The electric pickup truck popularity and buzz continues to grow, but there are these two major flaws that all of the them have. They must overcome it in order to be successful and break into the mainstream.
The two big problems are: short driving range while towing a heavy trailer or carrying a heavy load, and short driving range while off-roading. We performed real-world testing with out long-term Tesla Model X to demonstrate these issues. They are explained below.
Electric Truck Flaws
The recent debut of the Tesla Cybertruck spread the electric truck excitement around the world. Although, the Cybertruck and many other all-electric trucks are still about two years away from reaching production – we must discuss this and have the manufacturers address it head on.
We recently purchased a Tesla Model X long range AWD for two major reasons. It has a tow rating of 5,000 lbs. This is currently the highest tow rating of any all-electric vehicle on sale. The Model X is equipped with an AWD system, and we wanted to turn it into an overland vehicle with a slight suspension lift and bigger tires.
Problem #1: Driving Range – Towing
We performed three towing tests with the Model X. We towed a 4,500 lbs horse trailer on our highway MPG loop and on the Ike Gauntlet™ – world’s toughest towing test. Both times the Tesla SUV had plenty of power and good towing prowess, but the driving range went down from the claimed 325 miles to around 120 miles with a trailer. That’s a 3X drop in efficiency.
Many current gas or diesel trucks may see a similar drop in fuel efficiency with towing a very heavy trailer. We have seen this trailer weights of 9,000 lbs or above. This is counteracted by readily available fuel stations and relatively quick fill-up times.
In the case of a battery-electric truck, the current Lithium-ion batteries and charging technology allow for a full re-charge in about one hour. If you are towing a trailer long distance, then the current technology may require you to drive for about 1.5-2 hours, then stop and charge for about 1 hour, then repeat.
Problem #2: Driving Range – Off-Road
There is a similar concern with driving an electric pickup off-road. We have not yet completed a long-distance off-road trip in our Model X, but we did take it on our Rocky Top trail.
We saw a significant drop in driving range after just several miles of crawling over rocks. The Model X SUV is relatively heavy with a curb weight of 5,400 lbs. It took a lot of energy to crawl up the trail at snail pace. We had to move at a very low speed to avoid damage to the vehicle, and specifically the batteries that are mounted within the floor of the vehicle.
Quicker charging times and more high-speed chargers will help greatly, but there are still issues with going long distance on a road trip. Perhaps, bring many solar panels with you on a camping trip. Even have a trailer with its own electric motor and batteries to help with range.
Let us know what think in the comments below.
Please check out the video for all the details and explanation.