Meet The First Electric Pickup Trucks : Nope, Not Rivian R1T: Video


Rivian was not the first.

Believe it or not, electric pickup trucks aren’t a new thing. In fact, a couple major automakers had EV pickup trucks on offer not too long ago.

However, it wasn’t until Rivian hit the stage with its R1T electric pickup truck in LA that the world took notice of electric trucks in a big way.

Now, all the EV hoopla in the U.S. seems to center around trucks and for good reason. The pickup truck segment is super hot right now, largely due to low gas prices. However, the utility of these types of vehicles is widely appreciated by consumers, including the EV crowd.

Add in the fact that both General Motors and Ford jumped in on the electric pickup truck bandwagon and it’s clear this is the must-watch segment.

But let’s take a step back

Did you know electric trucks aren’t new? Were you aware that both Ford and Chevy had electric trucks on offer way back in the early days of modern EVs?

As you’ll see in this video via Tinkering Thomas, electric trucks actually date back a long, long time ago. But what is new with this current EV truck wave is that we’re seeing big trucks now. Ones that are highly capable like the Atlis XT (image below). Electric is no longer limited to small trucks. Nor are EV pickups short-range and light duty.

Today’s electric pickup trucks are real trucks and that makes a world of difference.

Atlis XT Pickup Truck

Ford Ranger Electric Truck:

The Ford Ranger EV (Electric Vehicle) is a battery electric vehicle that was produced by Ford. It was produced starting in the 1998 model year through 2002 and is no longer in production. It is built upon a light truck chassis used in the Ford Ranger.

Chevy S-10 Electric Truck:

The Chevrolet S-10 Electric was an American electric-powered vehicle built by Chevrolet. It was introduced in 1997, updated in 1998, and then discontinued. It was an OEM BEV variant of Chevrolet’s S-10 pickup truck. The S-10 Electric was solely powered by electricity, and was marketed primarily to utility fleet customers.

Video description:

Believe it or not, there is actually a history to electric pickup trucks!

Source: Tinkering Thomas On YouTube

Categories: Chevrolet, Ford, Trucks, Videos

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80 Comments on "Meet The First Electric Pickup Trucks : Nope, Not Rivian R1T: Video"

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WTF was this?

There is an old Ranger BEV at my office!
It has lead acid batteries.

There was also the GM dual mode hybrids. These were avaialble in both pickup and SUV. Very advanced drive system similar to the Volts.

All of these were simply too early- battery tech simply wasn’t there to make them successful.

At first I read it as, in my office, like where people would take a part a VW bug and reassemble it in someone’s living room.

“All of these were simply too early- battery tech simply wasn’t there to make them successful.”

They took the wrong approach. Had they gone with a serial hybrid then lead acid batteries would have sufficed. This is what railroads had been doing for ages. The battery bank is scaled down and the ICE can be smaller and optimized for maximum efficiency.

Diesel electric locomotives don’t use batteries. The generators directly drive the traction motors. I believe the advantages of this layout, vs direct drive, is that it can take advantage of the tremendous low speed torque of electric motors, which is important for starting a train, and it also reduces shock on the diesel motor making it last longer.

The two world’s largest transport vehicles are both Diesel-electric hybrids. They are also two of the oldest, built in 1966 and still operational. They are the twin Tractor-Crawlers that NASA had ordered to carry the giant Saturns rockets (and Space Shuttles) and their launchpads from the VAB (the world’s largest assembly building) about two miles to the launchpads 39A and 39B. Each can carry over ten million pounds (5 kilotons, 5 thousand metric tons, or 5 teragrams).

Automakers didn’t pick the wrong approach to go with all electric trucks instead of hybrids. California was moving to require automakers to sell a certain number of EVs in order to comply with CARB mandates, much like today. This is why the EV1 was built and also the early RAV4 Toyota that both used nickel metal hydride batteries* right before CARB backed off on the EV mandate.

Any explanation is too long for a comment section to go into the history of what led CARB to decide to end the early EV mandate, but the mandate is both the sole reason that these EVs were started and the sole reason they ended. (Basically, the CARB mandate was ended because CARB decided that technology was not advanced enough to build EVs. That reason held until Tesla proved CARB and everyone else wrong.)

*And we won’t even begin to revisit the scandal of GM selling the large format NiMH technology to Chevron who then sat on the patent in order to kill EVs. (Which actually worked until some nut figured out how to put lithium laptop cells into a car.)

While the Video mentioned the weight “Range” of the old Ford Ranger EV, it failed to mention the heavier one was Lead acid Powered, and the Lighter one was powered by the same NiMH Modules that GM finally used to give the EV1 it’s higher 140-150 Mile’s range!

The same ones that GM sold the rights to Texaco – which then ended up being blocked for sale, by Chevron, after their Mash up with Texaco. That blocking their sale of the original Ovonic Battery, was what ended any EV Development at the time.

That Chevron / GM Fiasco was a driving force in Tesla coming to be, and choosing to build batteries from Commodity Li-Ion Cells, that were, at the time, a driving force for making Laptop Computers become a reality. Partly because of general availability, and also because there were no indication that such cells could be “Controlled” by such interests, in the same way the Ovonic NiMH Battery was Controlled.

It also failed to mention that GM & Ford Faught against CARB and their Sales Goals, and had no idea how to sell such a specific and specialized product, after building common commodity vehicles, for so many years!

Interesting. Typical behavior of the auto industry, and their cronies, to buy something threatening in order to quash it.
The part where GM and Ford have no idea is funny.
Thanks for the history lesson.

Let’s be honest NiMH wasn’t up to the task. It’s too heavy for the capacity you get out of them. Hell even Li-Ion isn’t perfect, but at least it’s more compact power and has no memory effect. You make it sound like if GM didn’t sell the technology we would have been driving around in NiMH EVs and that’s not true.

Yup. While it’s true that Chevon did suppress use of their patent for large format NiMH batteries, that didn’t stop auto makers from using NiMH batteries in the 2nd generation EV1, or the Prius, or the original Honda Insight.

Chevron may have tried to stop auto makers from making EVs using NiMH batteries, but they certainly failed.

And this is literally the first time I’ve seen anyone try to claim that NiMH batteries, or lack thereof, had anything at all to do with the creation of Tesla Motors. There isn’t any suggesting in any of the various articles I’ve read on Tesla’s early days that this had anything at all to do with it.

I think perhaps someone has watched “Who Killed the Electric Car?” too many times, and doesn’t realize that it’s a propaganda film, and that altho a lot of what’s in it is true, a lot of it isn’t, too. Battery tech simply wasn’t up to the challenge back then. Commodity li-ion battery cells made for laptops made it possible for Tesla Motors to sell a BEV without losing money, and those cells didn’t exist circa 1999-2000.

You are wrong about claiming that the Chevron patent didn’t stop automakers from using the NiMH patent in autos. Chevron sued Toyota to end the RAV4 manufacturing because of patent infringement. After that, all use of large format NiMH in autos quite effectively ended.

I think you have read too many right wing posts which claim that “Who Killed the Electric Car” is propaganda. There’s more facts in that film than you are giving credit.

At the same time Nissan was running a Lithium battery EV so it was there.
These were successful EV pickups, they just needed people who knew how to car for a lead battery pack and many are still running .
A good amount of the Volt modules I sell go to them, replacing the lead, NiMH packs with lithium. And many other factories made EVs from Chevy, Fiord pickups and various cars to EVs.
These can be seen at the EVPhotoAlbum with over 1k examples of older factory, custom and conversion EVs.
Now I have to go out and build my next EV subcar with 200 mile range this time I’m starting this morning.

“Chevron may have tried to stop auto makers from making EVs using NiMH batteries, but they certainly failed.”

You’re wrong on that. Toyota was sued and had to pay an 8 figure sum. The settlement allowed them to continue to use small Nimh batteries in their Prius.

Moreover back when GM killed the EV1 they made the absurd claim that there was no demand for EVs. This after there had been unprecedented interest in the car.

CheVron made sure that NiMH batteries are only used in small quantities for example in the early Toyota Prius. I think Chevron said you can’t go over 1,5 or 2kWh. I don’t know the exact number. But they definitely forbid large batteries for EVs. It’s just a fact. And I do think NiMh batteries were up for the task at least in some cars like the compact class, obviously not large vehicles. I mean the next generation EV1 could go 140-150miles. Early EVs in 2010 couldn’t even make the 100mile range. But of course Lithium ion batteries are more advanced.

It’s Ni-cad that has memory effect.
Since Ni-MH and Li-ion were dependent on the electronics industry for their progress, once the laptop industry chose the latter over the former, there was no reason to keep improving Ni-MH, so we can never know how much better it could have gotten in a world that had no li-ion.
But the Solectria Sunrise got some pretty impressive range using just Ni-MH.

Only powertool NiCad had that problem. Flooded NiCad doesn’t as very robust and an easy 50+ yr life. I own 50 yr old ones that still put out rated power.
I owned a Solectria Sunrise body/chassis but got sick, broke and had to let it go. It did Boston to NYC on I-95 with 3 people, luggage on a single charge and 377 mile max range.
They somehow go to pick the best EV-1 NiMh modules a they varied a lot to make the record which pizzed off GM to no end!!
We do know how much better as Gold Peak and Panasonic made good ones sadly GM couldn’t do. GM switched to both NiMH and lead batteries by Panasonic so the E-10, EV-1 could finally do specs.
I just sold a Volt module pack to a Solectria E-10 pickup to convert it from lead to Lithium.

NiMH is a great technology. At the time and still today very useful. Had more development been done by today they may have surpassed Li Ion. But noooo….The guy above is right and you are wrong. Seems a bunch of gas heads are here. I have been driving electric since before the turn of the century building and repairing the vehicles of that time and now I simply can’t build something as good and affordable as what is available today. If California hadn’t made mandates and Musk hadn’t come along all this would not have happened. History lesson: In 1910 there were more electric than gas vehicles. Then they switched from alcohol to gas(Model T had a switch to use both) then the electric starter. The end of mass produced electrics until the 70’s. Then slowly we are where we are today. I can now make it from Seattle to San Diego with a car that has less than a hundred mile range. Don’t forget that it’s not the range that makes electric vehicles impractical…it is the charging time.

Source please

A real EV is designed as an EV. A converted ICE design (Ford Ranger, Chevy S10) is a converted ICE. I certainly hope both Ford and GM understand this now, or they are headed for disappointment.
Rivian and Tesla on the other hand are designing EV pickups, far different from an ICE design cobbled into an electric drive train.

We’ll see what happens, but a modified F150 (where everything but the drivetrain is the same as the ICE and therefore sharing the costs across a large number of vehicles) might cost significantly less than a Rivian or Tesla, thus making it available to many more people –> might be more what we need for the next decade.
Plus, how many cab/bed configurations will Rivian and Tesla have? The answer: exactly one.
How many contractor/service tech conversions will that support? Zero, because the bed can’t be replaced and a 4′ bed won’t accept the slide-ins.
The pickup truck market is vastly different than the sedan or crossover market.

“…a modified F150 (where everything but the drivetrain is the same as the ICE and therefore sharing the costs across a large number of vehicles) might cost significantly less than a Rivian or Tesla, thus making it available to many more people…”

Compromise vehicles are compromises. They don’t compete well in the highly competitive new car market. For example, Ford didn’t even try to sell the Ford Focus Electric; it was merely a low-volume compliance car.

Compelling EVs are built from the ground up. Not only because that makes them more competitive, but it also makes them less expensive to build. Conversion vehicles will never be made cheaply enough for the auto maker to make a profit on them. We can be pretty sure that Ford was losing money on every Ford Focus Electric.

It’s not a car market or consumer market that Ford sells to with the pickups. It’s usually fleets, business and municipalities. I see a whole bunch of different variants of F250 come out of Ohio Assembly Plant here in Lorain County Ohio- Avon. The trucks don’t even have chassis

They are not missing the chassis but the bed (metal box with tailgate) that mounts on top of the frame (chassis). The “chassis” is the structural frame that makes a truck a truck and allows the cab and bed to be separate. So on a “real” truck—one that is body on frame— the batteries need to be under the the bed (between the frame rails?) or the cab or both but if both they will need to be separate. “Real” EVs optimize with a “skateboard” design with the skateboard battery closely integrated into the structure of the vehicle. Like this an optimized EV pickup will need to have a different structural design than current pickups which will make it more difficult (impossible?) to achieve the great layout variation that current pickups have including the ones that leave the factory with NO bed (known as a cab/chassis) and receive a custom one from another supplier. “Trucks” like the Rivian design are unibody designs like the Honda Ridgeline and both share their structure with a unibody SUV. Real efficiency gains with conventional trucks seem more likely to come from PHEV designs; there are many places in a full size pickup where a… Read more »

Built for electric from the ground up, seems real important to me too but I’m also watching Mercedes slide an electric powertrain module right where a gas engine can also go.
I don’t like the idea even if it’s cheaper to produce but it might sell great.
I loved my Mercedes wagon, I want to love the EQ.

Mercedes originally designed the Smart car (and the A-Class) with a double floor with space in-between, which was part of their crash resistance but also intended to hold batteries if needed.

Trucks are very different from cars now. Cars are already incredibly optimized with CAD-designed unit bodies where every bit of interior space is carefully thought out. Trucks still sit on top of ladder frames that don’t look too different than what cars used before WW2. Which means there’s an obvious place to put the batteries that isn’t currently used.
Now the aerodynamics are another matter. EVs need that more because gas engines actually enter their most thermally efficient range on the highway which offsets the drag somewhat. But designing a really aerodynamic truck body is a little-explored challenge.

However the Kona & Niro are just such compromises and they attain impressive range. They were designed to accommodate both hybrid, plugin hybrid and EV. We are considering the EV versions of both. The EV versions outperform the gas versions. Hopefully these vehicles will convince the skeptical of the value of pure electric drive. Imagine how much better the Kona and Niro would be if designed from the ground up. They would both have a frunk!

Thank you! People read F150 or Silverado and think they are single truck models. But both of those models have several variations depending on use.

You could argue a truck chassis (frame) for F150, Ram, and Silverado are little more than skateboard designs. That’s how they have different cab and bed options. All the mechanics are on the frame and cabs and beds are added on top. Also GM designed their Silverado frame to except ICE, PHEV or EV powertrains.


I agree with you except that the truck frame is built around a engine, transmission and differential design that dates back a hundred years. With the smaller size of electric motors it’s much more practical to have an electric motor driving each axle. With the advent of electric vehicles the truck frame design is likely to go through a radical evolution.

That also makes it easier to adapt, versus a car built around a unibody. There is also more space in general. In theory, it should be easy to put a motor at each axle, then remove the driveshafts, transmission, transfer case, and engine. That leaves plenty of space for batteries, while the cab and bed remain the same.

Which is presumably why Rivian could just dump an old F150 body on top of their skateboard.

Trucks have very different design characteristics than unibody cars, and will likely be less “compromised” due to this.

What you are completely missing is, full size pickups are body on frame construction, not unibody like cars. Basically they are a “skateboard” design long before it was trendy to talk about skateboards in car building. The pickups of today and in the past are ICE powered skateboard design vehicles.

This makes it EASY to convert them to BEV with NO compromise by building a replacement BEV skateboard. When I spoke to a representative of Rivian at the LA Auto Show, I suggested that they might sell their chassis, or “skateboard” to the legacy OEMs, or even to consumers for conversion purposes and he admitted that that was something they might do in the future and that it would be pretty easy to fit their chassis to an F-150, or Silverado, or Ram.

Clearly you do not understand what a “skateboard” EV platform is. What you’re describing is a light truck’s frame, not even remotely like the drive-by-wire concept of an EV skateboard. Cars used to be built on frames, too. In fact, I’m pretty sure some of them still are. Vehicles with bodies mounted on frames are nothing special.

Drive by wire has nothing to do with it. I was describing a truck’s frame, complete with engine, transmission, driveshaft, suspension, rear differential, gas tank and everything else you need to drive around. From there, they plop a body on it. It’s pretty simple to rig a pick up chassis without the body with a wooden chair and drive it around. Yes, cars used to be built on frames too, but they pretty much aren’t anymore.

From your Wiki link- “Because all propulsion and energy storage systems are housed in the skateboard, designers are free to arrange the passenger compartment however they see fit.” How is this different from a pickup without it’s body on? Have you seen an ice-cream truck? Have you seen an RV? Same chassis, or “skateboard” underneath. What’s the difference between a Chevy Silverado pickup and a Chevy Tahoe wagon? The body that sits on top of the same chassis.

The point of all this is, it would be simple to plop a Silverado body and bed, or a Tahoe body down on a Rivian chassis and get pretty much the exact same performance. Little to no compromise needed.

And for real funsies, some people put Crown Vic Sedan bodies on truck frames.

Back in the day we would take off the bed of a truck and put a battery box under the bed. Nothing new in doing that. You couldn’t visually tell that the converted truck was an EV. However the aerodynamics of trucks is not good. Some thinking must be done on that problem. Maybe teardrop body that can be reconfigured for hauling or out of the box aero touches.


Give it a break, GM was way out front on early EV development back in the 1990’s

That’s like saying the Hyundai and Kia are headed for disappointment because the Kona and the Niro are multi-platform. I’m afraid most of the new EVs are going to be on multi-platform for the foreseeable future. Right now it’s a lot more cost effective to build cars that can be built around multiple fuel systems.

But it’s safe to say that manufacturers have learned from their mistakes with early conversions. Nowadays manufacturers are building cars that are designed to accept different fuel systems instead of trying to force an alternative fuel system into an existing design. It’s likely that Rivian and Tesla will have a very hard time selling a pickup that is competing against a well designed multi-platform Ford or Chevy pickup.

“…the Kona and the Niro are multi-platform”

Yeah, and they’re mere compliance cars. Name a highway-capable BEV passenger vehicle marketed in first-world countries which is made in significant numbers: Leaf, Model 3, Bolt EV. All of those are built as EVs from the ground up.

No multi-platform or conversion cars need apply. They will all be low-volume vehicles.

The EV made that way cost 20% more, need a bigger battery pack, motor, etc .
Vs a build as an EV would weight the same as the ICE, not 900lbs heavier.

When you build a vehicle from the ground up, you have to train your technicians the same way. By doing a retrofit your EV specialist can concentrate on EV problems and leave the other vehicle related troubles to other members of the shop. Every guy in the shop isn’t going to be an EV specialist. There has been a shortage of truck/automotive techs for years.

Converted ICEVs into hybrids and EVs is cost efficient. i f you can’t afford spending millions for a new EV design, going the converted route is safer and cheaper, allowing to take from the stockpile (parts bins) of the ICEVs. The Ford Hybrids, Energis, and the Electric Focus made that route, and sold thousands since 2005, beginning with the Ford Escape Hybrid. And they are still being sold. This is why Ford will convert their biggest sellers (f-150 truck and Explorer SUV) now. Toyota also converted some of their ICEVs to hybrids, too. GM only has the Chevy Malibu Hybrid.

The sad part is, there was really no excuse for those trucks to cost as much as they did. Those were lead-acid batteries, which were much cheaper than the Lithium batteries used today. They didn’t even employ active cooling systems for the batteries. The only reason these would have costed that much is because they were likely hand-built and didn’t really take advantage of economies of scale, and of course also because these companies didn’t really want to sell them in the first place.

shows real gas prices were at all-time lows in the late 90s, not a good time for BEVs…

That is only because the full price is not in gasoline, diesel which if it was, would over double their cost.

Lead-acid batteries simply are not adequate for a highway-capable passenger car or light truck. If they were, then EVs would have gone mainstream decades ago. In fact, if lead-acid was a viable transportation solution, it’s likely that gasmobiles such as the Model T never would have been able to out-compete the early electric cars.

“Lead-acid batteries simply are not adequate for a highway-capable passenger car or light truck. If they were, then EVs would have gone mainstream decades ago. ”

As BEVs I agree. As a serial hybrid you are dead wrong. Conrail demonstrated this ages ago.

We are discussing street-legal passenger vehicles, not railroad locomotives. Yes, diesel-electric locomotives are practical serial hybrid EVs. They are also outside the scope of the discussion here.

Furthermore, the use of batteries has almost nothing to do with diesel-electric locomotives. They use only starter batteries, not traction batteries.

The conrail system doesn’t use diesel for traction. They are strictly generators for electric motors. This provides superior torque and efficiency. Moreover it is relevant in that this is the same design in the ePower Note and Serena sold in Japan though they have replaced diesel with petrol. Last I checked the ePower Note was the best selling car in Japan yet again and the Serena was in the top five. The reason this is relevant is because this design was proven in the 1970’s and there were no technical barriers in the late 1990s when these designs in this article were offered.

I used lead batteries for 25 yrs and beat the pants off similar ICEs in costs. Only that used lithium costs the same as new lead has made it worth switching.
And at times I used them as serial hybrids for long distance.

Did you miss the part this was two decades ago? They weren’t buying the electronics, motors, inverters, etc.. off the shelf.

“Did you miss the part this was two decades ago? ”

If you were responding to me then the answer is no I didn’t miss that. The original Prius design or the Voltec Were much more challenging engineering endeavors. The Prius was a contemporary. GM has real engineers. I flat out reject that they lacked the technical competence.

Lead acid might be cheaper, but those large format, low volume production units are still very pricy. Ask anyone who has owned an electric forklift for any great amount of time. Often the cost of replacing the batteries is what will doom an electric lift to the scrap heap. It often costs more than the lift is worth used. I seen two scrapped for that reason alone. Those batteries are expensive!

While certainly not the general purpose vehicles that the Ranger and S-10 EVs were, the history of electric trucks goes back much farther.
EVs were used in Britain for milk and mail delivery extensively in the 30s and 40s.
The electric milk floats being one of the best examples of an entire class of early EV trucks.

Thank you. Low-speed milk trucks are indeed an example of how limited EV tech was before li-ion batteries. Lightly built, low speed vehicles like milk trucks are one of the few market niches in which EVs were able to successfully compete with ICEVs.

These were EV1 era vehicles. As a reminder, the first generation of the EV1 used lead-acid batteries.

Like the EV1, these pickups were no more than test market vehicles, and they had rather limited range. Certainly nothing that could ever possibly have become a mainstream seller.

It even in their short production span, they were continually improved upon.
It’s not like they were just tokens.

I don’t regard test market vehicles as mere tokens. There was a genuine effort by GM, if not other auto makers, to explore the market for electric cars circa 1998-2001. But it was too early for anything both practical and affordable, in the market for highway-capable, street-legal EV passenger vehicles.

GM created some truly groundbreaking EV tech. Alan Cocconi invented the modern AC motor inverter, which is the tech that made possible the revival of the EV… after a long hiatus following the EVs of our grandparents’ (or great-grandparents’) generation. Cocconi worked at GM at the time he invented that, and later went on to co-found AC Propulsion… whose tZero BEV supercar led to Tesla Motors’ Roadster.

Interesting how all modern highway-capable EV passenger vehicles can trace their origins back to the prototype EV that lead to the EV1!

There are still some of those S10’s around, you could actually buy some of them when they took all the others back, they all didn’t get crushed.

That was a bit of a headache for GM because they had to supply spare parts for a number of years afterwards.

They were front wheel drive, shared a lot of components with the EV1

Atlis is not a real truck yet.

yeah for aure theres a long history of production runs of electric vehicles

1920s and possibly into the 30s: usa- devco – detroit electric vehicle co – (later became divco – detroit industrial vehicle co) .. electric delivery trucks!! battery and cold issues, as usual

1945 post war japan – nissan made small production runs of electric light duty trucks as the response to needing to get back to work but being decimated by nuclear bombs. range issues but theyre cute and could be scaled up a little improved a lot range wise and brought back to life!!

as a tradesperson and career fabricator i can only say im.perpetually disappointed by the lack of options for the rest of us lower level income workers, especially when all these new ones are all $50k+

Atlis is not real yet, they only have $1M dollars and renderings. You should not be promoting them quite yet.

Usually when something is photo-shopped there is a con-game ongoing. I’m surprised IEVs would want to be assisting that.

OK, I call bull on most of this tripe. I’m STILL driving my 2000 NiMH Ford Ranger EV I originally leased in early 2000, then was able to purchase around 2005 when Ford tried to crush them. Been charging my NiMH pack thousands of times since then and my pack is fine. Some degradation but it’s a pickup! I’m not driving 100s of miles a day, but using it as a handy, half ton capacity work horse.

BTW: whoever said Lithium ion batteries weren’t available back then should look up the 1998 Nissan Altra CUV/SUV before there was such a thing. They had a 100 mile range and a nifty chartreuse paint job. That was my preferred car but was not able to snare one back them.

Also, Who Killed the Electric Car was damn accurate (I was in it briefly) and the killer was the manufacturers who HATED having to comply with California’s ZEV requirements, and took them down. Also take a peak at the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments that kept me employed as a compliance consultant during that time. Ever heard of Cap & Trade? Sellable Air Credits Before 1998? I thought not.

Voted up for being a pioneer.

In practice, Ni-MH has proven to be durable in service.

Thanks for the shout out. I’ve been bemoaning what could have been if the manufacturers, oil companies and other villains crushed (figuratively and otherwise) the EV market. Imagine how far we could have come with a 15 year head start. Believe it or not, the fuel cell cartel delivered the fatal blow (and I was there, at a meeting at Argonne Labs which the FC industry was selling FC for military uses for fuel. Batteries, etc. Somehow CARB got dragged in to the mix and Bobs your uncle. ZEV requirements were butchered while FC got all the credits. Sorry for the rant, but growing up in Los Angeles in the 50s and 60s and the worst ozone problems in the US tends to search for solutions.

Where would we be if Ford and Edison had continued developing battery autos at the turn of the Century? Where would we be if Ford and GM had continued to develop battery trucks in 1997 instead of working and lobbying against their innovation? Where will Ford and GM be if they don’t at last embrace battery electric drive?

The Ford/Edison collaboration gambled on Edison improving his nickel-iron battery enough to keep it competitive with the fast-progressing gasmobile. I did a lot of online research on nickel-iron many years ago for EV reasons, but what I found is that little has been done since Edison’s time to improve their energy density. They’re pretty much only made in China and they aren’t cheaper than lead-acid. They are very very durable.

Nickel-iron “Edison” has a very low voltage (1.2 V) per cell. Lead-acid has a medium voltage (2.2 V) per cell.Lithium-Ion has the highest voltage (average 3.7 V) per cell. The lighter weight per cell gives the lithium-ion a higher energy density per weight, too.

When these vehicles start using my hydraulic driven wheels ; the future of automotive innovation will begin!

The video is incorrect on them being 4×4 capable. Neither truck was 4×4 however they were built on the 4×4 chassis which could handle the increased weight of the batteries. I drove my 2000 Ford Ranger EV for 86,000+ miles from 2007 to 2012. The Nimh battery pack still had 80% of its capacity left. Sold it when we bought our Leaf and Model S.

Matt, I’m still drinking my 2000 NiMH Ranger EV. Got it new in Feb 2000, and have almost 70k miles. Hardly any maintenance, but about 40% drop in range, but it works for me!

Electric power aside, note that both the Ford Ranger and Chevy S-10 went out of production. The giant truck boom became entirely about full-size trucks, the more gargantuan the better.

This fact disproves the claim that ordinary consumers buy pickups just because they occasionally “need” to carry outsized objects that their parents and grandparents mysteriously did not. If that were true, statistical probability would likely mean that a substantial % of such people would have chosen the midsize pickups that can in fact carry outsized objects, just not ones that weigh a ton. That’s not what happened. They chose the biggest possible trucks because the cost and fuel penalty was small compared to something else that they valued, almost certainly not a particular payload that was just a foot longer or six inches wider.

While that may be true in some respects the manufacturers didn’t help. The Mid size truck market had very few benefits for the average customer. The vehicles had no better fuel efficiency and purchase/maintenance costs were minimally different when new, BUT the full size trucks were far more capable vehicles in most circumstances – higher towing and payload ratings as well as the larger beds and more cab space. The only real reason to get a midsize over a fullsize at that point was if you really needed the smaller size of the mid (say one would fit in your garage and the other not). This was subsequently made worse by most manufacturers (except Toyota with the Tacoma, positioned as a more off road oriented vehicle) up until relatively recently, because declining sales of mid sized trucks (due to above) meant they were refreshed far less often and lost even more ground technologically. This has changed a bit in the last couple of years, with the midsize market seemingly becoming much more buoyant again, in part because a bunch of new midsized trucks have been released recently that are actually quite capable, with the disparity in payload and towing far… Read more »

You know what’s crazy? This guy’s article is only as good as his Google. in 1994, the University of California Riverside was working on a FCEV Ford Ranger, so while not available to the public, it was around before 1997. At the time, it was a bolt-on cylindrical tank in the truck bed which produced 90 miles of range. In fact, research there continues today:

Back in 1994, I felt that hydrogen was an issue for the vehicle program they were running. The tank may have been able to take a .22 bullet and not burst, but that was not the only part of the design that contained pressurized hydrogen.

As if YouTubers have the edge on information… You’re better off talking to a scientist on your own than investing your time on 20 minutes of maybe 4-5 facts.

Come on, man. I thought this could have been about electric delivery vehicles from the early 1900’s.

I remember electric chain drive delivery trucks in Philadelphia in the 40’s. They usually were delivering for the large department stores.