Telo, a new California-based electric vehicle start-up is reinventing the concept of pickup trucks. Its upcoming electric truck has the footprint of a Mini Electric, but possibly the same utility that one would expect from a larger truck. The $50,000 (approx. £40,000) electric truck is also claimed to be the world’s most efficient.
CEO Jason Marks, an ADAS test systems expert with years of experience in the automotive industry founded the Silicon Valley start-up with CTO Forrest North, who was on the early Tesla team that developed the Roadster. Marks holds patents in LiDAR while North has 15 patents in EV batteries and charging.
To bring their idea to fruition, the founders brought in Yves Behar as Telo’s head of design and advisor. Behar’s track record includes designing for brands like Samsung, L’Oreal, Puma, and Prada among others.
It appears like the mission was to take advantage of the skateboard chassis, eliminate excess space, and maximise practicality. Much of the body, along with some chassis components will be made from carbon-fibre-reinforced-plastic (CFRP), which is reportedly much more affordable to acquire now compared to a few years ago.
The renderings below showcase that the electric truck will be compact. It is only 3,860 millimetres (152 inches) long – identical to the Mini Electric. It will be 1,855 mm (73 in) wide, and 1,675 mm (66 in) tall, comparable to the Audi Q4 e-tron. Unlike traditional trucks, it won't have a long bonnet – electric propulsion doesn’t necessitate one. Instead, the company has showcased a flat front with a skidplate and a raked windscreen.
Gallery: Telo MT1 subcompact electric truck
It also sports a 5-seat crew-cab design and a 5-foot bed. The 1,500 mm (60-in) bed is the same length as the Hummer EV while being 15 centimetres (6 in) longer than the Rivian R1T, which gets a 1,370 mm (54-in) bed.
The bed could have multiple uses. It has a storage tunnel underneath, similar to the Rivian, which can also function as a footwell for a third row of seats – the truck can seat 8 if required with the addition of a camper shell. When the bed is extended onto the rear seat, thanks to a modular midgate, users will be able to accommodate a 2,743 mm (9-foot) surfboard, claims Telo.
Performance and Specifications:
The subcompact electric truck appears punchy, at least on paper. Its dual motors are rated for a combined 500 bhp. The 2,000 kilogram (4,400-pound) truck has a 0-60 miles per hour time of 4.0 seconds with a 125 mph (200 kph) top speed.
Its 106 kilo-watt-hour battery will deliver a 350-mile range and fast-charge from 20-80 percent in 20 minutes, according to Telo. The company will initially use Samsung’s 2170 cylindrical cells, and the pickup will get native North American Charging Standard (NACS) support.
There appears to be a strong focus on tight packaging. The battery pack will be just 100 mm (3.9 in) in height, allowing 25 cm (10 in) of ground clearance. Off-road tyres will come as standard, and so will independent rear suspension.
The total payload capacity is 725 kg (1,600 lbs), marginally less than the Rivian R1T. However, the towing capacity is only 3,000 kg (6,600 lbs), roughly half of what the R1T can pull.
Here’s what CTO and co-founder Forrest North had to say about the battery:
Our patent-pending battery packs are space-optimized to provide an impressive 350-mile range in between charges in our small footprint while being highly manufacturable.
Interested buyers can pre-order the truck via Telo’s website with a $152 deposit. The working prototype is expected to be ready by the end of summer, reported Electrek, and the aforementioned design and powertrain details are preliminary. The brand aims to have the first 500 hand-built vehicles by the end of 2025, and another 10,000 contract-manufactured units in 2026. Although, I’d take this promise with a pinch of salt, as start-ups often face delayed timelines.