Straight Talk Articles

Charged Up About Electric Trucks and SUVs
September, 2021

Dear Pat:

I was an electric vehicle skeptic but just saw an announcement of the all-electric Ford F150 Lightning. I didn’t realize electric pickups could be this compelling or competitive. Are there other electric pickups or SUVs coming out? - Mike

Dear Mike:

The Ford F150 Lightning is changing people’s minds across America about what an electric vehicle can do. Ford declared this is their best truck to date- not best electric vehicle, but best truck period.


Electric SUVs are available now and pickups will be soon.(1)   This development has been anticipated for years.  Annual sales of EVs are now about 24 times as large as ten years ago.   Several qualities are driving demand. The instant torque from electric motors boosts acceleration.  The low center of gravity improves handling and reduces rollover risk.  The superior traction control of electric motors can increase off-road capability and safety in winter. The upfront cost of an EV purchase is now more competitive with similar internal combustion models and most EVs qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7500.(2).   An attractive quality for many buyers is the lower operating fuel cost per mile for electricity compared to gasoline or diesel.


Ford’s electric F150 Lightning should arrive in spring 2022, starting under $40,000 for the commercial trim package, (230 mile range model.  A 300+ mile battery is an option, and all models are 4X4 with respectable towing and payload capacities. The Lightning is equipped to provide 9.6kW of home backup power or portable power for a job-site. Tesla has over a million preorders for their new Cybertruck, which will likely arrive in 2022(3).   The 250 mile range 2WD model starts at under $40,000 and steps up to $50k for the 300 mile range 4WD model.   Tesla plans to offer a 500+ mile range version for $70,000 that can tow over 14,000 pounds.


GMC has announced a late 2021 release of an electric Hummer with 1000 horsepower and features for off road performance(4). Chevrolet will soon unveil their upcoming all electric Silverado pickup. Rivian, a startup backed by billions of dollars from Ford and Amazon, is planning to put their R1T electric pickup in customer’s hands this year.


Crossover SUVs (CUVs) are the largest vehicle segment after pickups and a number of manufacturers have models available or will have soon(5).  Tesla’s Model Y CUV, the best-selling EV in the country(6) is around $50k for the all-wheel drive (AWD) long range (326mi) version(7). Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is available now with a range up to 305 miles, starting at $45k. Volkswagen’s ID4 CUV starts at $40k and is available with AWD options. More options include the Hyundai Kona EV and Kia Niro EV along with the Chevy Bolt EV which now has a new cousin, the Bolt EUV, a crossover starting at $34k.  Jeep’s plug in hybrid Wrangler, the 4xe, is available now. More SUVs are coming, including Rivian’s R1S, Nissan’s Ariya and VW’s six passenger ID6. Hyundai’s Ioniq5(8) and Kia’s 2022 EV6(9) are being touted for high speed recharges and home backup power(10). 


Almost every form of ground transport is seeing some electric vehicles. Polaris is releasing an electric Ranger utility terrain vehicle (UTV) that they claim has better off-road performance than their gas version(11). Electric snow machines and jet skis are arriving soon. Even large construction equipment like excavators, backhoes, medium and heavy duty trucks from class 3-8 (1-ton to semis) and mining vehicles like 240 ton haul trucks will have electrically fueled models. Farm equipment like 30-40 horsepower tractors are available. Manufacturers promote work vehicles by touting safer work environments with minimal noise and no exhaust.


A remaining hurdle for EV adoption in rural areas is sufficient fast charging for longer trips. Most EV owners charge at home, but more fast charge stations on rural highways will be helpful. Some co-ops are working with other utilities and state and regional entities to grow the charging infrastructure, which reminds us of the reason co-ops were created almost a century ago when investor owned utilities were reluctant to electrify rural areas.  


As you look into EVs check with your co-op, which may have EV information on their website. Co-ops can encourage local dealers to have EVs in stock and available to test drive.


I hope we’ve helped you gain a little more understanding of EVs and the exciting introduction of electric SUVs and pickup trucks.


This column was co-written by Pat Keegan and Jon Jantz of Collaborative Efficiency. For more information, go to the September 2021 more information page.






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Skylights can be a beautiful feature on a home, but are often a source of heat loss.  Photo Credit: Darien and Neil,