Trucks

This Rare All-Electric Chevy Pickup Truck Was Produced in 1997

Electric vehicles have garnered a lot of attention recently. Although many think of electric vehicles as being a rather new concept, these actually date back more than 22 years. That’s when Chevrolet became the first of the Big Three U.S. automakers to introduce an all-electric pickup truck: the Chevy S10. Let’s look at a few facts about this truck, which was exciting, innovative, and ahead of its time.

S10 history: first generation

Auto Influence reports that the Chevy S10 was first introduced in 1982 as a response to the 1970s oil embargoes. It was the first compact pickup truck, and was a take on the automaker’s earlier light utility vehicles.

The S10 was marketed as an affordable, fuel-efficient pickup that was available with either a four or six-cylinder engine. The first generation S10 was produced between 1982 and 1993 and came with either a regular or extended cab.

Electric version introduced

Chevrolet may have made history with the release of the first compact pickup truck. However, it was not satisfied with just providing a more fuel-efficient truck, and wanted something that was truly cutting-edge. The company proved that it was ahead of its time by releasing the very first all-electric Chevy S10 in 1997.

Electric S10s were originally leased to utility fleets, and included customers such as the U.S. Air Force, Virginia Power, and Detroit Edison. Unfortunately, it was very short-lived and was discontinued in 1998. Fewer than 500 were produced during the two model years, with only 60 being sold. The rest were destroyed in order to protect Chevy’s research developments.

Electric version charging

The electric model was solely powered by battery, and featured the detuned drivetrain of an earlier electric vehicle, the Chevy EV1. In all, there were 27 batteries that were capable of generating 114 hp and 85 kilowatts. The electric S10 had a range of 45 miles and would take around 2.5 hours to fully charge. 

When it came to charging, the S10 offered either a 220 V or 110 V convenience charger that was accessible behind the front license plate. The vehicles were plugged into charging stations that closely resemble those found today. The charging stations were safe and efficient, and could even be used while it was raining.

Second-generation to Chevy Colorado

The Chevy S10 was already in its second generation when the electric model debuted. The second-generation S10s came with both short and longer beds, along with a third door that allowed you to access a jump seat in the back of the cab. In 1998, the truck received a makeover that included a more stylish interior and dual airbags.

The second-generation Chevy S10 was produced until 2003. Beginning with the 2004 model year, it became known as the Chevrolet Colorado. This version was somewhat larger than the original compact pickup released in 1982, yet was still considered a small-to-midsized model. It was approximately two inches longer than the S10, had a three-inch taller wheelbase, and sat just slightly higher than the S10.

Modern Chevrolet Colorado

These days, the Chevy Colorado is one of the most popular mid-sized pickup trucks. It maintains the S10’s legacy by providing an option for those who want a truck but do not need to do lots of heavy hauling. By appealing to this demographic, the Colorado continues to impress consumers, many of whom were also fans of the S10 during its heyday.

Chevrolet made history when it unveiled the S10 pickup, and was far ahead of its competition when it released the electric version in 1997. Today, the Chevrolet Colorado continues to impress consumers with its great design, high performance, and compact, easy handling.