The federal government has set sales targets for new vehicles, which must be exclusively electric by 2035, including for vans.

However, Canadians don’t yet have many choices when it comes to electric pickup trucks, with only the F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T as options. General Motors and Ram are expected to join the lineup in 2024.

Electric vans are designed to efficiently transport heavier loads, such as towing a trailer, like gas vans.

The energy-intensive vehicle label that sticks to gasoline-powered vans also applies to electric models. These need significant electrical charging.

“Your autonomy will be reduced because the truck works harder,” says the director of policies at Electric Mobility Canada, Louise Lévesque.

“If you’re towing something (with your pickup), you’ll use more gas per mile (and) your tank won’t take you as far as it normally would. The same goes for an electric version,” she mentions.

Mark Marmer, founder of the company Signature Electric, believes that electric vans should have greater battery consumption. According to him, these trucks are designed to transport heavy loads, which is not the case for an electric passenger vehicle.

However, Marmer acknowledges it can be a challenge if the driver has to stop more often.

“You have to be aware of charging (and) ask yourself if you have allowed enough time, if you know which charging device you should use if necessary, if you can get to your destination safely,” he said.

Sherbrooke resident Michael Laroche recognizes that his electric van consumes its charge more quickly when a trailer is attached to his vehicle.

Mr. Laroche replaced his Ford F-150 pickup truck with its electric twin, the F-150 Lightning, about a year and a half ago.

“When I drive without the trailer, I can go back and forth from Montreal without having to reload my vehicle,” he says.

From Sherbrooke, it’s a round trip of approximately 300 kilometers.

“But when I use the trailer, I have to charge the truck for 20 to 25 minutes using a fast charging station,” says the man who makes his living installing charging stations for electric vehicles.

He says he runs 300 to 400 miles a day, three or four times a week. Since replacing his combustion engine van with an electric vehicle, he says the cost of doing business has dropped significantly.

“I charge the truck overnight, for about 14 to 15 hours, and I’m ready to go,” Mr. Laroche mentioned in an interview.

He says his monthly electricity bill, which includes both household consumption and vehicle charging, now averages $350 for the past 15 months.

The bill is certainly high, but it represents a better solution than the $450 that Mr. Laroche spends each week on the purchase of gasoline, which allows him to save $1,400 per month on fuel.

Marmer says the truck’s battery size is larger than smaller electric vehicles, but the range remains the same.

“It has to do with the size of the vehicle. So there is no increase in autonomy, but the battery must be larger,” he explains.

The latest electric pickup trucks can be prohibitively expensive for those looking to replace their gas-powered counterpart, in part because of the premium finish and newness of the brand.

Marmer says electric vans, while more expensive for commercial use, are “incredibly” reliable.

According to him, electric vehicles generally operate with a simple mechanism, compared to a gasoline or diesel vehicle.

“This simplicity is that of the vehicle itself and the little care it takes to operate it is really what will make it last.”