A white car is plugged into a public electric vehicle charging station.
Business Insider

When to buy an electric work truck for your business

The hybrid or fully electric pickup trucks on the market now are highly appealing. Contractors and tradespeople might be considering making the switch from their traditional gas- or diesel-powered work trucks to one of these new models featuring fuel-efficient technology.

While a vehicle purchase is something everyone should consider carefully, the factors in making a selection are unique for trade professionals. Discover potential benefits of an electric work truck and see if it makes sense for you to switch.

Benefits of an electric work truck

While a new electric work truck comes with a higher sticker price, it can pay dividends over time. Gas prices fluctuate but remain a big expense. Trimming that line item from your budget for the next 10 to 20 years will pay off.

In addition, electric vehicles require less maintenance over time, so you could save on mechanic’s bills as well as lost time when the truck is in the shop.

Another benefit is attracting environmentally conscious customers, who might prefer to choose a contractor with a lower carbon footprint.

So, is it time to buy an electric or hybrid pickup truck for your pro trade business? Maybe. Here’s what to consider before shopping.

What to consider when shopping for an electric or hybrid work truck

While electric and hybrid vehicles offer increased fuel efficiency for the average consumer, contractors and tradespeople need to consider how they will be using their work truck on a daily basis.

By analyzing usage of their current work truck and comparing it to the features and maintenance requirements of hybrid and electric pickup trucks on the market, contractors can decide when it’s the right time to make the switch.

Daily mileage

Consider how many miles you drive on the job each day. The batteries that power fully electric vehicles need to be charged after driving a certain number of miles, which varies from one model to the next.

Contractors should track their average daily mileage in their current work truck to make sure a prospective electric model would be able to meet their driving requirements without having to stop and charge. Depending on the model, charging may take anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours.

Type of mileage

Knowing how a vehicle would be used in terms of driving city or highway miles is especially important for hybrid trucks. The battery in a standard hybrid vehicle is charged when the driver brakes. When the battery runs low, the vehicle switches to gas.

Contractors operating businesses in rural areas where long trips on the highway are part of the job may not need to brake enough to regenerate the battery, which could result in more gas being used.

Contractors operating in urban or suburban areas, however, may benefit from increased fuel efficiency because of having to brake frequently. So, consider whether you drive mostly city or highway miles.

Available charging stations

As more electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles become available, the demand for charging stations will increase. Some areas have met or are working toward meeting this demand, but this is not the case everywhere.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers a searchable map so you can see if there are public charging stations in your area. Research options in terms of charging station availability before investing in an electric work truck.

Payload requirements

For many contractors, their work truck is a warehouse on wheels and carries all the parts, tools and equipment they need for their jobs every day. This means contractors need a truck that will carry all the extra weight.

Electric work trucks now have high towing capacities, but a prospective electric or hybrid truck’s payload rating is a factor contractors should take into consideration when truck shopping.

Pro tip: Having a well-organized work truck or van can help contractors work more efficiently. Explore work truck organization tips.

Service locations

While maintenance requirements are lower, hybrid and electric vehicles operate differently compared to traditional gas- and diesel-powered counterparts. So, you may have fewer options in terms of mechanic shops that can provide service.

Because your business depends on your work truck, it’s important to be sure you’ll be able to get it serviced in a timely manner if and when you need it.

Time to go green with an electric work truck?

Electric and hybrid trucks may be the future for contractors. For the time being, contractors need to weigh all the pros and cons of ownership and be certain the vehicle they buy will allow them to serve their customers in the same or better capacity.

For more eco-friendly ideas that can help boost your bottom line, visit Green Ideas.