In 2020, a number of auto manufacturers released or announced a soon-to-be release of hybrid or fully-electric pickup trucks. As such, 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.
So is it time to buy an electric or hybrid pickup truck for your pro trade business? The short answer is maybe. 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.
What to consider when shopping for an electric or hybrid work truck
- How many miles do I 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.
- Are there charging stations in my area?
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. Contractors should research their options in terms of charging station availability in their area before investing in an electric work truck.
- Do I mostly drive city or highway miles?
The battery in a standard hybrid vehicle is charged when the driver brakes. When the battery runs low, the vehicle switches to gas. Knowing how a vehicle would be used in terms of driving city or highway miles is important for this reason. 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.
- What are my 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. Paying attention to a prospective electric or hybrid truck’s payload rating is another factor contractors should take into consideration when truck shopping.
- Will I be able to find convenient service locations?
Hybrid and electric vehicles operate differently compared to traditional gas and diesel powered counterparts. As such, their maintenance requirements are different and may have fewer options in terms of mechanic shops that can provide service. Because a contractor’s business depends on their work truck, it’s important for contractors to be sure they’ll be able to get their work truck serviced in a timely manner if and when they need it.
Pro tip: Having a well-organized work truck or van can help contractors work more efficiently. Explore work truck organization tips.
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. Check out Business Insider to explore more ideas to help you run your contracting business.