I love trucks. To me they represent everything America does (or at least used to) stand for. Rugged, capable, the workhorse of the working man. So much praise to heap on a very basic and oft-uncomfortable vehicle. But where do those gas-guzzling, stump pulling, trucks with all the aerodynamics of a brick fit in the future?
Electric Motor Corporation has an idea, and is teasing photos of their F-150-based “Flash” pickup truck. The name could use some work; but how does the rest of the truck shape up?
Well the short answer is; we don’t know yet. The Flash isn’t scheduled for a full unviel until November. All we have are teaser shots of an ugly plastic front fascia to go on so far. I mean UGLY. And downright cheap looking if you ask me. I don’t want a plastic truck, thank you very much. If they could miss up the simple lines of an F-150 front end, I have to wonder how wretched the rest of the truck looks.
Aesthetics aside though, EMC is aiming to deliver the same capabilities of a gas-powered truck while utilizing an electric powertrain similar to that in the Volt. That is to say, a gas engine will power electric motors to drive the truck. Rather than stick with the triton 5.4 liter V8 motor for electricity generation, a small 1.2 liter gas engine will power the electric drive.
There will be three range options avaialable. The smallest configuration will allow all-electric travel up to 40 miles. No mention on whether this will be a plug-in hybrid or not. Will Cashen, CEO of Electric Motor Corporation, said that “The unique thing about a truck is that [battery] packaging isn’t an issue like it is for cars.” Realizing this, the battery packs were stuffed between the frame rails, space usually used for dual gas tanks and spare tires.
The Flash (I really hate that name) is said to have the same work capabilities of the 4.2 liter V6 F-150 that was discontinued last year. That means it would be able to tow about 5,700 pounds and carry a payload of about 1,940 pounds. But this is no SVT Raptor; it is meant as an on-road only use truck, probably because those battery packs will sort out if you take this truck muddin’.
EMC is also planning to release a commercial duty version entitled the equally terrible “Thunderbolt”. The commercial version will be targeted at construction and emergency workers. It will also moonlight as a power generator for equipment and Wi-Fi hotspot. I’m not sure how many construction workers need to use Wi-Fi on the job site, and the plastic look really bothers me. I am a pretty handy guy, and I grew up around work trucks, so I have a hard time taking it seriously.
I may be a little overly-critical of the Flash and Thunderbolt trucks. In fairness, I think there is a lot of promise to using electric vehicles for short range, heavy duty jobs. They would be especially useful in delivery and hauling jobs, so long as the range isn’t cut too short by hauling too heavy a load. So for now I will reserve final judgement until the “official” unvieling in November.