In early 2019, an Arizona-based company called Atlis announced it planned to release an electric work truck called XT with specs unlike anything promised by legacy or startup automakers. The rundown included a 500-mile range when unladen, zero to 60 in five seconds, an available eight-foot bed, a tow rating of 20,000 pounds with a hitch or 35,000 pounds with a fifth wheel, complete battery charging in 15 minutes, and more. The company was crowdfunding its effort, and aimed to hit the market by late 2020. The sale date came and went, but the company didn’t. Now Atlis has showed off a prototype production XT pickup, and the specs are just as garish as they were two years ago.
The company exists for having raised more than $16 million through funding rounds and having secured a $300 million capital commitment from Luxembourg-based Global Emerging Markets (GEM) investment group.
Founder and CEO Mark Hanchett owns a diesel pickup and a Tesla Model 3. He laid out the mission for Atlis: “We are out to change the work truck market. The goal is to create an electric pickup with the performance characteristics of a ¾-ton diesel that can quickly be recharged. We’ve focused on the design features our target market cares most about — maximizing functionality, storage, capability, and passenger comfort to create the best possible ownership experience.”
The XT is like a lifted Ford Super Duty given a wholesale EV makeover. The design has gone a lot more boxy and purposeful since the first renderings, all in the name of range, functionality, and cost of production. The frunk holds 18.5 cubic feet of gear, easily accessed because the hood raises and a front-gate lowers like the tailgate, and comes standard with a spray-in bedliner just like the bed in back. Each of headlight and taillight assembly contains a nightclub’s worth of lights, with multiple color options that can vary depending on what an XT owner needs to convey. There are also LED light bars at the top of the windshield and the cab backlight, and those change color, too. That cab, by the way, will seat three or six people depending on configuration, which sounds like regular cab and crew cab to us.
The door handles don’t use any moving parts, increasing durability, and the side step is molded into the platform. The retractable, heated side cameras perform the role of mirrors and turn signals, able to extend when towing a trailer and projecting their images onto dashboard screens. The interior’s made for using while working, with stain- and rip-resistant, easy-to-clean materials. A digital gauge cluster mounted on the steering column is paired with customizable buttons on the steering wheel and a 12.8-inch touchscreen for infotainment. Atlis says any function on the center screen can be accessed with no more than three touches.
The in-house XP platform (XT is the truck, XP is the platform) is a ladder-frame chassis with a big nickel manganese cobalt battery in the middle. The company says the battery’s been designed to serve a vehicle instead of being a consumer electronics unit scaled up to vehicle size. According to the Atlis website, the pack will come in 150-, 200, and 250-kWh sizes, good for ranges of 300, 400, and 500 miles respectively. Charging happens through either a J772 port, a CCS port, or Atlis’ in-house AAC charging station good for 1.5 megawatts. That will fill the pack from empty in 15 minutes, it’s claimed.
The pack powers four motors at the wheels good for a total 600 horsepower. There’s four-wheel steering, 10 inches of wheel travel with the load-leveling air suspension, and 12 inches of ground clearance.
The bed will come in either 6.5- or 8-foot lengths, and include a range of power and accessory outlets: four 120-volt/30-amp outlets, a 240-volt/50-amp outlet, a compressed air chuck, two USB A and two USB C ports. Payload capacity comes in at 5,000 pounds.
We’ve no idea of a price yet, but we’re thinking this will be on the six-figure Bollinger end of the scale. We’ll be mightily surprised if it’s close to the $45,000 starting price, even for the small battery, that we’ve seen mentioned. Atlis also plans a subscription service that it says will be less expensive than ownership, the maintenance-included subscription starting at $700 per month. The new target for production is late 2022.