Charged up work horses

From the December 2023 print edition

For 2023, electric trucks and vans are no longer a future proposition.

This market is being fast populated by models that appeal to consumers – and business in particular. As for the size of this market, according to the World Economic Forum, demand for urban last-mile delivery is expected to grow by 78 per cent by 2030, leading to a 36 per cent increase in electric delivery vehicles in the world’s top 100 cities. From a service vehicle standpoint, the rise of electric offers some sharp business opportunities. Electric trucks run all day and charge all night. The electricity cost per kilometre versus gasoline is a fraction of your current fuel expense.

Mercedes e-Sprinter
On the heals of the Ford Transit we have the other big van player – Mercedes launching its own electric

van. The all-new 2024 eSprinter will arrive in Canada in the second half of 2023. This long cargo van comes with a high roof. It is equipped with the largest battery available, which has a usable capacity of 113Kwh. The load capacity is 495 cubic feet, while the GVWR is 9,500lbs. The electric range, according to Mercedes testing, will be up to 400km (248 miles). The simulated range based on a city cycle will be up to 500km (311 miles). From the middle of this decade, Mercedes-Benz Vans will implement the next stage of its electrification strategy with VAN.EA (MB Vans Electric Architecture): From 2025 on, all new models will be all-electric.

At the New York Auto Show RAM showed off its REV pickup truck. Last of the Detroit Three to introduce an electric pickup, it seems the best might have been left to last. In range alone the REV is estimated to offer over 800km (500 miles) of range with the optional 229Kwh battery pack. Other targeted performance figures include a 0-100km/h time of 4.4 seconds, 654hp and 620lbs-ft. of torque. Up to 6,350kg (14,000lbs) towing and a maximum payload capacity of 1,225kg (2,700lbs). The REV is built on a unique chassis and is powered by dual 250-kilowatt electric drive modules. This truck can also send power to a home during a storm, or run the power at a camp or jobsite. An on-board power panel in the bed can provide up to 7.2kW while an available on-board power panel in the frunk provides up to 3.6kW.

GM’s BrightDrop
A home-grown Canadian success story is taking place in Ingersoll, Ontario. The CAMI auto plant, that has produced a variety of GM vehicles over the past 40 years, has been retooled and relaunched as the home factory of BrightDrop. Producing the EV600 — an electric light commercial vehicle purpose-built for the delivery of goods and services. Powered by the Ultium battery system, the EV600 has an estimated range of up to 402km (250 miles) on a full charge. The body of the EV600 is purposely square to offer a usable 600 cubic feet of cargo area. It is rated at a GVWR of less than 10,000lbs. On the heels of the EV 600 (which has already been sold to companies like DHL and FedEx) comes a smaller version of the EV 600. The EV410 has more than 400 cubic feet of cargo area and a shorter wheelbase. In fact, the EV410 will fit in a standard parking space. You may have already heard of some of the other electric vans and trucks from the likes of Rivan, Lordstown motors, Canoo, and of course, Tesla. If anything, this just shows off the large wave of product that is still to come. However, as of today, real purchase options do exist.

Ford Lightning
Ford was first off the mark, and it’s Lightning has been on sale since last year. Note that Ford pegged its work level F-150 Lightning, (Pro Series) as it’s volume seller – at the lowest price-point. They are encouraging fleet sales. Today, the F-150 Lightning maximum available payload capacity has increased from original targets. Properly equipped F-150 Lightning pickups can now haul an extra 107kg (235lbs) for a total 1,014kg (2,235lbs) of maximum hauling capability. With the smaller 98.0-kWh battery, Ford claims a driving range of 370km (230 miles) per charge. Upgrade to the larger 131.0kWh pack and it boosts the driving range to 514km (320 miles). This extended-range battery pack produces 580hp. The standard-range battery delivers 452hp. Both packs can produce 775lbs-ft of torque, more than any other F-150 pickup ever.

Ford E-Transit
Ford says the E-Transit is the only all-electric cargo van available in eight different configurations, including three roof heights and three body lengths, plus cutaway and chassis cab versions. The E-Transit offers the same interior cargo dimensions and same mounting points as Ford Transit. So, moving existing racks and shelving from your old Transit to a new E-Transit should be easy. Other built-for-business features on E-Transit include optional Pro Power Onboard, which provides up to 2.4Kw of power for customers to transform the vehicle into a mobile generator.

Chevy Silverado EV
Unlike the Ford F-150 Lightning, which shares many of its body panels with its gas-fed counterpart, the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV looks almost nothing like the regular Silverado. The all-wheel-drive Silverado EV uses GM’s Ultium electric vehicle components, giving it a manufacturer-estimated 650km (400 miles) on a full charge. There is also a Silverado EV Work Truck edition. At the same time, GMC has released the Hummer EV, in both SUV and truck body styles. This vehicle is not aimed at the work market – however, it’s also built on the Ultium platform, and much of what the Hummer has could migrate to other GM electric cars, trucks and vans.