Business owners that require their fleet vehicles to haul products have never had an electric equivalent to replace their combustion work trucks and vans. Until now. While there have historically been options to do a retrofit or alternative fuel conversion to an existing truck or van, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) participation is moving the market forward. The reality of an all-electric, revenue-generating commercial fleet is coming as soon as 2022.
Most OEMs have been working toward making electrified fleets a reality for the past few years. Today, the rate to market is speeding up, as OEMs partner with corporations with zero-emission goals such as FedEx and Amazon. Following a shift in administration, OEMs like Ford and GM have instilled confidence to go full speed ahead with electrification.
Now is the time to start planning for fleet electrification. Not sure where to start? This list of electric trucks and vans that are expected to hit the market in the next two years can help. One of these may become your fleet’s newest addition.
ELECTRIC CARGO VANS
Electric cargo vans offer the benefit of not only fuel savings, but up to 40 percent savings in maintenance costs. Additionally, they offer an opportunity for fleet owners to “walk the walk.” If your company sells energy-efficient HVAC or solar energy solutions, going electric is an opportunity to showcase your environmental commitment to your customers.
Electric cargo vans are typically useful for two purposes: as a vehicle to make last mile deliveries, and as work vans. Last mile delivery vans offer top-notch maneuverability. Electric work vans can give drivers the ability to plug light-duty tools directly into their van to charge, eliminating the need to haul heavy power generators.
Interested in learning more specifics? Read about the electric vans coming to market in the next two years, as well as their pros and cons:
Numbers for the low roof option
Range: 126 miles
Payload: 3,800 pounds
Cost: $45,000+ with a $7,500 tax credit
Launch: Mid ’22 Must preorder for ’22 delivery
Highlights: Because Ford is a trusted and known manufacturer, fleet owners with the E-Transit will have an established dealer and service network to turn to if they hit any bumps in the road. Additionally, these vehicles will include Ford Pro technology, a connected network that sends alerts about charging information, telematics and more.
The E-Transit is available in eight different body types including three roof heights, three lengths, cab chassis and cutaway option. Existing upfit equipment designed for the Transit will work with its electrified equivalent.
What to watch out for: Before acquiring any electric vehicle (EV), make sure you are aware of daily mileage requirements; However, most fleets average 75 miles or less per day, so this vehicle serves the majority of applications. If you typically use pickups for towing or find yourself frequenting hills in extreme weather conditions, you may want to wait before investing in the first model of a Ford E-Transit.
If you need to charge on-the-go, connected built-in navigation will show you the nearest public charging station. With a fast charging capability, 45 miles can be added to your range in just 15 minutes.
Range: 150 miles
Payload: 2,100 pounds
Cost: $34,500 with a $7,500 tax credit*
Launch: Late ’21
Highlights: If you like the Ford Transit Connect, Ram ProMaster City or Nissan NV200, the Urban Delivery is a comparable electric option. Similar in size, it also has some of the best maneuverability and accessibility for urban areas. Because it doesn't have an engine compartment, there is more cargo capacity in the vehicle than an equivalent sized internal combustion engine (ICE) cargo van. ELMS also comes with advanced onboard fleet tracking and telematics for real-time logistic planning.
What to watch out for: Before you buy, be aware that the Urban Delivery is a purpose-built vehicle for delivery services in an urban setting. And as a startup, ELMS will have an alternative service network different from the traditional OEM dealer network.
Range: 250 miles
Payload: 2,200 pounds
Cost: Must request info
Launch: Mid ’22
Highlights: An enhanced security system comes standard, including motion sensors, a large sliding bulkhead door with auto-locking mechanism, and motion activated interior LED lighting. The EV600 model isn’t exclusively designed for delivery fleets — its setup is versatile enough to be used by electricians, plumbers or HVAC technicians. While BrightDrop is a start-up, it’s funding comes from GM, a solid manufacturer.
Bonus - the EP1 power cart
BrightDrop is offering the EP1 carts at this time which can be used within health care, hospitality, theme parks, and distribution facilities and more in addition to loading these units into vans or trucks for hassle-free deliveries. The EP1 can secure up to half a pallet of goods (23 cubic feet, 200 pounds) until the contents are needed, unlocked remotely and several units can be tethered together for powered movement by a single operator. https://www.gobrightdrop.com/products/ep1 show that, when used in tandem with the EP1 cart, the EV600 can deliver 25 percent more packages.
What to watch out for: The EV600’s first customer is FedEx, and they are exclusively working with them for the time being. The ’22 launch will have extremely limited allocation, so it likely won’t be available to others until fall of ’22. Fortunately, the EP1 is available at this time.
ANOTHER ELECTRIC VAN TO WATCH:
The Arrival Van. With a range of 215 miles and a payload of up to 4,630 pounds, the Arrival Van is set to launch sometime in 2023.
ELECTRIC PICKUP TRUCKS
Despite electric cars being widely available since 2010, electric pickup trucks had yet to hit the market until now — especially surprising since pickup trucks make up more new-car sales in the U.S. than any other type of vehicle. Manufacturers are expected to release their electric pickup trucks as soon as late 2021.
There are many advantages to electrifying your fleet’s pickup trucks. First, since there is no internal combustion engine in the front of the vehicle, that space can be used to store extra cargo like cement bags or other necessary job equipment.
Second, electric pickup trucks can idle for long periods of time, making it ideal not only for plugging in tools as well as laptops, but also as a de facto work station between stops.
Range: 230, or 300 with extended range battery (extra cost)
Payload: 2,000 pounds in the bed + 400 pounds in the mega power frunk
Cost: Starting price $40,000 with a $7,500 tax credit*
Launch: Late ’22
Highlights: As a known and trusted manufacturer, Ford’s electric pickup is significantly more affordable than their competitors’ electric trucks. And if you like the classic “look” of a combustion F-150, the F-150 Lightning will appear almost exactly the same from the outside. This is ideal for reasons beyond aesthetics. It means that if you have equipment (such as a ladder rack) that’s designed to fit your combustion F-150, it can easily be repurposed to a F-150 Lightning, saving you money on upfit costs.
What to watch out for: For now, the F-150 Lightning will only be available in one configuration: a crew cab with the full four doors and a short bed (as this is 80 percent of F-150 orders the past few years). If you are looking for an electric version of cab chassis without a truck bed, you may be out of luck for a few years.
Range: 314 miles
Payload: 1,760 pounds
Cost: $67,500 with $7,500 tax credit*
Launch: Mid ’22
Highlights: Rivian may technically be a startup, but it’s extremely well-funded. The company, which went public in 2018, is backed by Amazon, Ford and T. Rowe Price. The model has plenty of storage — 68 cubic feet total, including the front trunk and a bonus gear tunnel.
What to watch out for: This truck can be better described as a “lifestyle vehicle” rather than a “work truck,” since it can offer features such as a slide-out camp kitchen with two burners to heat food and rooftop tent configurations. Since it is a startup, Rivian doesn’t have an established dealer network, opting instead for a mobile service model to support vehicles in the field.
Range: 250 miles
Payload: 7,500 pounds
Cost: $55,000 with $7,500 tax credit*
Launch: April ’22
Highlights: The design and innovation of the Endurance is completely new, yet is still on the more affordable end of electric pickup trucks. Plus, the time to market is quick: You could potentially have an Endurance in your garage later this year.
What to watch out for: As a start-up, Lordstown Motors will have an alternative service network different from a traditional OEM dealer network. It’s also only offered in one configuration, based off market feedback: a crew cab with four doors and a short bed.
OTHER ELECTRIC PICKUPS TO WATCH:
Chevy Silverado EV. The Chevy Silverado EV is anticipated to feature 400 miles of range and is supposed to start at $50,000. It’s set to launch in 2023.
Tesla Cybertruck. Looking like something out of a science fiction movie, Tesla’s cybertruck has 250+ miles of range and 3,500 pounds of payload capacity. Initially scheduled for the end of 2021, launch has been delayed to late 2022.
CONSIDERING CONVERSION? HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Some companies, such as Lightning eMotors, SEA Electric and XLFleet, offer the option to convert your trusted combustion pickup truck or medium-duty vehicle into a Hybrid, plug-in Hybrid, or an EV. This could be an option for you if you know you love your make/model, but you want (or need) to retrofit it with EV or hybrid technology to gain better efficiencies or meet state requirements.
The expense involved varies by provider and technology, which increases further if you want this equipped into a brand new vehicle. This can all be structured within your lease by Mike Albert Fleet Solutions.
ARE ELECTRIC VANS AND TRUCKS WORTH THE MONEY?
Probably. But it depends on your data. If you buy a new electric van or truck, you might spend around $4,500 more up front. However, let’s assume you typically spend about $3,000 on gasoline each year. That fuel cost would be replaced with a charging spend of about $500, saving you $2,500. In less than two years, your initial up-front cost could be covered.
That’s not even factoring in how much you’d also save on oil changes and other maintenance costs which are estimated at up to a 40 percent savings — or the added benefit it gives your company image to have a fleet of EVs. To figure out if an EV is right for your fleet, first calculate how long it will take to make up that initial up-front cost. For many clients, it’s made up in the first year of ownership.
While we’re still in the transition phase for electric trucks and vans, they’ll be here before you know it.
At Mike Albert Fleet Solutions, we take pride in monitoring these details for you. Our team of electric vehicle experts, combined with our commitment to being upfit-focused, means we take great strides to create the perfect vehicles for our clients.
If you’re interested in EV technology, we can find the right vehicle fit and the optimum upfit solution for you. Contact us for a free fleet consultation today.
*$7,500 refers to federal tax credits. State and local tax incentives could mitigate costs even further.