Telo Trucks: The New EV Startup That Could Capitalize on America’s Pickup Truck Obsession
The electric vehicle (EV) market is a tough nut to crack, with many startups struggling to make a dent in the industry. However, a new entrant to the marketplace, Telo Trucks, could capitalize on America’s obsession with pickup trucks. The San Carlos, California-based brand is promising hand-built, compact-size pickup truck-capable EVs with 500 horsepower, a 60-inch pickup bed, and 350 miles of range, all for a starting price of $50,000. While the company has yet to produce a unit, its unique approach to EVs could give it an edge in the market.
Telo Trucks is taking a different approach to EVs than many of its competitors. Instead of producing luxury sedans or trying to compete with Ford for electric pickup-truck supremacy, the company is following in the footsteps of Japanese manufacturers decades ago. Its first pint-sized electric MT1 pickup truck is only 152 inches long, matching a four-door Mini Cooper in dimensions. Despite its small size, the MT1 features a 60-inch bed and room for five passengers through its four-door design. The bed is big enough for four-by-eight-foot sheets of plywood, long ladders, and even a nine-foot surfboard with the tailgate closed. The company achieves this packaging feat by scrunching the usable passenger cabin into the size of a compact car, with a cropped front overhang that helps improve driver leg room.
According to Forrest North, CTO and co-founder of Telo Trucks, “By focusing on the design and placement of the battery pack within the truck’s chassis, we are able to not only create a roomier crew cab but also develop a vehicle that is practical for its users.” The company’s patent-pending battery packs are space-optimized to provide an impressive 350-mile range in between charges in its small footprint, while being highly manufacturable.
The MT1 is said to make 500 horsepower thanks to its undisclosed battery and a pair of electric motors, creating the model’s four-wheel-drive system. With a curb weight of 4400 pounds, the MT1 has a claimed zero-to-60-mph sprint of four seconds flat. However, that much horsepower is probably put to better use hauling mulch. Notably, the early release materials’ use of the term 4WD, as opposed to all-wheel drive, indicates the possibility of a switchable drivetrain for increased range or low-traction situations.
Design by Yves Béhar
The boxy, matte-finished EV is designed by Yves Béhar, whose previous work is featured through brands like Herman Miller, Samsung, SodaStream, and Prada. The MT1 takes on an almost commercial look and is aimed at city dwellers who see themselves as outdoorsy weekend warriors. The truck looks more like a modern Renault EV than a burly Rivian truck, a characteristic Béhar seemingly wanted to avoid. Even so, the dimensions of the MT1 are hard to deny, as it stands shorter than a Toyota RAV4.
$152 Deposits Being Accepted Now
If this conceptual EV is calling out to you, it’s worth jumping on it for the low price of a refundable $152 deposit ahead of the $50,000 price point, even if the MT1 doesn’t make it to production until 2025. The company says the first 500 units will be hand-built for 2025, with mass deliveries from its San Carlos, California, facility starting in 2026. With the potential for federal and local EV tax credits included, Telo makes a case for itself on price alone, as long as the company can gain traction within an increasingly tough EV startup market.
The Future of Telo Trucks
Telo Trucks is a new entrant to the EV market, and its unique approach to EVs could give it an edge in the industry. The company’s focus on compact-size pickup trucks with impressive range and horsepower could appeal to American consumers who are obsessed with pickups. However, Telo Trucks is still in its early stages, and the company has yet to produce a unit. It remains to be seen whether Telo Trucks can gain traction in the EV startup market, but its low price point and potential tax credits could make it an attractive option for consumers.