A partnership between Electric Motors Corporation and RV manufacturer Gulf Stream Coach is aiming to produce 50,000 electric pickup trucks annually by 2013. The product offerings from EMC and Gulf Stream will consist of retrofitted light-duty trucks capable of achieving the equivalent of 40 mpg thanks to a plug-in serial hybrid electric powertrain.
2009 Ford F-150 by Hi-Pa Drive...
The powertrain system uses an electric motor to power the wheels while a small gasoline engine acts as an onboard generator and range extender. The truck is expected to be able to travel from 30 to 40 miles in all-electric mode before using the gas engine to recharge the batteries. Any light-duty truck such as the Chevy Silverado 1500, Ford F-150, and Dodge Ram 1500, can be converted.
To build these electric trucks, EMC and Gulf Stream have been looking to invest more than $80 million in the recession-battered area of Elkhart County in Indiana. Elkhart could see more than 1600 jobs created by 2012. Currently, EMC and Gulf Stream are looking into startup funding from the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
The production of the light-duty electric pickup trucks will start with two static display trucks, which should be ready by the end of July. Two drivable trucks should be available by the end of September, and very low-volume production should begin in 2010. By 2011, a monthly production rate of 1000 trucks is expected, which will then grow to 2500 a month in 2012. By 2013, EMC and Gulf Stream are expecting to build 50,000 pickup trucks a year.
The pricing of the electric light-duties has not been finalized yet. According to Mark Smith, vice president and CIO of Gulf Stream Coach, the pricing for truck fleets is expected to stay below $50,000 per truck, which includes the purchase and retrofit costs. Purchasers of electric trucks should be eligible for the $7500 federal tax credit for alternative-fuel vehicles. Eventually, the partnering companies are expecting to be capable of retrofitting mid-size and heavy-duty pickup trucks as well.