Atlis Motor Vehicles Punts Another Electric Pickup Into the Auto Arena

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

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]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
2 of 27 comments
  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
  • Rover Sig "Value" is what people perceive as its worth. What is the worth or value of an EV somebody creates out of a used car? People value different things, but for a vehicle, people generally ascribe worth in terms of reliability, maintainability, safety, appearance and style, utility (payload, range, etc.), convenience, operating cost, projected life, support network, etc. "Value for money" means how much worth would people think it had compared to competing vehicles on the market, in other words, would it be a good deal to buy one, compared to other vehicles one could get? Consider what price you would have to ask for it, including the parts and labor you put into it, because that would affect the “for the money” part of the “value for money” calculation. An indicator of whether people think an EV-built-in-a-used-car would provide "value for money" is the current level of demand for used cars turned into EVs. Are there a lot of people looking for these on the market? Or would building one just be a hobby? Repairing an existing EV, bringing it back into spec, might create better value for the money. Although demand for EVs is reportedly down recently.
  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.