Electric Trucks: Which one would work best for you?

The Rivian R1T is available for sale right now. Ford’s all-electric Lightning is very nearly here. And the Chevrolet Silverado EV will land in showrooms sometime in the middle of 2023. If you were angling for electrified pickup action in your driveway, which one would you be choosing?

Of the three, it seems the Rivian may be the most well-rounded of the bunch. There’s an easy mix of on-road, everyday enjoyability coupled with actual off-road capability relative to this space. With the Lightning and the Silverado, however, you can opt for a model suited for true work-truck duty.

All three have versions with strong range figures. All three look different from each other to help set them apart for their given fan bases. And each one helps add a new potential EV fence-sitter into the pool of EV owners. Electric trucks are going to be part of the tipping point for more mainstream EV acceptance, and yes this is still an issue depending on where you live in the country. But for good reason of course, as the infrastructure is still catching up.

But it is improving. Range options are climbing. And more and more appealing versions of electric vehicles are coming across a broader range of segments.

But if you had to pick one of these three, which one seems like it would work for you?

18 Comments

  1. I don’t discount the importance of manufacturing expertise, so I’m not up for being a beta tester for Rivian. The Fords and Chevrolets are as they ever were, a matter of personal preference. Since they both have the frunk which I find disproportionately compelling, I think I’d go with the Chevy due to the novelty/utility of the midgate concept that I have warmed to since the demise of the Avalanche, and, but… yikes the pricing.

    We’re still some infrastructure build away from this being a practical choice for me personally. I cover long distances in sparsely populated corners of the American southwest several times a year now. Until they space reliable fast chargers in every Clayton, New Mexico and Show Low, Arizona I’ll wait.

  2. Until I see some third party tested, objective, REAL numbers on range – especially towing and in cold weather (today is the first day above zero degrees in a loooooong while. Feels pretty good not wearing long underwear today), I can’t consider any of these to use as an actual truck. So instead of thinking ‘truck’ I’m going to think family rig.
    Therefore, I’ll pick the subjectively best looking, and “coolest” ‘truck’ of the bunch – surprisingly, the Silverado RST. I like the Avalanche vibe with the swept back cab/box lines. I like it alot.

    1. I feel like the internet let me down that I only just found out about Lingenfelter’s EV-swapped El Camino, but that’s now the front-runner for me (although an earlier Elky or Ranchero might be even better, just for the jet age retro-futurism).

      1. I hadn’t heard about that one either. What a shit year of El Camino to use to showcase an EV, though. I would have definitely chosen an earlier generation (or maybe even a later one!).

        1. I wonder if part of the thinking is having to tread a line between putting their best foot forward and not upsetting the “Y U RUNE KLASSIC!!1!” Folks too much. A 68-70 would likely get the pitchforks out, while one of the single-headlight cars demonstrates what you can do,without Lingenfelter actually being the ones to do it.

  3. Rivian is the safest bet for becoming an orphaned marque but I’d hate to rush to the wrong conclusion and end up stuck with something that continues to have factory support. Either way I do have to admire their commitment to food canisters and barbeque tongs:

    https://rivian.com/gear-shop

    1. Pffft, amateurs. They’ve got an awfully long way to go, if they want to contest Harley-Davidson for the lifestyle/cosplay brand that just happens to sell vehicles as well crown.

  4. I’m holding out for one that has ~500 miles range and can get 50% back in 5-10 minutes in any of the least-visited US-lower-48 counties as determined by mob-rule.com/home . (Most of my long trips cross the cluster of less-visited counties along the ND/SD border.)

  5. I lean toward the Rivian as it seems to be the most focused toward being an EV, and I like the green finish I’ve seen in photos. The other two? A study in skeumorphic evolution. Frunks are undeniably cool, but I believe the form of everything forward of the cowl will change considerably over the next 10 years. In the meantime, here’s a grille that recalls the glory of a radiator from a vintage semi!

    I’m quite interested to find out how all three do out in the wild after they’re subjected to what people like to do with and to their trucks (the very thought should give anyone pause). Fleet use should be revealing, as well.

    1. A good old-fashioned cross-country/offroad/equipment hauling comparison in the hands of three or our favourite writers would be a great thing to read/watch!

    2. Yeah, Rivian has an office *literally* around the corner from my neighborhood so I see the green color a lot – and it does indeed look great in person.

  6. I’m only really tempted by the Rivian– the design is fantastic– and even that I would use more as a family hauler. If I wanted a truck to use as a truck, I’d probably get a basic (V8 only) F-150 or Ram. Plus, I probably wouldn’t ever buy a brand-new truck. I have no intention of paying for steep depreciation on something I’m just going to drive like a mule.

    I will say that new EV Silverado finally looks better than ugly. Damn, but Chevy trucks have looked terrible lately. Regardless, nothing from GM has lured my spending dollars in decades, and I can’t see being swayed by them anytime soon. I think the last thing I considered buying from them was a 1991 Olds Custom Cruiser wagon.

    1. I can’t really pretend to have a horse in this race since I have never been a pickup truck guy, and am more or less indifferent to the EV future. I neither tow nor off-road and I don’t travel enough distance (by land vehicle anyhow) for range to be a concern. So were I to have to choose one, I would probably not select it on the abilities of the vehicle per se – all of them will have reasonably comparable range, and towing capacity and interior comfort – those things are much more limited by the current level of technology than by the genius of any particular company’s engineers.

      I would be more concerned by my perception of the selling company’s experience in building vehicles -i.e. the maturity of the design (no cool but untested features, please), my perception of the warranty service available (sure they sold em but can and will they fix em if there’s a problem?), ease of charging while traveling about, and resale potential.

      I have to say that although Ford definitely sweats the details on the F150, they often have some problems – see the Bronco tops, and the Focus transmission fiasco. GM has not yet convinced me that they can build something without cheaping-out in some unexpected place which will show up just as/after the warranty ends. Rivan interests me, and I love the design, but who is going to work on them when the inevitable first year of production by a start-up problems appear? Bueller? Anybody? Actually service is going to be a problem for all of them. Rivan mechanics will learn as they go, and Ford and GM will both have the dealerships pick one guy from the service department, send him to school for two weeks and anoint him the EV guru. I would also say that all three are just one major bad press story away from having their resale values crunched. Say something like Chevy’s battery fiasco recently.

      That kind of leaves Tesla. I freaking dislike Elon, and the Cyber Truck is ugly and impractical, but I imagine that I could get it repaired by people who are used to working on EV’s and while the Tesla mythos lasts, I could probably sell the thing without too much loss if I turned out to hate it. They also have the advantage of an established charging infrastructure… do the others all share some universal type of charging plug or are they proprietary?

    2. You can get an SUV version of the Rivian I think?

      That’d be my choice, though the F150 has lower weight going for it, which is oddly relevant in Europe (assuming you were in a position to personal import any of these). The laws on the total weight of truck + what you can tow before you need some sort of HGV license are lower here and if the Silverado is as heavy as the related Dumbvee, you’re already over it before you’ve hitched up a trailer.

  7. Electrically related, my neighbor parked an all-black Polestar in front of their house this week, my first sighting in the wild. It wasn’t recognizable to me from a distance, so, of course, I had to check it out up close to see what the hell. Interestingly, nothing in particular about it said “Volvo” to me. That said, it is a quite a sleek looking ride.

  8. I haven’t really got into the detail but I’m sure all 3 would work for me, however hard pass for all 3 because they are too big to be practical for me. 10-25″ longer and 8+” wider than what I’m driving now would have me spending an awful lot of time looking for somewhere to park it. If I had to choose one it would have to be the Rivian as it is 14 or so inches shorter.

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