Electric Trucks for Off-Roading

Electric Trucks For Off Roading
Ford F-150 Lightning

The Rise of Electric Trucks for Off-Roading

By Jack Shaw


A new era for off-road enthusiasts has arrived as automakers prioritize electric vehicles (EVs). Iconic models like the Ford F-150 and Chevrolet Silverado have electric options, demonstrating the auto industry’s innovation. What does the rise of EVs mean for driving in the woods on uneven terrain? Here’s a guide on the rise of electric trucks for off-roading. 

The Rise of All-Electric Trucks

The first electric trucks emerged nearly three years ago when Rivian unveiled the R1T. With its electric battery pickup, this mid-size truck surpassed the big three automakers — Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis. In 2022, Ford was the next to introduce an electric truck as the F-150 Lightning rolled off production that spring. These vehicles signal a change in tradition as electric motors replace fuel tanks on the streets and in the woods. 

More auto manufacturers have joined the electric pickup truck craze, as GM and Dodge have models on the streets or in production plans. 2024 marks the first model year for the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the third for the GMC Hummer EV Pickup. Dodge says its Ram 1500 REV will debut in late 2024.

The future is bright for electric trucks as auto manufacturers build and improve these machines with each model year. Researchers are optimistic about the electric off-road vehicle’s outlook, predicting a 12% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) between now and 2032. The market was worth about $100 million in 2022, and experts say this value should reach $400 million by the next decade. 

What Makes Electric Trucks Unique for Off-Roading? 

While some see EVs as city cars, others see electric trucks as a unique opportunity to level up their off-roading. Here are four reasons electric trucks suit your needs when riding on the trails. 

Excellent Torque

The most significant off-road advantage for electric trucks might be their torque. Driving a Ford F-150 Lightning or a Chevrolet Silverado EV gives you maximum torque even at zero revolutions per minute (RPM). The electric motor generates a magnetic field and produces maximum power at once. This feature helps off-roaders accelerate and navigate hills and rocks more easily.

Regenerative Braking

Braking is integral to off-roading, helping you remain safe despite the uneven terrain. You must brake as you navigate sharp corners, roll down steep hills and stop when wildlife enters the road. Hitting the brake pedal would hinder your efficiency in a gas-powered vehicle, but electric trucks can conserve energy in this process.

Electric trucks use regenerative braking to recapture energy lost when braking, returning this power to the battery for later. This feature extends the range of EVs and helps them last longer on the trail. There are two types of regenerative braking — mechanical and electrical. Most battery-electric vehicles use the electrical system because of its powerful motor. This option is more efficient by maximizing the amount of energy recaptured. 

Reduced Environmental Impact

Sustainability is a major reason for the rise of electric trucks in off-roading. These machines produce zero emissions because they don’t consume fossil fuels. Therefore, they’re much better for the environment by removing greenhouse gases from the exhaust pipes. Trucks with internal combustion (IC) engines emit carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and other harmful gases.

Off-roading brings riders closer to nature as they ride through the woods, desert and mountains. Trucks with IC engines harm the environment through their emissions, but electric pickups are more suitable because their impact is minimal. 

Less Wildlife Disturbance

While reducing emissions is critical, electric trucks also help off-roaders by minimizing noise pollution. Battery-electric motors are nearly silent when you turn the ignition, letting you enjoy a quiet ride through the woods. A quiet truck means you can be stealthier while driving and less of a nuisance to wildlife.

The near silence of electric trucks has caused regulators to change how automakers produce these vehicles. Manufacturers must install artificial sounds to comply with federal guidelines or risk a penalty. You get as much sound from your tires as the motors, alerting wildlife as you drive.  


Peak torque means electric trucks are easier to tow. Off-roaders like this feature because many enjoy hauling RVs, trailers, bikes and other vehicles. The max capacity puts electric trucks on par or better with some IC machines on the market. For example, the Ford F-150 Lightning has a maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds, depending on which trim you get. 

This capacity falls under class 4, exceeding most modern vehicles’ capabilities. The Chevrolet Silverado EV also has a 10,000-pound capacity, demonstrating the automakers’ priorities in making their electric trucks suitable for off-road use. 

What Off-Roading Improvements Do Electric Trucks Need?

While electric trucks are the future of off-roading, automakers are searching for ways to optimize these machines. Here are a few improvements to look for in the future:

    • Range: Heavy trucks need a powerful battery, and today’s lithium-ion devices only get you so far. Future electric trucks could benefit from solid-state batteries with higher energy density. 
  • Reliability: Electric trucks are relatively new, so auto manufacturers are still working out the kinks. In the meantime, consumers have reported issues the automakers must address in future models. For example, Consumer Reports lists the Rivian R1T among its least reliable vehicles
  • Charging Infrastructure: The U.S. has 170,000 public chargers for EVs, but finding these stations in rural areas is challenging. Expanding the charging infrastructure to rural areas will alleviate this concern.

Producing Electric Trucks for Off-Roading

EVs are the future of automobiles on city streets and trails. Electric trucks are becoming mainstream in off-roading as riders enjoy maximum torque, sustainability and advanced technology. While manufacturers have room for improvement, the future of electric trucks in off-roading is bright.

Author Bio

Jack Shaw is the senior editor of the men’s lifestyle magazine Modded and has written extensively about electric vehicles, sustainable practices and maintaining a green lifestyle through your everyday actions. His writing can be found in Green Living Journal, Packaging Digest, EcoHotels and more.