9 electric vehicles and pickup trucks that you probably didn’t know existed

You might assume that the electric car revolution only took hold in the past decade – but you’d be wrong. The earliest electric vehicles are as old as the car itself, and today’s mass-market sellers are the product of decades of development, often in the face of brutal economic realities and just as often only as a result of forward-thinking legislators trying to force car manufacturers to do more. Let’s take a look back at some early models built to tempt us away from petrol and diesel cars and try electric propulsion – none of which could be described as commercial successes, but all of which have a greater or lesser bearing on the cars we drive today or will do tomorrow.

9 electric vehicles and pickup trucks that you probably didn't know existed
9 electric vehicles and pickup trucks that you probably didn’t know existed (image by: dasweltauto.com)

Ford Focus EV

Made in America and sold in America, the Ford Focus EV was on sale from 2011 to 2018. It aimed to ensure Ford didn’t lag behind in developing green technology. However, it highlighted just how far off the pace it was. The Focus EV was a modified version of the successful European-focused family hatch, powered by an electric motor with up to 123bhp and a lithium-ion battery pack providing up to 155 miles of range. Unfortunately, fewer than 10,000 sales were recorded in the United States due to its limited boot space and other design limitations.

Chevrolet S-10 EV

Electric pick-up trucks are all the rage today, but back in 1997, the idea of driving one without a V8 or V6 engine was considered outlandish. Chevy tried to tap into this market with the S-10 EV, borrowing heavily from the General Motors EV1 coupé powertrain. Initially offering a range of about 50 miles, it later improved to around 90 miles. Despite Chevy’s efforts, sales figures told their own story, and the S-10 EV was quietly retired from sale.

Ford Ranger EV

Ford wanted to do better than Chevy, so in 1998, it launched the electric Ford Ranger, marking the Blue Oval’s first foray into commercializing an EV. The Ranger EV remained on sale until 2002, long after the S-10 EV was consigned to history. Initially equipped with lead-acid batteries and an 87-mile range, it later switched to nickel-hydride technology, boosting the range to 115 miles.

While these forgotten electric vehicles may not have dominated the market, they paved the way for the electric revolution we see today. As we embrace new electric models, let’s remember these pioneers that quietly pushed the boundaries of automotive technology.

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