Electric pickup trucks are definitely coming. Well, almost certainly. Probably. Pretty sure, anyway. The darling of the LA Auto Show, at least among truck spotters, was the Rivian R1T, an electric truck concept that looked fresh, stylish, and as if it were right around the corner. Tesla too has teased their version of the electric pickup, a wedge-shaped cab over-style that would take a whole lot of getting used to before it made a serious dent in the marketplace, assuming it ever sniffs the marketplace. But there is a ready and waiting demand for a big, off-road capable rig that you can feel good about driving. Or at least, that doesn’t kick you in the wallet each time you fill up at a gas station.
And now comes a new entrant into the future of trucks arena: Atlis Motor Vehicles and their XT concept.
What’s that? Range anxiety in an off-roader? Ha. Actually, the XT doesn’t just laugh at your range anxiety; it doubles at the waist, slaps its knees with its hands, tears streaming down its face with pained guffaws at the very idea. Atlis claims, nay boasts, that its truck, at least the most expensive version, will enjoy a 500-mile range. Just to show that it doesn’t plan to make a lightweight truck that will have a short bed, lots of range, and little else, Atlis also reports that the biggest, baddest version of the XT will be able to tow 20,000 pounds. This is more than the Dodge Ram 2500 turbodiesel’s towing capacity. Truly living up to the “Atli(a)s” name.
Each wheel of the XT will get its own electric motor, with a flat platform base connecting everything. The designers claim a truck with, depending on version, 12 or 15 inches of ground clearance. With power at each wheel, the truck will be truly four-wheel drive, with a suite of electronic traction control modes. There will be a couple bed options; a “short” 6.5-foot bed—longer by 5 inches than a Toyota Tacoma—or an 8-foot bed. Want a dually? Atlis is planning one. You prefer four doors? Two? Both will be (theoretically) available.
The rig is planned to have plenty of charging ports for electronic goodies and gear and a huge amount of storage space. The bed, obviously, but also a trunk in the front, like the Tesla, maybe not quite doubling storage space, but allowing more than enough room for just about any overlanding needs.
Oh, maybe the most astonishing part? Atlis is planning a 15-minute charging time for the XT, based on their own charging stations. They even claim they’ll get that down to 5 minutes in the future. Atlis says they’ll release adaptors so that XT owners will be able to achieve those impossibly fast charging times at the “slow” charging stations currently available. Tesla’s superchargers are the fastest chargers going now, and those still take about 40 minutes to fill up a Model S. Atlis hasn’t made clear how they plan to achieve their claimed 15 minute charge time, other than to say they’re working with available tech and are confident in their numbers.
As for the incredible range—the 500-milers are the most expensive option. 300 and 400-mile options will also be available. Lower towing payload capacities, too.
Will this truck ever see the dappled forest light of day, out on a trail somewhere, kitted out camper shell on the bed? Your guess is as good as ours. But with Atlis and Rivian and, possibly, Tesla pushing to be the first all-electric pickup on the market, there’s a greater chance one of them will unlock the secret to a long-range, off-road capable overlander powered by electricity. Would be interesting if a forward-looking electric truck producing company got together with a similar outfit looking to revolutionize truck camping to build a fully inclusive outdoor electric vehicle.
Atlis hopes to roll the first production trucks off their American assembly line, presumably in Arizona, where the company is founded, in 2020. In the meantime, they’re happy to take your money as an investor. So far they’ve raised more than $1 million through crowdfunding alone, with, presumably, many more millions in the bank from private investors. You can also make a reservation for the XT if you’re so inclined.