By Kyle Field
Mesa, Arizona–based Atlis Motor Vehicles* has set its sights on perhaps the most lucrative segment of the internal combustion vehicle market head on — pickup trucks. Founder and CEO Mark Hanchett is a truck guy through and through and was simply mystified that nobody had built an electric pickup truck. “I see pickup trucks as one of the most versatile vehicles on the market,” Mark shared.
Pickup trucks are the one class of vehicles where electrification is perhaps the most logical. According to Car and Driver, the top 3 new vehicles by sales volume in the United States last year were trucks. Between them, they sold nearly 2,000,000 units in 2017 alone. That’s a nice juicy market that has yet to be addressed by a fully electric alternative.
- Ford F-Series (896,764 sold)
- Chevrolet Silverado (585,864 sold)
- Ram Pickup (500,723 sold)
Mark imagined a future where a fully electric truck would make the things he loved to do with his family and friends better and easier. “In the future, I can have a vehicle that I love that can do a large number of things that I find interesting,” Mark related. “A vehicle where I can go out and explore again and have fun again and not worry about everything else that’s involved in it.” An electric powertrain in a truck truck not only cleans up the emissions footprint, but it also provides for an immense amount of design flexibility that shores up some of the downfalls of internal combustion trucks.
The Atlis XT pickup truck
Inspired by this vision and frustrated that none of the existing automakers were taking it upon themselves to build an electric pickup truck, Mark founded Atlis Motor Vehicles and set to work designing what would eventually become the fully electric Atlis XT pickup truck.
The team at Atlis Motor Vehicles is working to build the future of trucks with its new fully electric XT pickup truck that brings an impressive array of features to the table that will make the Atlis XT a top contender if not the first choice for truck buyers across the nation.
For starters, the fully electric Atlis XT will be designed and assembled in the USA, which gives buyers yet another option to buy locally built products. As a special bonus, with more and more of US electricity coming from locally produced renewables, it can run on locally produced renewable electricity instead of burning imported oil. That’s good for your neighbor down the street with wind turbines on his farm and provides an incentive for owners to generate their own power by adding a few solar panels to their rooftops.
Range for work or for play
The XT sports an impressive 300-mile range as the base, meaning it will come with a battery pack with at least 100 kilowatt-hours of storage. For those that need more range, Atlis is planning to offer a 400-mile and 500-mile variants, highlighting one of the key strengths of an electric truck — adding extra weight for more batteries and more range isn’t the end of the world.
Trucks were mean for hauling stuff around and if anything, adding some ballast to the platform will allow Atlis to optimize the weight distribution of the vehicle. No more bouncing around with no traction simply because the truck bed is empty — batteries can be used to not just electrify them, but to improve on the handling and performance from day 1.
Atlis is designing the battery packs using an industry standard lithium ion NMC chemistry, but the team there is keeping an eye to the future for the next big thing in batteries. Batteries are quickly falling in price, shrinking in size, and getting lighter, so Mark sees the future of batteries as an opportunity for the company to do more in its vehicle for less money in the coming years. That could play out as more range for the same money or a more affordable version.
What’s important about the battery is that the battery pack is being designed to enable a full charge — from empty to full — in just 15 minutes with the Atlis Advanced Charger. Atlis plans to build and deploy its new charging network with a flat subscription model that allows drivers to use it as much as needed, alleviating any worries about needing to find a charger, regardless of where vacation or work might take the vehicle.
Mark shared that,”from a charging station standpoint, it will be a progressive rollout based on where we’re making sales and what our key customers are doing with the vehicles.” The XT will also be compatible with slower charging standards, including J1772 and CCS, to allow drivers maximum flexibility when building out or looking for chargers.
Specs to drool over
On the powertrain side, the XT has 4 independent traction motors complemented by 4-wheel independent, self-leveling air suspension to ensure maximum traction. The suspension provides for a full 12 inches of ground clearance with no ‘pumpkin’ or differential between the rear wheels to worry about when taking it off road.
Everything about this truck makes it clear that it has been designed to be a serious work truck. Check out these stats to get a feel for what that means in the real world:
- Equivalent or better payload capability to current trucks, up to 5,000 lbs
- Equivalent or better towing capability to current trucks, up to 35,000 lbs GCWR for fifth-wheel towing
- Gradeability 6% at 65 mph indefinitely (no time or distance limit other
than battery capacity) at full load for all versions
- Extended cab or crew cab
- 0 – 60 in less than 5 seconds, unloaded
- 0 – 60 in less than 18 seconds, fully loaded at max GCWR
- Top speed 120mph
- Pricing from $45,000
This set of specs make it clear that the XT is not only a serious player in the truck market, but that it has the potential to lead the market in almost every important metric. I mean c’mon, it has a frunk. What more could a guy want from a truck? Atlis is already looking to the future to make the XT as open of a platform as possible for the numerous aftermarket body, rack and accessory providers to bolt onto.
Atlis XP Platform
Greg Hassler, vice president of business operations at Atlis, shared with me that, “conceptually, all trucks are basically a body on frame construction.” With an electric vehicle, that concept still makes sense and opens up the possibility of using that base rolling chassis and powertrain as a product. Atlis was apparently way ahead of me on this one because the design of the XT follows this line of thinking.
“It’s not like we’re going out of our way to develop a new platform,” Greg shared. Because why would you if you’ve already done all the heavy lifting to build the platform that you need for your truck? Atlis is looking to capitalize on this — and the market for customized trucks — by using its rolling chassis for the basis of its XP Platform.
The XP platform is the “skateboard” that will be made available to upfitters who are interested in developing recreational vehicles, step vans, and more with Atlis’ tech.
Looking to the future
Mark and the team at Atlis are working on the XT, with plans to show off the prototype in early 2019. From there, the work shifts to dialing in the production process and making refinements to the vehicle along the way. The XT will go into limited production in 2020, with a target of producing about 100 vehicles for key customers.
Mark shared that, “We need to get the truck out there. We need people to see it and to drive it.” Atlis plans to work closely with the owners of those early vehicles to refine the manufacturing process and if needed, the design of the vehicle before ramping up production
For more information about Atlis, its truck or its rolling chassis, head over to the official Atlis website to make a reservation or hop on over to its Start Engine crowdfunding site to invest directly in the company. This article does not constitute investment advice. As with any investment, you should seek the advice of a professional financial advisor before making investments.
Disclaimer: This article was sponsored by Atlis Motor Vehicles; all image courtesy of Atlis Motor Vehicles. While we at CleanTechnica do like to promote companies and technologies we think are helping the world and have a bright future, we do not provide investment advice — use your own judgement or consult an investment professional if you are thinking about putting investment into a company or project.
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