EdisonFuture blends old school with new in solarized electric SU-van
The convention of naming electric vehicle startups after iconic innovators of electricity past continues. EdisonFuture was founded in 2020 as a subsidiary of SPI Energy and it's about to introduce itself to the world in a big way at this month's LA Auto Show. It will host the premiere of both an all-electric SUV-like van and an electric pickup. It calls its EF1-V a last-mile delivery van, but its high ride height, large all-terrain tires and body form give it the look of a rugged, old-school SUV updated with a cutting-edge solarized transparent roof and potent electric powertrain.
When we first saw the name EdisonFuture, we thought it might be a revamped, rebranded Faraday Future, but EF is actually the latest automotive endeavor from SPI, a Hong Kong/California-headquartered solar energy and mobility company that also offers electric vehicles through its Phoenix Motorcars subsidiary. EdisonFuture will leverage SPI's expertise in solar charging and storage in a lineup of vehicles designed with utility and commercial customers top of mind.
The American electric pickup market officially made it to reality in September when Rivian began production of the R1T, and we expect to see many players, old and new, launching e-pickups in the coming years. EdisonFuture makes the EF1-T pickup the cornerstone of its brand, promising a rugged multipurpose truck good for work, travel and everyday driving, on-road and off.
The EF1-T will come standard with a single-motor 470-hp electric powertrain, competing with electric supertrucks like the GMC Hummer via an optional range-topping 816-hp triple-motor "Super" trim. The lineup will come with traditional 6.5- and 8-foot bed options, along with an available retractable solar panel roof that drops back over the bed.
Anyone can tease another electric pickup truck, but EdisonFuture distinguishes itself from others with its second vehicle, the EF1-V. Built atop the EF1-T truck platform, the EF1-V is a sort of utility vehicle/van mashup that pushes the imagination to immediately brainstorm work, play and everyday use cases. From the outside, it's shaped more like an SUV or single-cab EF1-T with a neatly integrated utility canopy over the pickup bed. However, its sliding side doors give it van-like loading, working with the dual swing-out rear doors to provide flexible access into the cavernous cabin. EdisonFuture plans variants with between 260 and 400 cubic feet (7.4 to 11.3 cu m) of cargo space, enough to rival all but the largest configurations of the full-size Ford Transit.
The EF1-T platform and large all-terrain tires below its segment-bending body give the V more off-road presence than you'd get from even the most heavily modified 4x4 van, pushing it closer to a Land Rover Defender Hard Top. Other EV startups, such as XBus and Neuron, have shown similar van cabins atop electric pickup platforms, but the EF1-V is the most SUV-looking of the lot, regardless of its sliding van doors.
We imagine a passenger-ready SU-MPV variant will be in the cards if and when the EF1-V commercial cargo van proves itself on the market, and, of course, an overland camper could make a cozy home inside that big, empty body.
EdisonFuture doesn't yet plan a "Super" triple-motor EF1-V spec, but the high-riding utility van will come in both 400-hp single-motor and 689-hp dual-motor variants. An optional "solar mosaic" roof will take the place of the EF1-T's armadillo retractor cover in providing integrated solar charging.
EdisonFuture doesn't give any indication of the battery size or range of its single-, double- or triple-motor trucks, let alone how all that rooftop solar might impact range, but it expects 0-60-mph (96.5-km/h) times to come in around 6.5 seconds for the EF1-V and between 3.9 and 6.5 seconds for the various EF1-T models. Towing will range between 7,500 and 8,500 lb (3,400 and 3,855 kg).
We'll get a closer look and more details about EdisonFuture's launch vehicles and market plans once the LA Auto Show opens to the media on November 17. The company plans to start taking reservations at the show.