By on May 31, 2017

[Havelaar Canada Bison, Image: Havellar Canada]

A paradigm shift must have occurred within the truck community, as electric pickups are beginning to become more than just an easily dismissed theory posited by a bunch of fringe engineering weirdos. Tesla has already announced plans for an electrified pickup, Workhorse is toying with the idea of bringing its W-15 to the consumer market, and now the Canadian division of Havelaar Group has unveiled its own in Ontario.

Dubbed the Havelaar Bison, the pure-electric pickup uses twin motors to drive all four wheels simultaneously, with a battery unit that allows for a maximum range of about 186 miles. The firm claims the truck is designed for the very worst weather conditions the Great White North can throw at it, using its adaptive dynamics to mitigate varied surfaces. 

However, Havelaar is keeping a pretty tight lid on the specific components underpinning the Bison. The manufacturer claims it will possess a carbon fiber reinforced steel frame and “class-leading torsional stiffness” for enhanced durability and handling. Based off images of the truck’s frame, that will be further helped by the fancy-pants double wishbone setup allocated to each corner.

It’s also supposed to boast rugged off-road capabilities and allow for a 54-percent grade hill start with 21-percent hill climb, fully loaded. That information would be much more impressive if we had any idea what the maximum payload was. Havelaar didn’t mention hill assist, but specified the Bision would have “assistive technology calibrated to meet both the day-to-day work demands and active lifestyle needs of adventurers.” So, probably.

Other known elements include an external power port for tools and 46 cubic feet of external cargo space — with an additional 18 cubes of lockable storage. Combining the two averages out to a fairly standard box size, but having to split the difference limits loading options.

Concept drawings of the Bison hint at some pretty aggressive styling choices. The teaser images show a wedge-shaped hood, uncommon on just about every truck design in history. Havelaar calls the design “an evolutionary leap forward from traditional pickups.”

The physical representation is a little less extravagant but no less strange. The Bison seems to be a hodgepodge of sports car styling mixed with an F-150. It’s much lower than anticipated and houses a Tesla-like vertical touch screen in the center console with dial-based gear selection. Seating appears limited to two occupants.

Additional specification gaps should be filled as the Canadian firm continues work on the project (with help from the University of Toronto – Havelaar Electric Vehicle (UTHEV) Research Centre)  but we at least know what it looks like after today’s debut at the EV/VÉ Conference and Trade Show in Markham, Ontario. Hopefully, it assumes a more practical form in future incarnations and Havelaar does away with the Lamborghini-style badge before it finds itself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.

The vehicle’s timetable isn’t known, though Havelaar is currently taking reservations for the Bison, with those persons being first to receive pre-order information.

[Image: Havelaar Group Canada]

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7 Comments on “Canada Joins the Electric Pickup Scene with Its Havelaar Bison...”


  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Oh, the assumptions people make.

    “The physical representation is a little less extravagant but no less strange. The Bison seems to be a hodgepodge of sports car styling mixed with an F-150. It’s much lower than anticipated and houses a Tesla-like vertical touch screen in the center console with dial-based gear selection. Seating appears limited to two occupants.”

    Strange, yes. To be quite honest it is appealing because of that strangeness. Why? Let’s start off with the fact that despite being 4×4, it’s barely over 6′ tall; that’s a lower roofline than even my 2WD 1990 F-150 had. There is simply no reason for ridiculous ground clearance when it’s intended to be a practical vehicle. That lower center of gravity will notably reduce any risk of rollover in an accident.

    I have no problem with the digital displays either. Their ability to show more data in an easily-recognizable form will make operation much more intuitive once you get used to them.

    And as for the, ‘…limited to only two occupants,” that’s exactly what I’m looking for in a truck; a simple extended cab where the behind the seat space is primarily storage, offering only marginal and strictly temporary seating for any passengers in that space.

    Even the range, while less than 200 miles, is sufficient for 99% of my needs; I could even drive the truck up to the in-Laws if I wanted, on a single charge. Admittedly I’d have to plug in and recharge before returning home but their house has a 220v dryer outlet so plugging it in while I’m there wouldn’t be an issue, especially since we only go out ‘on the town’ once over a two-day weekend, giving it time to absorb as much charge as it needs.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    Looks kind of like a last gen Dakota up front.

  • avatar
    NMGOM

    This Bison looks like a dumb idea whose time has finally come.
    There are museums for Rube Goldberg devices that never worked (^_^).

    178 mile range? (My diesel gets ~ 1000.)
    Water Immersion Depth – not listed (Think the electric motors might short out?)
    Max HP and Torque – not listed
    Hauling capacity – not listed
    Towing capacity – not listed
    Ground clearance – not listed
    Break-over angle – not listed
    Departure angle – not listed
    RTI (articulation) – not listed
    Full Recharge Rate in hours – not listed
    Battery Pack life and Replacement Cost? (I keep my trucks for 15-20 years.)
    Estimated price – not listed ($60k maybe?)
    Continued Torque delivery towing up a long grade for 1 hour at 70 mph? Battery pack overheating, you say?
    Driving in Winter at -20 deg F. for 200miles? — can’t make it, you say? Can’t use heater, you say?

    Gee, are we seeing a trend here?
    Can you guess why there are so many things not listed or unspecified?
    BECAUSE THEY WOULD NOT BE COMPETITIVE!

    Only a eco-nut, whining liberal would ever consider such a disaster!
    You’d be way better off getting a simple basic Ram 1500 or Ford F-150 work truck for ~$38K.
    Even a basic Chevy Colorado, Toyota Tacoma, or Nissan Frontier for ~$28K might do better …

    ============================

    • 0 avatar
      brandloyalty

      Ironic you should mention water immersion depth. Probably it lacks edge of the earth sensors also.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Yeah, we’re seeing a trend. A trend of expecting finished-product details from a one-off prototype that probably doesn’t even have a thousand kilometers on it. When has any other brand given those kinds of details on a vehicle that far away from full production? I don’t even have to throw political insults to express the kind of person who makes such arguments.

      Things are not listed simply because it’s a prototype and judging by what little real data is available it appears to be designed actively using Tesla’s freely-released patent information. If you want to interpolate, interpolate based on Tesla’s Model X and you at least get a starting point. Hint: Max HP and Torque far, FAR above any factory-installed gas or diesel engine in a similarly-sized pickup truck. Hauling capacity possibly as high as 2500 pounds as the Model X towing capacity is at least 10,000 pounds (5 tons), though more likely to be around 1500 pounds.

      Ground clearance and other angles are likely to be low as this article clearly states it rides lower than “expected”. Honestly, if it rides more than 6″ high I’d be surprised and honestly quite pleased as higher simply isn’t necessary for the vast majority of drivers. After all, not all pickup trucks are mud-crawlers.

      Recharge rates will probably come in at about one hour for a full charge from empty (short about 3% if you follow the 70% rule of electronics (capacitance and inductance)) using a high-speed charger and probably about four hours if you use a level-2 charger at home. Even a 220v dryer outlet at 50-60Amps will probably give you a full charge overnight.

      Battery pack will probably (but not necessarily) be patterned after Tesla’s and maybe even built by Tesla–or it might be an LG pack roughly similar to what’s carried under the Chevy Volt and Chevy Bolt. I expect something more like 75-85kWh capacity however, considering the size of the vehicle and the expected range. Cost? By the time you need to replace it, maybe $50-$75/kWh. Meaning a low of $3750 to a high of $5625–not too much different from replacing an engine and transmission with crate units and probably far easier to install.

      I’d say your estimated price may be close, though that might be a bit low for the first few years until it establishes itself.

      Continued torque delivery depends almost solely on the size motors on each axle and the step-down gearing, though I doubt many gas or diesel powered truck will be able to match it on a grade; they already tend to slow down significantly when loaded. On the other hand, with regenerative braking there’s a much better chance of a controlled descent down the other side as you won’t be burning up your brakes to manage the load.

      Battery pack overheating? The only time we hear about that is when a BEV is running at maximum output for an extended period. Hey, if you’re pushing it that hard, why are you even on a public highway? You deserve whatever happens.

      And driving in winter will have minimal effect; Tesla proved that in the winter of 13/14 when they drove from Fremont, CA to New York, NY in four days through a dust storm and TWO blizzards (North Dakota and Ohio) in route. Interestingly, they made that trip using nothing but available Tesla Superchargers in a network that was far less populated than it is today. And yes, they did use their heaters… and even the radio for entertainment.

      My point? Spewing buzzword-filled nonsense only makes you look uneducated and unwilling to learn. Take the time to learn what is really happening in the world before you embarrass yourself with such vapid nonsense.

      Oh, yes, that Colorado, Tacoma, Frontier, whatever, might do better for some purposes but in extreme cold especially, you have to use engine block heaters and other things to keep the engine reliable while usually having to run the engine an excessive amount of time to even warm up the cabin–which could be started remotely while an electric is still plugged in without sacrificing even one watt of battery power until you’re ready to unplug it and roll.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Where can you drive uphill for 1 hour at 70 mph? Talk about a straw man comment.

      Even the Pikes Peak Hill Climb is only 12.4 miles.


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