Does Anyone Have A Full-Size Electric SUV In The Works?

Sara And The 2023 M-B Eqs Suv Featured Image. Photo: Sara Lacey
Sara and the 2023 M-B EQS SUV Featured Image. Photo: Sara Lacey

Where are the full-size electric SUV’s? Like, the big ones?

Despite the seemingly endless releases of electric vehicles, and SUV’s in particular, the question I get the most is, “Where are the full-size SUV’s?” To be clear, there are multiple options if you’re looking for a 3-row SUV now. Tesla Models X, Y, and S have third rows. Mercedes-Benz has the EQS SUV. Rivian has their R1S. On top of this, many manufacturers have larger SUV’s in the works, including Jeep and VINFAST.

But these are not full-size SUV’s as we know them with their conventional gas-powered engines. The Rivian R1S is a little shorter than the Chevrolet Traverse (though the Traverse is the longest of the mid-size SUV’s). So what gives? Where is my full-size electric Yukon? My Sequoia, my Expedition?

Related: Get to Know this Name: Volvo EX90, Volvo’s First Fully Electric 3 Row SUV

2023 Chevy Silverado Electric Foundation Must be Laid for an Electric SUV

According to our founder and editor-in-chief Scotty Reiss, it’s more complex than just manufacturers waiting to see who is willing to take the initial plunge. “Typically, you actually have to have the platform first,” she says. “And the way the process usually works for full-size SUV’s is the manufacturer builds the SUV on the platform that was developed for truck. So that means the trucks have to come first”

Related: I Spent a Week In the 2022 Ford Lightning Electric Pickup Truck, and This is Why It Just Might be My New Favorite Truck

So the Presence of the F150 Lightning and the Electric Silverado Might tell us Something

It’s actually good news then, if this process also holds true for electric SUV’s. Ford, Chevrolet, and Hummer all have full-size trucks in production or on the way soon. This means that they could potentially build those large SUV’s for which everyone is chomping at the bit.

Related: Chevrolet Reveals Three New Electric Cars and a Performance Gas-Powered SUV

Electric Chevrolet Silverado At The L.a. Auto Show. Photo: Sara Lacey

Electric Chevrolet Silverado at the L.A. Auto Show. Photo: Sara Lacey

Doing all the Stuff you Want to do in Your Large Electric SUV

Some people have wondered whether such a large vehicle lends itself to being all-electric. The question is not just whether it’s possible, but whether it’s practical. It’s exciting to think that full-size all-electric SUV’s could be around the corner. But given that people use these large SUV’s first and foremost for carrying their families, it may be that passengers are the priority, so three rows would be more important than three rows plus cargo room.

2022 Ford Lightning Towing

The Ford Lightning proves to be more than capable of towing. Photo: Erica Mueller

Ford and Chevrolet have gone to great lengths to show their trucks are as good for towing as you may hope. During Erica Mueller’s test of the Ford F150 Lightning, she proved how capable the Lightning is:

  • The Ford Lightning can tow up to 7,700 lb unless its equipped with the Max Tow package which brings the tow limit up to 10,000 lb. The truck I drove had the tow package so I worked with a local trailer company and we did a tow test with one of their flatbed tilt trailers and my brother’s Tesla Model S. These added up to 8,186 lb. The Lightning handled the load like a champ. Thanks to the extra torque from the electric motor gaining speed to enter the highway was no problem at all. The ride was smooth and quiet and it was pretty easy to forget we had a huge load back there.
  • We towed for 40 miles doing some rolling shot video footage for the trailer company and allowing both the truck’s computer and me to do some calculations on the range difference while towing. The truck is smart enough to weigh the load and calculate, adjusting your predicted range accordingly. During the Ford Lightning tow test saw a range loss of approximately 40% while towing, so if we were to start with a full charge we would have about 200 miles of range instead of 320-340.

It is reasonable to say that the manufacturers of these trucks don’t want the trucks out in the world without them being competitive with their gas-powered counterparts. And it would appear that they are. So while we may need to be patient for a little while longer, we can expect an electric full-size SUV similar to its gas-powered counterparts.

Stay tuned as we explore this new SUV frontier. And whether people will start looking for all-electric minivans, too.

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Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey