Despite the growing selection of electric trucks set to hit the market, there are few truly cheap options. Especially since Tesla delayed the launch of its cheapest Cybertruck. And even though the Rivian R1T will be cheaper than expected, it still won’t be inexpensive. If electric pickups are ever going to be more than just lifestyle status symbols, cheaper models will be necessary. Luckily, for those interested in an inexpensive electric workhorse truck, there is an example on the horizon: the Pickman.
The Kaiyun Motors Pickman lineup
The Kaiyun Motors Pickman isn’t exactly a heavy- or even a medium-duty electric truck, The Drive reports. It’s closer in size to a kei truck. However, it isn’t a kei truck, but rather a low-speed vehicle, imported from China by Kylectric Auto.
While that may seem like a technicality, it’s an important one. In some states, kei trucks can’t be registered as road-going vehicles. LSVs, though, don’t have the problem. Especially an electric truck LSV like the Pickman—no need to worry about California emissions regulations.
And despite its small size, the rear-wheel-drive Pickman is a capable worker. True, its single electric motor only makes 5.4 hp, and the electric truck has a 28-mph top speed. But the base model, available in 2-door Classic and 4-door Passenger trims, has a 2,205-lb payload capacity, Motor1 reports. Plus, the bed has fold-down sides for easier cargo access. And the Pickman can tow up to 4000 pounds.
Admittedly, its 70-mile range is rather small. Also, it’s not fast-charger-compatible; from empty, recharge time can take 8-10 hours. But then, this is less a commuter electric truck and more of a rechargeable, comfier side-by-side/UTV. Standard features on the Pickman Classic include a backup camera, USB outlet, and power windows. You can even fit it with tube doors like a Jeep Wrangler.
However, if you’re after something a bit more capable, there’s the Pickman XR. It has 2 electric motors, a 4-hp one in front, and a 10-hp one in the rear, giving it AWD. It has the same payload and towing capacities as the other models, and similar features. However, it also comes with roof-mounted solar panels and 2 ‘fast-swap’ battery packs. The larger pack is rated at 75 miles, and the auxiliary at 50 miles.
Pricing and availability
Initially, the Pickman was estimated to start at $7999, Quartz reports. However, the tiny electric truck now starts at $9999, with sales scheduled to start in September 2020. And the AWD XR starts at $15,999.
Given the Pickman’s somewhat-limited range and low speed, it may seem a bit like an expensive toy. But it’s significantly cheaper than Britain’s Morris JE electric truck, which retails for the equivalent of $75,000. The JE does have a slightly higher payload capacity and fast-charging capabilities, though.
However, the Pickman’s real US competitors are likely side-by-sides and UTVs, as well as specialist vehicles like Rokon’s motorcycles. The 2WD Rokon Ranger and Trail-Breaker are about $2000 cheaper, but they’re still gasoline-powered bikes with lower towing and payload capacities. And some side-by-sides cost almost as much as full-size pickup trucks.
Is the Pickman worth considering over other electric trucks?
The Pickman doesn’t match up well to full-size electric trucks. There are several Chinese-made models which are more expensive, but can travel at highway speeds. Though whether they make their way to the US is still uncertain.
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There’s also Ecotuned’s electric F-150 to consider. It’s compatible with Level 2 chargers, meaning significantly faster recharge times. Plus, the 86-kWh model can go up to 99 miles on a charge—while towing 14,500 pounds. It is significantly more expensive than the Pickman: the conversion costs $20,000-$30,000 minus the cost of the donor F-150. However, that still makes it cheaper than any electric truck Rivian, Nikola, Bollinger, Lordstown, or Tesla offers.
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