You've probably heard electric vehicle skeptics pointing out that it's weird that automakers are choosing massive vehicles, such as full-size pickup trucks, to lead the way into a future of electrification. However, a University of Michigan and Ford Motor Company study suggests that electric pickup trucks will provide a greater greenhouse gas reduction than other light-duty EVs.
According to the study, all fully electric light-duty vehicles – including sedans, crossovers, SUVs, and full-size pickup trucks – emit about 64% fewer life-cycle emissions than gas-powered cars on average in the US. This accounts for everything from the car's manufacturing process all the way to its end of use. We do know that the manufacturing process for EVs creates more carbon emissions, but they more than make up for it over time thanks to zero tailpipe emissions.
University of Michigan professor Greg Keoleian shared in the press release:
“This is an important study to inform and encourage climate action. Our research clearly shows substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions that can be achieved from transitioning to electrified powertrains across all vehicle classes."
The Ford/UofM study – “The role of pickup truck electrification in the decarbonization of light-duty vehicles," which was published online in the journal Environmental Research Letters on March 1 – also points out that replacing a gas-powered pickup truck with a fully electric version, such as the Ford F-150 Lightning, will result in the reduction of some 75 metric tons of carbon emissions on average over the lifetime of the vehicle.
About 58% of US transportation-related emissions come from light-duty passenger cars, trucks, and SUVs. Pickup trucks made up about 14% of all US vehicle sales in 2020, and consumer interest in trucks, as well as SUVs, continues to rise on our shores. If more people keep buying full-size gas-powered trucks and large SUVs, emissions will continue to skyrocket. This is precisely why it makes sense to quickly replace them with electric vehicles.
The study took an in-depth look at the life cycle emissions of pickup trucks as compared to sedans and SUVs. It found that while the percentage savings are relatively close among all vehicle classes, swapping a gas-powered sedan with a similar EV saves 45 metric tons of carbon emissions. For an SUV, that number increases to 56 tons. However, replacing a gas-powered pickup truck with an electric truck "saves 74 metric tons carbon dioxide equivalent over the lifetime of the vehicles."
For more details on the study, follow the source link to Ford's press release below. If you'd like to check out the entire study for yourself, follow this link to the online journal, Environmental Research Letters.