler business and used to do landscape and mowing. He is totally excited for an electric truck, because fuel cost is a huge thing for them. They use the truck bed and usually tow around a small trailer with a riding mower in it.
And I obviously meant "lawn sprinkler", not "law sprinkler".
Model S platform with rear wheel drive and Model X platform has four wheel drive. These can be used at many car bodies in the future and there would be many versions with time. Both pick-up and station wagon I think.
People often question me about the power of electric vehicles. I usually mention the worlds largest earth movers are powered by electric motors as are locomotives which move all the freight on trains.
An electric pickup would be easy.
They certainly can, but it does suck more power, which hurts range. That's why locomotives use electric motors that are driven by onboard generators running on diesel. The motors are perfect, but they need to carry a lot of fuel to run them that long.
My Brother would love for Tesla Motors to convert his Ford F-150 SuperCrew to full electric power. He just got solar power installed on the house and is anxious to use it to the max.
He imagines that given the ground clearance of the truck frame, and increased overall length compared to Tesla Model S, it could accommodate two battery packs end to end along the length of the truck, as well as being stacked two high. Basically giving the truck the equivalent of four battery packs to carry.
The front hood, without an engine in the bay, would make for immense storage as a gigantic frunk. The absence of the engine and its accessories would also lower the curb weight of the frame. So the added weight of the batteries would not be too much for the truck to handle. He would want it to be dual motor all wheel drive though.
Range would not be the same as on a Tesla Motors vehicle due to the immense weight, and horrible comparative coefficient of drag. But he believes it would still greatly outdistance the gasoline powered version. He could go from Los Angeles to El Paso without stopping. Potentially even make it from Los Angeles to the farm in Mississippi on a single charge.
Should Tesla Motors build a pickup truck? Yes. My Brother says that configuration would easily be worth every dime of $100,000 and it would sell out. Anyone who needs the range, and did the math for how much they spend on fuel, would be convinced immediately.
Interesting question. The short answer is, yes, they should. But the bigger question is when should they build it?
Truck owners fall into 3 categories "Weekend warriors", "Offroaders", "Workhorses" (according to an article I just read) each with their own unique use cases that may not be well suited for electric vehicles given today's battery tech.
Thought provoking read:
regen: Thanks for linking to that article! It was indeed a good read.
The author covered the points very well. I think that there are some of his points that should be addressed a bit more clearly though. Let's start with his last one...
"Were I working at Tesla in an advisory position right now, I would advise against a pickup truck offering. Instead, I would put the focus on a usable, versatile, and tow-enabled SUV. This would make far more sense from a marketing and engineering standpoint and could become the starting point for a later pickup truck offering."
Well, whaddayaknow... He just happens to be in luck, because that is exactly what Tesla Motors is doing. Strange that in an article dated April 6, 2014 he doesn't mention the Tesla Model X at all. I mean, it was first revealed two years ago. Any pickup truck from Tesla is coming later: after the Model X, after the Model E, likely after other variants such as a sportwagon or van as well.
Let's look at proposed features:
"Extended and four-door cab offerings"
There will be only be a crewcab design, all others are a waste.
"Cargo bed size of 5.5 feet with option for 7 feet"
The Ford F-150 SuperCrew offers a 6.5 foot long bed, that will be fine on the Tesla.
"Towing capacity of about 10,000 pounds"
No reason to release the vehicle if it can't at least match this. My guess is that it will surpass it by 50%, or it won't be released.
"Payload capacity of 1/2 ton to 3,000 pounds"
Guaranteed. Easily done. What's the point of building a truck at all if you can't manage this basic requirement?
Given. This will be standard issue on every single one that rolls off the line. Lessons learned from the Model X will make it superb.
"Driving range, under load, of at least 150 miles"
Ooh, sneaky! That 'under load' seems like a gauntlet being cast. Done, and done. Cum git sum. I'll explain how later.
"Conventional styling and appeal"
Uh... No. Sorry. This ain't gonna happen. It ain't gonna look like a Ford F-150 or a Toyota Tundra. It will look like a Tesla. That means it will be windswept, contoured, and prettier than anything else on the road. Oh, it'll still have a big hood, four doors, and the pickup bed. Beyond that, it will be entirely different, with significantly less faux chrome on the standard version. But don't worry, the interior will have a plethora of storage bins, cup holders, map pockets and the like. It just won't have the big, dividing wall that holds a shifter in the center of the cabin.
And now, the Challenges...
"For starters, the current powertrain in the Model S would not be sufficient. If put under load, towing a trailer for example, and with the aerodynamics of a pickup, the current powertrain would be lucky to achieve half the range required."
He went on to compare Tesla Motors work to Via Motors 'extended range' trucks... Yeah. Whatever.
Anyway... The soonest we would see an introduction of a pickup truck by Tesla Motors would be 2020. By that time, the Model X four-wheel drive system would have been in development at least eight years, and would have matured. So the dual motor system would be standard on the pickups -- all of them. It would be engineered with towing, performance, and efficiency in mind for the truck.
I expect this vehicle will have a top speed that is electronically limited to 100 mph, or whatever it takes to best the 1/4 mile trap speed of its competitors... With all the torque down low and throughout the power-band, this would make for unique performance. 0-60 would smoke everyone else. In particular, even when under load, this truck would pull from 60 MPH to 90 MPH faster than any other truck under the sun. So you'd have fun in the passing lane, just as you do today with the Model S. Beyond that, though it would be about the same weight as a well optioned Ford F-150, it would have the towing capacity of an F-350 or F450 instead.
Why? Because Elon Musk believes in getting attention through overkill. That's why.
As mentioned above, the aerodynamics of a Tesla Pickup Truck (screw it, we'll call it Model P) would be far more slippery than any other company's light truck. You cannot presume that a company that worked so hard to drop the coefficient of drag on a 5-7 passenger sedan, and a 7 passenger SUV, would do any less for a pickup truck. Through hard work and determination, Tesla will somehow manage to achieve an industry low coefficient of drag, under 0.35 at least, on their pickup truck. Just watch.
Back to range concerns now... The 85 kWh battery pack in the Tesla Model S holds something like 7,000 lithium ion cells. With incremental improvements in battery technology, even estimated at a mere 8% improvement per year, that quantity of cells should be able to hold 170 kWh of charge by 2020. Given the longer wheelbase of a crew cab pickup, Tesla would likely put a larger pack on the truck. I'm thinking at least 10,000 cells instead. But also, seeing as there is more space underneath a pickup truck frame than a passenger car, you could double up the packs, stacking them on top of each other, yielding 20,000 cell capacity. Conservatively speaking, that would make for 240-480 kWh as the battery capacity of this truck. That's without even going for the optional third battery pack, mounted vertically in the cabin wall behind the rear seats.
What I'm saying here is... 150 miles under load? HA! Think more like 300 miles, buddy.
But how much will it cost?
"Another big roadblock is going to be the price tag. In order to compete with the F-150 and its brethren, the Tesla Truck would need to sell at around the $30,000-$40,000 mark at entry-level."
This will not be an entry level truck. It will fall under the heading of 'Workhorse'. And it will cost more -- a lot more.
It will be sold and marketed to the same people who don't balk at the price point of a Class 4 work truck. The same guys who switched to diesel over gasoline for the sake of range, reliability, and extra 'oomph'. Tesla Motors will do the same with their Model P as they did with Model S. They will will start on the high end of the pickup truck market, and work their way down, eventually. Going the other way around would not be feasible at all.
So it is gonna be around $75,000 to start, with the possibility for ridiculous options that push it to $100,000. Remember, it doesn't have to sell 650,000 units. It'll do great to move a solid 50,000 per year at this price range. Lower cost trucks will come later.
The contractor who put up the 1st NW SCs wished for Tesla trucks so he could expand his range. Fuel costs are too high for him to truck his crews and tools to jobs much beyond his home base. I assume this is a common situation.
An electric truck is an inevitable development, but it is best to focus one's attention on the current model lineup to increase market-wide saturation and public awareness of the actual reality and viability of fully electric powered transportation, plus, the upcoming cross-over utility vehicle, the Model X, should address pretty much all but the most trade-oriented needs of the average consumer.
Thanks, Red Sage, for mentioning my article, despite your condescension towards my opinion. You conveniently ignored one HUGE point I made:
That truck, under load, climbing a hill, with the unpredictable aerodynamics of a trailer will require a LOT of power to get to where it's going (assuming 150 miles of range minimum). Way more than you seem to think.
Further, that truck, without conventional styling, will be extremely limited in sales. There's a reason that Toyota updated the design on the Tundra to make it more mainstream with the Detroit 3. Big, tough, capable looks are a huge part of a truck's appeal. Like it or not. Again, something I said that you ignored.
I didn't mention the Model X because it should be obvious to anyone reading a website titled Teslarati that this is exactly what Tesla is doing. I suspect that delays in the X's design are largely due to towing concerns, in fact. That was a point for a different discussion, so it wasn't worth including in an article whose point was discussion of a Tesla Truck.
I would suggest that you go back and re-consider your power requirements to move 10,000 pounds of cargo/trailer up a hill when aerodynamics cannot be factored in. There's a reason the Ford F-150 EcoBoost, under load, returns sub-10mpg numbers.
One more point: you also ignored my points about undercarriage and battery damage on questionable terrain. Very important and interesting that you didn't address that given Tesla's recent issues.
Aaron, I did enjoy your article. I really did. I just see the issue from a different perspective. I don't mean to condescend. Trust that if I did, it would be far worse.
That said, you didn't mention the Model X at all, and I rightly called you on that omission -- specifically because you noted Tesla Motors should first concentrate on an SUV, when they are already doing that. Saying now that you left out the Model X on purpose, seems rather odd. Had you merely noted it as a possible option for the SUV segment, I would not have contested this point, as it makes perfect sense. The words, "...like the Model X...", would have sufficed.
Your styling point, as others, is well thought out. I did mention it above, when I quoted you in bold: "Conventional styling and appeal".. I simply disagree with you as all. Once again, if Tesla intended to jump into deep water with a pickup truck, as Toyota did, what you say would have more weight. But they won't. They will go high end, with unique styling, and set a place for themselves at a separate table.
I mentioned above that the Tesla Model P would fall under your own 'Workhorse' definition. So no, it would not be designed for offroading. There is no need for their first pickup to be all things to all comers. An offroad, hearty, Baja-run version will come later. Just watch.
And now towing... I am under the impression that numbers for horsepower and torque are universally equivalent. It seems you are arguing that only the numbers generated by internal combustion engine vehicles are trustworthy, when it comes to towing capacity and range for light trucks. OK. I'm sure that a lot of passenger car fans felt the same before getting their doors blown off by a Tesla Model S.
I mentioned above that a Tesla pickup would have a lower top speed than their other vehicles. I said it would be set up for passing at highway speeds, even while towing. No, I may not have specifically stated the gearing would be set up primarily for towing. My mistake was in presuming my other statements made it rather obvious this Tesla vehicle would be fit for the task. I apologize for that apparent omission on my part.
allusion, pls keep the pix from blowing open the page. Include width="600" in your code.
atiqurrahman113 posts are spam bot replies. Flag them.
There is nothing a gas or diesel engine can do that an electric motor built for that specific purpose and with adequate battery power and capacity could not do better . . . because it will hands down.
That truck looks good !
It is an artists' rendering, modified from a promo photo of the Tesla Model X. I like it, mostly. I would take out the back seat though. The world needs a new Ranchero/El Camino. ;-)
McGov, you're right about an ev doing it better - if it has an adequate battery.
But I get concerned when an answer involves having 4 times the battery pack - which adds over $60,000 to the price.
Actually, smaller batteries might work out better for trucks than for cars because most trucks are used locally and for commutes, so a range of even only 100 miles is likely enough for most of them.
The problem, though, would be to convince people to buy expensive electric trucks with a short range, even though that might actually be practical for them.
Having as much access to fast charging as gas cars do to fuel would change that equation.
Diesel-electrics, with plug-n capability good for maybe 25-50% of a day's local use, will be a much easier sell to truck buyers and they are coming soon.
If and when there is as much access to fast charging electrical station as there is to gas stations, that equation will change, along with everything of course.
Larger airports already use electric carts as trams to move passengers from one terminal to the next. I'm sure a lot of the vehicles that are on the tarmac are electrically powered as well. So the infrastructure is definitely in place so that a relatively short range pickup truck platform could be used in such closed environments. College campuses and military bases could use such a vehicle as well.
Even so, you still must start with the high end. Shoot for the stars, settle for the Moon, or Mars. Detractors and naysayers laugh at electric carts used in those applications, saying that is all they are good for... On a warehouse floor, within a few hundred yards of an outlet, always plugged in overnight... No exhaust fumes in the building while using fork lifts and material handlers... They are fine with that.
But these guys seem to really demand the ability to tow a boat to man-made lakes and reservoirs that are hundreds of miles inland, even though they may live less than twenty miles from the ocean. I don't know why. They tend to be the same guys who have always proclaimed, "There's no replacement for displacement!" Yeah. Sure. Until now.
So an electric pickup truck must meet those parameters, despite any logic based arguments to the contrary. And since it must meet them, it might as well surpass all expectations. That which can be conceived, may be achieved, and it will.
LA Port uses container truck EVs within a 50-mi radius, IIRC. They make their own. Drivers love them.
The SC contractor for WA wished for TM pickups so he could afford to bid for jobs in a wider radius, where fuel costs currently ruled him out.
@Red Sage, I do agree that a $100,000 EV Pickup (as you described for your brother, with 4 times the batteries) would exceed expectations in range etc for most users. I'm just not convinced that they'd all do the maths and decide it was worth it. It also means designing a different base to the Gen2 or Gen3.
Also for the people who need a powerful pickup and only drive 60 miles a day, saving $60k would be significant… though as @carlgo says people would need to be convinced. A series hybrid that almost never uses the generator gives the peace-of-mind, especially for people who don't look at the ICE as a complexity, but instead as a low-cost extra.
These EVs with an onboard generator may also be very appealing to people wanting power at their worksite - whether it's used often or not. I doubt Tesla would ever want to target that market, but it'll probably be a popular one.
As @carlgo says it'll take some convincing, plus lots of superchargers, to get people comfortable with going all electric. (I'd like an app to track my mileage today, to give me a good log and can use generally, but more importantly that could estimate my battery usage for my future car)
No, no it does not (need another Ranchero/El Camino), though I do credit you with having the intuitiveness to recognize that the naysayers and performance opiners are little more than closet ICE advocates in disguise desperately attempting to breed dissension by contriving manufactured EV frailties and shortcomings.
JAA: OK, maybe a Caballero then?
Sorry, I can't help it. The first car i ever drove was my Uncle George's 1972 Chevrolet El Camino SS... It was silver with black racing stripes down the hood, which also had racing tie-downs. A beautiful, fun ride.
I would love to have something of that configuration running on the Tesla Motors skateboard platform. The open bay in the back, plus the generous frunk space would make for a wonderful working man's, performance, economy car.
The Chevrolet SSX was nice, but not quite there...
No, no, NO, NO!!
this one of the most popular utility vehicles in Australia.