Off-Road Hybrids and the Shape of Future Off-Road Electric Cars [Autowerkz.TV Interview]

Recently, Autowerkz.TV had an opportunity to interview an industry insider who follows hybrids and electric cars. While he asked for his name to be omitted, (his publication rarely allows him to ‘officially’ post outside interviews) his professional credentials are impeccable.

Autowerkz.TV: Thanks for meeting with us, we know you’re busy.

Insider: No problem. I like what Autowerkz (Autowerkz.TV) is trying to do.

Autowerkz.TV: Can you share with our viewers what you told me about off-road hybrid and electric vehicles?

Insider: Will do. Many of my cohorts in the automotive and high tech industries have seen a shift in research regarding near-future electric and hybrid vehicles.

Autowerkz.TV: Can you elaborate?

Insider: Automakers realise that, in North America, a disproportionate amount of consumers buy trucks. The Ford F-150 is still one of the most popular vehicles in the USA. A majority of those trucks (including trucks from GM, Ram, Toyota and Nissan) are 4x4s. Automakers know that, if they hope to make inroads into the truck market, they need to build hybrid and all-electric trucks.

Autowerkz.TV: Didn’t we get a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 hybrid?

Insider: That’s a poor example. It’s a half-step at best. Automakers need to make a compelling argument for (plug-in) hybrid and electric trucks.

Autowerkz.TV: Can’t they already point to the torque and capability of electric motors?

Insider: Soon you’ll see vehicles like the Bollinger SUV destroy off-road trails. It should be very impressive, but it’s just a drop in the bucket. Until we see a Silverado, Ram or F-150 out-perform its gas counterparts using electricity, it’s just a novelty.

Autowerkz.TV: What about Tesla?

Insider: Tesla should have built an electric pickup truck a year ago. As it stands. Tesla charges too much for its vehicles as it is. No practical truck lover is going to spend $100,000 on a pickup truck. Sure, trucks are already expensive, my neighbor bought a F-250 for almost $70,000. But that truck can go almost 600 miles on a tank of diesel and it can haul his trailer and toys reliably – for many years.

Autowerkz.TV: This leads us up to the purpose of this interview, what can you tell us about the future of plug-in hybrid and electric trucks?

Insider: It looks like just about every automaker that sells or WILL sell trucks in America is looking at the possibility of using plug-in hybrid systems and all-electric power. Out of all of these automakers, I think Nissan will be one of the first to introduce an all-electric truck or van. We’ve already sampled a Nissan NV200 Electric, which is basically an NV200 with a Leaf power module. It worked well. Nissan is a pioneer in mass-marketing electric vehicles and I think they will be the first large automaker to introduce an electric or, possibly, a plug-in hybrid pickup truck to this market.

Autowerkz.TV: We’ll keep an eye out and we appreciate the information.