Electric utes are soon to make an appearance at a worksite near you. From the new LDV eT60 to the sleek Rivian R1T, here’s what we reckon you should be putting on your wish list.
By Shane Conroy
There’s little wonder why we Australians love our utes. They’re kind of like the reverse mullet of the car world-business in the back and prty in the front. And you really can’t without one on any worksite worth its salt.
But as Australia marches into our like-it-or-lump-it electric vehicle (EV) future, the iconic Aussie ute is being overlooked. As soccer-mum SUVs, hot hatches and family sedans all get the electric treatment, the good old ute has been left out in the cold.
Until now. LDV’s eT60 is the first all-electric ute available in Australia, and it’s set to be followed by a handful of other electrified tray-backs. Here’s a rundown of the EV utes you can expect to see on a worksite soon—and a few worth dreaming about.
LDV ET60: THE EAGLE HAS LANDED
LDV claims to be leading the charge towards an electric future with Australia’s first pure electric dual-cab ute. That will be in the form of the dual-cab eT60, but specifics have been a little thin on the ground.
Originally slated for a November 2022 Australian launch, LDV was still only taking expressions of interest in early November, and no official announcement had yet been made about a firm release date. Still, you should expect to start seeing it on Aussie worksites very soon.
And that’s good news, because it looks to be plenty capable with a 88.5kWH lithium-ion battery that delivers a driving range of around 330km. Payload capacity is 980kg, which makes it a pretty decent workhorse. A fast-charger will get it juiced up from 20 to 80 per cent battery capacity in around 45 minutes.
ACE YEWT: HOMEGROWN HERO
Perhaps the most interesting EV ute set to hit the market is the Australian manufactured Ace Yewt. With a 150km to 200km drive range at partial load, a 500kg payload and a 100km/h max speed, it looks more suited to light commercial use.
But starting at a very reasonable $25,995 (before on-road costs), it will likely be the cheapest EV ute on the Australian market for some time. Unfortunately, its styling is a little on the questionable side, and it probably won’t be winning any beauty pageants—at least those we’re judging.
Ace has yet to confirm a release date, but they are expected to drop some time in 2023.
BYD EV UTE: COMING SOONISH
Chinese EV-maker BYD has big plans for Australia. The company wants to sell 9000 electric cars to Aussie buyers every month, and one may be a hotly anticipated EV ute—eventually.
BYD is prioritising an electric SUV (the Atto 3), hatchback (the Dolphin) and sedan (the Seal). After that, the company says it plans to release a larger SUV and—finally—an EV ute.
But BYD’s EV ute remains shrouded in mystery for now. Considering the company’s Atto 3 made headlines as Australia’s cheapest full-electric vehicle on its launch, it makes sense to assume the eventual BYD EV ute will offer at or near entry-level value.
RIVIAN R1T: BIDE YOUR TIME
It looks like we won’t see a Rivian R1T on Australian roads until 2024, but it could be worth the wait. The R1T EV ute is a goer with a claimed 0-100km/h time of just 3.3 seconds. It’s also a go-anywhere vehicle with eight drive modes that can be set to tackle a range of conditions.
The R1T also features more than 37cm of ground clearance, can wade through about one metre of water, and rock crawl at a 100 per cent grade.
Tradies will also love the smart side gear tunnel with opening side doors that double as a step-up platform you can stand on to access roof racks.
But expect to pay through the nose for the Rivian R1T—early Australian pricing estimates are around the $100,000 mark.
CHEVROLET SILVERADO EV: CROSS YOUR FINGERS
Americans are set to get an all-electric version of the popular Chevrolet Silverado in mid-2023. However, General Motors is yet to make an official announcement about its Australian availability, so Aussie tradies will need to sit tight and hope for the best for now. And hope you should because it looks to be a winner.
It’s set to make a splash in the US market with an entry-level ‘Work Truck’ and higher-spec ‘RST’ variants available at launch.
General Motors is claiming a driving range up to 644km, and the most powerful models will serve up 495kE and 1065Nm from dual, axle mounted electric motors. Adaptive air suspension should make for a pretty comfy ride; you’ll get a front boot and 10 outlets in the ute tray will provide up to 10.2kW to charge your tools.
FORD F-150 LIGHTNING: WISHFUL THINKING
The Ford F-150 is an American classic, and the EV Lightning version is taking the legend into the 21st century. The bad news is that it has not yet been scheduled for an Australian release.
Still, there’s a glimmer of hope. Reports have surfaced that Ford has filed a trademark for the F-150 Lightning in Australia.
TESLA CYBERTRUCK: DREAM ON
While Tesla head honcho Elon Musk’s cyberpunk EV dream (or is it a nightmare?) was originally expected to come to Australia, he later shattered Tesla’s legion of down under superfans with an announcement that it won’t be sold outside the US. Rumours are circulating that Tesla may be developing a smaller cyber truck version for the international market, but don’t hold your breath.