Gas-powered pickup truck vs. electric pickup truck: Which should you buy?

Being an electric vehicle focused site, it would seem to make sense that when you’re looking for a new vehicle, you should choose an electric offering. But is that blanket advice good across the board? Does it apply to pickup trucks?

When looking at an electric pickup truck, you have to realize that none are currently available at the time of this initial publication. We’re expecting the Rivian R1T later this year, and the electric F-150 in the middle of next year. The GMC Hummer EV, in pickup truck guise, should also be available at the end of this year or early next year.

But to make a long story short, you can’t buy an electric truck today from a mainstream automaker.

Let’s use our imaginations and fast-forward a bit to the future, and let’s take a look.

Gas versus EV: Capability

When it comes to capability, expect electric trucks to perform similarly to their gas-powered equivalents. That means towing numbers that’ll match, and significant payload capability.

Nearly all of the electric trucks that we are expecting right now are the equivalent of a full size, regular duty pickup.

Unloaded, these trucks are expected to have a range between 300 and 500 miles. Rivian, one of the upstarts to the game, has said that towing can reduce that range by 50%. So while the company has tested its trucks to be capable, they likely won’t have the range of a gasoline — or diesel — powered pickup truck.

Gas versus EV: Performance

Like most electric cars, electric trucks will have straight-line performance. In the United States, it seems that for an electric vehicle to be successful it has to have acceleration as fast as a sports car.

GMC is claiming the Hummer EV will hit 60 mph in 3 seconds. Tesla’s Cybertruck, in top trim, is also expected to make that sprint in less than 3 seconds. Does anyone need to have a 3 ton with a high ride height accelerate that fast? No, but bragging rights sell pickups.

Gas versus EV: Features

When it comes to amenities and creature comforts, all of these trucks should be equipped similarly at the top end. That means advanced displays, power output information, plenty of phone charging connectors, and more. Most will have some sort of ADAS system to assist on long highway journeys.

What’s exciting about the F-150 and upcoming Silverado EV is that those trucks should also be sold in everyday trims. That makes the trucks more affordable and appealing to fleet buyers. However, we still expect these trucks to come in the large cab configurations to maximize cabin space for driver and passengers.

Gas versus EV: Refueling and recharging

Until there is a significant change in battery technology, it’ll always be quicker to refuel a gasoline-powered truck than an electric-powered truck. Even with up to 350 kW on the GMC Hummer EV, it’ll still take some time to top off the truck.

Gas versus EV: Maintenance costs

Operating costs can vary on gasoline trucks, depending on what they’re used for. Regardless, they need oil changes and inspections on a regular basis. They’ll need belt maintenance and replacement fluids.

There is very little maintenance required on an electric vehicle. Tires will eventually wear out. Brake pads will eventually wear out — but not as quickly because electric vehicles use regeneration to slow down which doesn’t use the friction brakes as often.

There are some estimates that say that the cost of running an electric vehicle is one-third of the overall cost of running a gas-powered vehicle.

What should you get?

If you’re in the market today, and don’t have time to wait, consider purchasing the F-150 hybrid. It’s hybrid powertrain is modern and state-of-the-art. It’ll return solid fuel economy numbers. It’s also pretty quick.

The diesel powered Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra are also great engines that produce solid fuel economy, but are pricier to get into and have to be consistently refilled with diesel exhaust fluid. It’s not expensive, it’s just another chore that needs to be completed at regular intervals.

Obviously, the recommendation here will be the electric pickup truck for long-term costs and reliability. Once they become available, the marketplace will look a lot different. If you can wait, we recommend doing so.

Overall, though, the future looks bright for electric pickups, and there are some compelling options available right now if you can’t afford to wait.

Written by Chad Kirchner
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