Using Geotab’s EV Suitability Assessment (EVSA), Geotab set out to evaluate whether the current electric pickup models on offer have the required range capabilities needed for real-world fleet applications and if they would be economically viable.

By analyzing de-identified data from 404,652 light-duty trucks (LTD-class 2, 2a, 2b) across the U.S. and Canada, this EV Suitability Assessment showed potential for fleets.

Fleet vehicles are often thought of as being pushed to the limits, for both utilization and workload. However, when examining actual vehicle usage solely based on daily range requirements, 76% of the trucks could be replaced with an EV and not run out of charge during the day. Half of the light-duty trucks analyzed never exceeded 280 miles (450 km) in a single day over the entire year and tended to stay well within the range capabilities of most electric pickup models entering the market.

With fleet electrification it’s not just about the range, the economics must make sense. For now, the electric pickups coming to market have a higher price tag compared to their gas equivalents. Fortunately for a fleet operator, it’s the total cost of ownership (TCO) that counts. 

Pickup trucks are known for their high fuel consumption and subsequent fuel costs. Electricity is not only cheaper than fossil fuel alternatives, its price is more stable and predictable. This fact, along with the overall reduced maintenance costs resulting from fewer moving parts, means that EVs have a lower operating cost. 

The question is – do the savings on fuel and maintenance offset the premium cost of the vehicle?  

The answer depends on how the vehicle is used.

Geotab found that 45% of light-duty trucks used by fleets hit this ideal scenario over a seven-year service life. In fact, the study found that by electrifying those trucks deemed economically viable fleets could save an average lifetime savings of $4,000 per vehicle.

If fleets could access a $4,000 purchase incentive, 56% of trucks could go electric and save money over seven years. A rebate of $6,500 bumps this up to 62%.  

EVs are generally more powerful than their internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents. Ford announced that their electric F-150 Lightning delivers 563 horsepower and 775 lb.-ft. of torque. Rivian and GM have made similar statements, for their R1T and Hummer respectively, showcasing that electric pickups will have the power for more demanding use cases.

Electric motors and their battery packs take less space than a traditional engine. This means these EVs have more storage with a trunk at the front – sometimes referred to as a frunk. 

Another benefit that sometimes gets overlooked is that EVs are significantly quieter than ICE vehicles. Studies have found that noise from vehicle traffic has various health implications, including stress and hearing loss. Truck drivers who have switched to electric have reported a better and safer work environment from reduced vibrations and noise. 

Next, the weight distribution of the battery along the bottom of the vehicle, gives the truck a lower center of gravity. This provides EVs with better handling and more stability, even when the bed is empty.

Finally, most models have auxiliary power connections so you can charge power tools or equipment – without idling. Some models are equipped with up to 11 outlets, which combined can provide up to 9.6 kW worth of power. This allows the truck to become a mobile worksite and would be especially useful for construction or field service fleets. 

Electric pickup trucks represent a huge opportunity for fleets. The models entering the market already meet over three-quarters of the nearly half a million analyzed vehicles’ daily driving requirements and represent cost saving opportunities. As their purchase price comes down, whether through a rebate or as a result of the falling cost of battery technology, they will become even more economically desirable.

Editor’s Note: This article was edited from a release written by Charlotte Argue, senior manager, fleet electrification at Geotab.

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