By on January 7, 2019

It didn’t seem like it was all that long ago when the idea of an electric pickup was patently ridiculous. Now, they’re emerging from the woodwork like an incestuous family of rats. Workhorse first unveiled the W-15 in 2017, Rivian followed with the R1T less than a year later, and Tesla aims to reveal its own all-electric pickup sometime before 2020. In the interim, Atlis Motor Vehicles is putting the finishing touches on its own electric truck — the all-new XT.

Unlike some of its would-be competition, the XT is banking on ability rather than accessibility. Atlis wants to offer a proper full-sized pickup that doesn’t sacrifice anything just because it’s electric. The company promises payloads of up to 5,000 pounds and a dually version capable of towing 35,000 pounds up a 6-percent grade at 65 mph. It also suggests a ludicrous maximum range, meaningful suspension options, plenty of new automotive tech, and advanced driving aids that will (of course) someday evolve into fully autonomous transportation. 

With specs like these, we’re feeling a little cautious. A range of 500 miles would represent a massive achievement in present-day battery technology. While Rivian promises range in excess of 400 miles with a 180-kWh pack, Atlis seems to think it can do better. However, it should be noted that the firm was careful to say “up to” 500 miles, which saves it from having to deliver the whole hog come production time — assuming production time eventually comes.

The XT’s towing capabilities are equally impressive. Depending on configuration, the Atlis has a conventional towing ability between 5,000 and 20,000 pounds, a 5th-wheel trailering capacity of up to 35,000 pounds, and payload capacities ranging from 1,000 and 5,000 pounds. Gear can be plopped into either a 6.5 or 8-foot bed, depending on whether you want to use the extra cargo space for a crew cab that raises total occupancy to six.

Power comes via a quartet of independent electric motors, making this an all-wheel drive vehicle. Atlis hasn’t issued any output figures, but claims 0 to 60 in around 5 seconds. All trucks come standard with independent air suspension and 12 inches of ground clearance. However, the hopeful automaker said there will also be a special off-road variant with longer suspension travel and 15 inches of clearance.

Additional standard equipment includes a spray-in bed liner, advanced regenerative braking with dynamic load control, and a huge storage compartment in the front of the vehicle.

Based on the startup’s claims, the least-capable XT will still haul 1,000 pounds of scrap, or drag a 5,000-pound trailer, while boasting an unladen range of around 300 miles. But fully equipped models sound like they’ll be a force to be reckoned with. Still, it’s all theoretical right now. Funding is yet to be secured, though Atlis says it wants to launch the XT sometime in 2020 if everything goes swimmingly.

We’re hoping it does, even if it’s just to see what the production model looks like. As it stands, the concept is gorgeous, inoffensively futuristic, and slightly menacing. It’s not quite as refined as the smaller Rivian, but it smacks of attitude thanks to the “aftermarket madness” look Atlis went with. Hopefully we get to see more of it in the coming months.

[Images: Atlis Motor Vehicles]

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