15 Electric Utes We Would Love to See in Australia

No doubt about it, electrification is coming to Cars at an increasing rate. But what about Australia’s most popular vehicle segment, the ute?

The cost of manufacturing is dropping for batteries, and electric cars are becoming more affordable while charging stations are increasing across most countries. The world is seeing a huge benefit for going EV, there are significant health benefits and of course reducing carbon emissions.

Governments across the world are embracing this new automotive future and incentivizing the purchase of electric cars. One such country that is leading the way is Norway, where 70+% of cars sold were electric or hybrid-electric in 2020.

Although Australia is at the back of the pack with only 0.6% adoption in 2020. There is no doubt about it, it’s coming, whether we like it or not, however, it could be in 5 years to 15 years off though.

Australian Government Stance on Electric Vehicles

The Australian Government is seemingly against electrification with their latest policy rollout, where they have decided not to subsidise EV’s to increase uptake like many other countries. So many manufacturers are reluctant to bring their EVs here in the foreseeable future until the Government starts to embrace this new technology, which could help stimulate jobs and the economy.

Actually, while the rest of the world is scrambling to help people afford their first EV the Victorian Government has added a Tax on electric vehicles since EV drivers won’t pay tax on petrol/diesel.

What About Electric Utes?

But what about Utes in Australia? We love our utes, they are the backbone of most trade businesses. They can be ideal for a family car, while also being a fun off roader and a workhorse. 

They are the ultimate all rounder. Specially in Australia where the #1 and #2 top cars sold for the last 2 years have been the Ford Ranger and the Toyota Hilux utes, above all SUVs and other cars!

Building electric utes / pickup trucks pose some big challenges over a regular car. They have to be super practical, powerful, have a good payload and towing capacity, off road ability while also having the mod cons and comfort of a family car. 

Many manufacturers, both startups and long standing players have announced plans to build electric utes. Some are completely re-inventing the idea of a pickup truck, while others are electrifying already existing, tested and proven platforms.

15+ Electric Pickup Trucks / Utes We Would Love to See in Australia

In this article, we have researched the 15+ electric / renewable energy utes that we hope to see in Australia, along with their pro’s and con’s for the Australian demographic. This list will include some known and not so known electric utes.

In Australia, we love utes because we can modify them to be better off roaders by fitting accessories, or to be better work vehicles by adding a tray back and building them specifically for our needs. A ute is a platform we can customize for our intended use.

It’s a tall order to fill, let’s see if any of the new contenders stack up.

Tesla Cybertruck

Courtesy of Tesla, Inc

Tesla has been known to set the trend for the push to electric vehicles. And the already established brand in the EV space has the technology and tooling worked out, so it makes sense for them to meet the needs of the most popular type of vehicle in the USA – the pickup truck.

The Cybertruck is a complete re-imagination of the typical ute / pick up truck. It can do 0-100km/h in 2.9s, faster than most super sports cars, it also boasts a payload of around 1.5 Tonne and a towing capacity of 3.4 tonne.

Out performing most 1-tonne utes already in Australia in carrying capacity, torque and power.

However, one of the biggest drawbacks to the Cybertuck is its limited use case with a solid non-removable style side tub at the rear, along with its angled rear bed walls. This means you won’t be able to use the Cybertruck to mount a flat bed tray.

So it cuts out tradies that need a taller canopy to carry specialised tool boxes and equipment. It also means you can’t utilize the vertical height behind the cab to carry slide on campers, or use side access canopies with awnings.

It’s looking like it also doesn’t meet Australian Design Rules (ADR) due to it being a little too wide for our roads. It is also probably lacking the relevant crumple zones to meet ANCAP safety standards.

Of course Elon Musk is lobbying Australia to change it’s standards, as there is already a large fan base of the Tesla Cybertruck in Australia, but it is unlikely going to be from the current owners of  Utes who prefer the flexibility of having a Trayback.

Range: 804km

0-100km/h: 2.9s

Price: AU$58,900 to AU$103,300 (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: 1500kg

Towing: 3400kg

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: No

ETA (Australia): 2022-23 (If it passes ADR & ANCAP rules)

Rivian R1T

Rivian R1T

Recently receiving over a 1 – Billion dollar investment from Ford & Amazon. The startup Rivian has created a durable double-cab ute which already has a right-hand version under development.

It’s fast doing 0-100 in 3 seconds, it has great ground clearance, excellent safety and can wade through 90cm of water.

However, like the Cybertruck, there is no cab chassis model or a model with a removable tub, which is a big consideration for utes used for work purposes in Australia.

The release date in Australia is likely to be around 18months after the release in the US. It could be as early as December 2022, but more likely to be well within 2023.

Range: 640km

0-100km/h: 3s

Price: AU$93,000 – AU$103,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: 800kg

Towing: 4500kg (In australia that may vary due to regulations)

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: No

ETA (Australia): 2022-23

GMC Hummer EV

GMC Hummer EV (From GMC Media)

The massive SUV and pickup manufacturer General Motor Company has announced that they have re-invented the Hummer brand to be an all electric class leading EV electric pickup / SUV.

Starkly different to the original Hummer Alpha, a barebones civilian variant of the icon US armed forces HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle) or lovingly referred to as the Humvee. It was a multipurpose offroader which came in all shapes and sizes to meet the demand of emergency services and the military.

The dual cab Hummer EV is barely a ute, but we thought it was worth a mention because it does have a small tub for cargo but is unlikely going to be used as a work ute, more likely going to be a luxury off road EV, targeted at the same market as the H3 that appeared briefly in 2007 in Australia.

We can see it competing with the likes of the Jeep or Ford Bronco.

Other than some slick CGI marketing videos and a prototype, not much has been released in terms of specs.  It would need to compete with the Cybertruck & Rivian in terms of Payload and Towing to even be considered a ute. 

If the EV Hummer were to go head to head with the Jeep Gladiator (not an EV) it would only need a payload of 620kg+; so not a very high bar seeing as most current Australian utes rival this ridiculously low figure already (Ranger, Hilux, BT-50, D-Max, Navara etc.)

Range: 450km

0-100km/h: 3s

Price: AU$105,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: NA

Towing: NA

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: No

ETA (Australia):  Not announced

Neuron EV

Okay, so we have gone through the most talked about pickup trucks. But actually there are MANY more on the horizon. Including the Neuron EV out of California. 

The startup is focusing purely on utility-focused electric vehicles with what they call the Map-Modular Platform. A multi-use foundation which is engineered to cater for a range of different vehicle types, like a pickup truck, van and even a tractor.

Although they haven’t specifically mentioned a cab chassis or trayback version, it’s modular design does look like the tub could be removed and a custom tray fitted.

Unfortunately, not much else is known about it. The company will announce real world specs when they have finalised design. 

One unique aspect is that it could have a single seat driving position which is pretty different.

Range: NA

0-100km/h: NA

Price: AU$77000+ (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: NA

Towing: NA

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  Nothing mentioned

Canoo Electric Pickup Truck

The Canoo Pickup is another startup based in California who aim to transform the concept of a work vehicle. Engineering a versatile skateboard platform which transforms from a people mover to a large truck / van and a pickup truck.

Although this might not be a great ute for those needing a tray back. It seems to be targeted toward delivery drivers, food vendors, transportation of people and those who can get away with a tub.

Range: 320km

0-100km/h: 5s

Price: yet to be revealed

Payload: 816 km

Towing: yet to be revealed

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Doesn’t look like it

ETA (Australia):  Nothing mentioned

Nikola Badger

Nikola Badger Concept (From Nikola Motor Company)

The Nikola Badger looks like a more traditional pickup truck / ute with a modern flavour. Boasting a 900+ km range, it’s hybrid hydrogen / electric powertrain is class leading and unique to say the least.

We think the Badger could actually be very promising. Sadly though; it would appear that Nikola Motors are embroiled in controversy, we won’t go into the details but it’s possible that the Badger will never see the light of day because of it. You can read more here.

However, based on the design it does look like the tub could be removed for a trayback to be fitted!

Range: 900km

0-100km/h: 2.9s

Price: AU$77000+ (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: NA

Towing: 3500kg

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  The company has no plans for the Australian market at this time.

Atlis XT

The Atlis XT is a completely electric pickup truck / ute. However, rather than redesigning what a pickup truck should be like the Cybertruck and Rivian have tried to do, the Atlis XT builds upon the success of its Gasoline cousins to make the pickup truck better in every way.

It’s a rugged heavy duty platform can perform in extreme conditions, while maximising useability with Tray Back options by offering a cab/chassis model, while also maximising passenger comfort.

It’s also very big. We are talking Ford F-250 big, it’s designed specifically to compete in the heavy duty pickup market in the United States at an affordable price.

They will have a range of models with a 6ft bed and a 8ft bed which would suggest 2 chassis length options, while also providing tray back for complete service body fitments with payload options up to 2.2 tonne and towing up to 7.7 tonne!  (In Australia that would be highly regulated).

It actually sounds a bit too good to be true. They say they are releasing in the US in 2021, but upon further investigation they don’t seem to have a full working prototype or the tooling to begin production yet.

From our understanding, they have big plans but on a very bootstrap budget. So time will tell if the Atlis XT eventuate, we hope they do!

Range: 480 – 800 km

0-100km/h:  5s

Price: AU$70,000+ (Estimate based on current US price estimates)

Payload: 450 – 2200 kg

Towing: 2700 – 7700 kg

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Yes!

ETA (Australia):  Not officially announced, but they do plan to

Bollinger B2

All Electric B2 Chass-E Cab

For those who miss the vintage square designs of 4wd utes like the early model Suzuki Sierra, Hummer (original) and the late Landrover Defender.

Well the Bollinger B2 incorporates vintage box style design while having a state of the art full electric powertrain.

There is no doubt about it, the Bolinger B2 is a no-frills work horse. With a 2.2 tonne payload, it out carries most of the utes on the road in Australia. 

There will even be a cab chassis version so it can be configured for all types of work with customer tray back or service bodies.

It will have a 2 speed high / low range gear ratio to get out of those sticky situations, removable doors, removable glass, removable roof panels.

The Bollinger B2 attracts a higher than normal price, due in part to its ‘handmade’ nature and largest battery in the segment at 42kWh battery back.

Unfortunately there is no mention of the Bollinger B2 coming to Australia.

Range: 320km

0-100km/h: 4.5s

Price: AU$160,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: 2268kg

Towing: 3400kg

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Yes

ETA (Australia):  Nothing mentioned

Lordstown Endurance

The Lordstown Endurance is an all-electric pickup-truck / ute which has a motor in each wheel hub, so it is truly four wheel drive. It claims to have a 400 km range.

It looks more traditional compared to the Cybertruck. The company aims to make ultra durable commercial vehicles starting with the Endurance. Perhaps one of the coolest concepts is that compared to a standard combustion vehicle which has thousands of moving parts, the Lordstown Endurance only has 4 (it’s wheels).

So the concept is – there is far less to go wrong.

Currently there is a prototype Endurance, and the company has secured a very large former GM manufacturing plant in Ohio which is staffed by former Formula One, VW and Tesla employees.

At least by the design, we can see a clear divide between the cab and the tub, perhaps indicating that the tub can be removed to put a tray back or service body.

Unfortunately there is no mention of the Lordstown Endurance coming to Australia.

Range: 400km

0-100km/h: 5.5s

Price: AU$75,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices)

Payload: Not Released

Towing: 3400kg

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  Nothing mentioned

2022 Ford F-150 Lighting

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat. Pre-production model with available features shown. Available starting spring 2022. Always consult the owner’s manual before off-road driving, know your terrain and trail difficulty and use appropriate safety gear.

The All Electric Ford F-150

The Ford F-Series was America’s top selling ute for 2020, with over 700 thousand sold. That’s 3 sold every 2 minutes around the clock, 2019 was a similar story.

In fact the top three selling vehicles in the US are all pickup trucks. So if Ford is making a move to electric with their most popular vehicle no doubt others will scramble to follow.

And they might be further along than you think. They already have a working prototype of the F-150 which towed a huge freight train filled with 42 standard F-150s (over 400 Tonne!). Definitely just a publicity stunt to build a bit of hype. But also showcasing the enormous pulling power of electric motors.

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lighting is definitely the most powerful F-150. It deliverers 563 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 10,000 (4.5 tonne) pounds and it’s payload is 2,000 pounds (907kg). It will come in

It has a giant high tech “Frunk” (like a trunk but in the front) and pricing starts at 40k USD in the states for the basic model, and can be optioned up to 90k USD.

Did I mention it is incredibly high tech! You can connect to your truck with the FordPass app and it will receive over the air updates as they make improvements, you can also use it to power your house in emergency situations. It intelligently weighs your truck bed and accurately tells you how much range you will get with that load.

Speaking of range, you can expect an estimated 400km+ out of a charge and 0-60 in the mid 4-second zone.

Unfortunately there is no mention of Ford bringing the F-150 to Australia. But like the current F-150’s there will no doubt be a handful of third parties which will import them and convert them to right hand drive, nothing official is in the works though.

Range: 480km

0-100km/h: Mid 4seconds

Price: AU$75000+ (Estimate based on current US prices + rough import and conversion)

Payload: 2000 lbs (907kgs)

Towing: 10000 (4500 kgs)

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Yes

ETA (Australia):  Nothing mentioned

Chevrolet Electric Truck

The Silverado was the third top selling ute in 2020, and they are hot on Ford’s heels in developing their own EV.

The Silverado EV is likely to be a completely new beast to the current Silverado, it will use the same Ultium battery platform used by the Hummer EV and also be produced in the same EV-only facility in the US.

In fact, GM has announced that its entire light-duty vehicle range will do without petrol and diesel engines by 2035!

GM is boasting a 640km range, over 1400Nm of torque & 746kW of power. However, little is known about it’s payload or towing capacity. 

But it is likely going to be higher than it’s combustion counterparts to compete with the F-150.

The great thing about this ute is that HSV / GMSV may get it in stock as they are currently converting and stocking the current generation of the Silverado 1500 with dealers across the nation.

Range: 640km

0-100km/h: 3-4s (speculation, based on the Hummer EV)

Price: AU$120,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices + import and conversion)

Payload: Not Released

Towing: Not Released (but a lot)

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Most likely (like the current Silverado models)

ETA (Australia):  2024+

Dodge Ram Electric Pickup

Dodge Ram Electric Pickup

Dodge Ram Pickup Trucks are the second most popular car in the USA as of 2020, just behind Ford F-Trucks. They have just released the highly anticipated 702-Hp Hellcat 1500 TRX which is a supercharged V8 while also being their most economical yet.

Despite their push to improve on their existing gas guzzling line up, Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley said that they do plan to add an all electric pickup to it’s line up back in October 2020.

From what we can tell, a Dodge Ram EV is in the works but still behind their main competitors Ford and Chevrolet. 

The silver lining is there is an increasing number of authorised Ram Trucks dealers around Australia. Not only that, Ram Trucks Australia is the ONLY fully authorised Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) import and manufacturer of right-hand-drive converted RAM trucks. 

Range: Not Released

0-100km/h: Not Released

Price: AU$120,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices + import and conversion)

Payload: Not Released

Towing: Not Released 

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Most likely (like the current Ram models)

ETA (Australia):  2024+

Alpha Wolf+

This one seems like a blast from the past with some awesome retro styling. The Alpha Wolf is designed for consumers looking for a solid four-wheel drive utility truck powered by modern renewable energy.

It will come in the single cab Wolf and the super / extra cab variant Wolf+. It will also come in AWD or RWD models with a towing capacity of 3 tonne and an acceleration from 0-100 kmh as 5.9seconds.

It looks like it is designed for accessories to increase the practicality, with some of the promotional images showing roof racks, solar panels and LED spot lights.

Although the Wolf may not ever come to Australia, it is by far the cheapest off road pickup truck in this list and we like the direction they are going in a lot.

Range: 440km

0-100km/h: 5.9s

Price: AU$46000+ (Estimate based on current US prices + import and conversion)

Payload: Not Released

Towing: 3000 kgs

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  Nothing planned at this stage

Hercules Alpha

The Hercules Alpha is yet another EV startup with the aim to bring a rugged pickup to the market. It’s difficult to gauge how serious the project is and what stage it is at.

A recent press release in March mentioned that Hercules Electric Vehicles just opened a Series A investment round to raise $20 Million US.

In the press release it mentions that they intend to demonstrate their first “drivable architectural mule” in April 2021, but we still haven’t heard anything.

They aim to target the rugged luxury segment, and looks like they won’t be starting from scratch, they will essentially re-engineer the proven Nissan Titan platform.

It’s unclear what the final design will look like, but if it is anything like the existing Nissan Titan it means the tub may be removable.

They plan to start production late 2023 but no mention if they have any plans to come to Australia yet.

Range: 480km

0-100km/h: 3s

Price: AU$97,000+ (Estimate based on current US prices + import and conversion)

Payload:  5,670 kgs

Towing: 1,134 kgs

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  Nothing officially planned

Great Wall electric ute

Great Wall Motors (GWM) out of China have been selling utes in Australia for some time now. 

They are currently providing budget utes with a ute model simply called the GWM Ute which launched early 2020.

They unveiled a near production ready all electric version at the Beijing auto show in 2020.

It seems they have a working prototype and claim that “The EV pickup is always in our plans for right-hand drive markets”

But in terms of timing and pricing, they are still working that out. What is interesting is that they won’t let the extremely slow uptake of EV’s in Australia stop them from bringing it in.

They possibly see it more as a brand building exercise as they know how much we love our utes. Since most of the other utes on this list would have to be imported and converted to RHD they attract a higher price point, the GWM full electric ute could well be one of the first to hit our shores at an affordable price.

Range: 405km

0-100km/h: unknown

Price: AU$40,000+ 

Payload:  unknown

Towing: unknown

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  No dates provided

LDV/Maxus New EV

Chinese brand LDV also known as Maxus in international markets debued  the Maxus EV in November 2020 at the Guangzhou motor show.

The all electric ute is set to go into production sometime in 2021 with plans on the cards of Australia.

Andrew Bayliss, the general manager of Great Lake Motor Distributors, the LDV distributor for Australia and New Zealand said that they plan to lead the charge in the EV commercial vehicle sector.

By the sounds of it, they are working through the process to release the car in Australia. The vehicle has to pass quite stringent Australian Design Rules (ADR) before a car can be launched, made even harder being a completely new technology.

So, it seems there is a bit of a race between LDV and Great Wall to get to the Australian market. It sounds like with the exception of the Cybertruck (Also going through the ADR process); they could well be the first to the market.

Little is known about the power train, towing and payload but it would have to be comparable to the market they are competing in (Ford Ranger, Toyota HiLux etc).

Range: unknown

0-100km/h: unknown

Price: unknown

Payload:  unknown

Towing: unknown

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Possibly

ETA (Australia):  No dates provided, but currently going through ADR approvals

Ineos Grenadier Hydrogen

The Ineos Grenadier is not an electric vehicle (yet – we hope) but we thought we would give it an honourable mention because it seems they do plan to introduce a Hydrogen Fuel Cell power system built by Hyundai.

If you haven’t heard of Ineos Grenadier, they aim to bring a solid axle rugged wagon and ute to meet the demand left when the Landrover Defender moved to monocoque chassis.

Solid axle vehicles are known to be tough off road, that’s why the military use the Mercedes G300, Defender and the Jeep. Sadly, less and less solid axle vehicles exist on our roads.

But when we heard about the Ineos Grenadier our ear pricked up, as it would be the only competitor in the heavy duty ute segment for the landcruiser 79 series. 

And if they came to the party with an alternative fuel model, it could be a real game changer.

Although in Australia hydrogen distribution has a long way to go, the Australian Government does have a whole strategy put together to help these types of technologies make it to Australia.

No official specs have been released for the Hydrogen model, nor any dates discussed about release in Australia.

Range: unknown

0-100km/h: unknown

Price: unknown

Payload:  unknown

Towing: unknown

Cab/Chassis tray fitment possible: Most likely

ETA (Australia):  No dates provided

Plugin Hybrids Coming Soon

From all the vehicles listed above, it still seems unclear which full EV or alternative fuel version will land in Australia first, it’s probably more likely that we start to see Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEV) or Plug in Electric Vehicles (PHEV) first.

Toyota has plans for a Hybrid HiLux in 2022, Ford has plans for a Plugin Hybrid Ranger in 2023, Isuzu is toying with the idea of a Hybrid D-Max.

It looks like the Toyota HiLux will have an electric powered brother within the next 6 years.

Conclusion

In this article we hoped to cover a fairly comprehensive list of potential EV utes that we may or may not see in Australia in the coming 5-15 years. No doubt more will enter the market as the race is on to meet the huge demand.

Since we are a Slide on Camper manufacturer of course we would prefer utes that have the potential for an aftermarket aluminium tray to be fitted rather than a style side ute because it just gives us more options, and more ways to carry stuff.

So with that said, we would love to see the likes of the Atlis XT, F-150 EV and the Alpha Wolf+ make its way to AU because they appear to be able to fit a Tray.

It seems at this stage that the Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian XT are further along in development and would likely be here sooner.

From what we can tell the Cybertruck and the LDV are the only ones currently going through the ADR compliance process which is required before any vehicle can be distributed across Australia.

Which do you think will get here first?

One thing for sure, there are over 15 manufacturers all trying to get a slice of the EV pickup truck pie (market). 

Although Australia is a small percentage of their markets – utes are the largest segment of our market. It’s exciting to see what will happen.

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