The electric ute of the future promises to do everything the combustion cousins can.
New models like the Ford F-150 Lightning, the GMC Hummer EV and the Rivian R1T are on sale in the United States and are emerging as viable alternatives to conventional fuel machines.
All three have plenty of power, more than adequate range, genuine off-road potential, and the ability to tow heavy loads.
They seem like the ideal solution to Australia’s growing reliance on fossil fuel-powered electric vehicles, which have pushed our vehicle emissions to much higher levels than the rest of the world.
The Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, once the preserve of traditions and farmers, are now the flavor of the month with adventure-seeking Australian families eager to enjoy their post-Covid freedom.
The pair ranks at number one and two on sales charts, while other favorites, the Isuzu D-Max and Mitsubishi Triton, often find themselves in the top ten on sales charts.
But electric vehicles may have a major hurdle to overcome with Australian buyers.
A new test of EV trucks by respected American motoring magazine Car and Driver has exposed one flaw: their inability to drive long distances while towing.
The car magazine put the towing potential of the Hummer, Rivian and Lightning to the test by towing a 6,100 pound (2,767 kg) trailer at 70 mph (112.6 km/h).
The trailer weighed much less than the claimed towing ratings for the Hummer (3,401 kg), Rivian (4,989 kg), and Lightning (4,535 kg).
Car and Driver found that large electric utility vehicles felt great while being towed, thanks to powerful motors and the stability of heavy batteries.
“But you don’t want to go too far, as a full battery will get you just 100 miles (160 km) in the Lightning, 110 miles (177 km) in the R1T and 140 miles (225 km) in the Hummer.” said road tester Dave Vanderwerp.
“The range of all three trucks when towed was less than half that when traveling lightly loaded at 75 mph.”
Range when towed was well below the claimed ranges for the Lightning (300 mi), Rivian (300 mi), and Hummer (320 mi).
Those ranges are about half of what you can expect from an American diesel utility vehicle like the RAM 1500, which claims 1,046 highway km.
The team also considered the inconvenience of frequent charging to be “a huge hassle” due to the design of public charging stations that required drivers to unplug the camper, park it safely, and then plug into the charger. This is because walk-through electric charging points similar to conventional gasoline tankers are almost non-existent, and it is difficult to park an electric car and trailer without obstructing other vehicles.