Remember the electric Chevy S-10? GM was making battery-powered pickups 20 years ago

Quimby Mug Bayou Florida
Updated Jun 4, 2018

chevy s-10

While you can’t walk onto a dealer’s lot today and drive off in a new, factory-produced all-electric pickup, 20 years ago you could.

Some of you may recall that GM made an all-electric Chevy S-10 for model years 1997 and 1998.

The U.S. Department of Energy, working in conjunction with EV America, offered a thorough look at the truck. Specs and performance data are posted below. You’ll see that initially the 1997 model equipped with lead acid batteries had a ‘driving cycle range’ of only 43.8 miles. That increased to 95.3 miles for the 1998 truck thanks to nickel-metal hydride batteries.

There were slightly under 500 of the electric S-10s produced, the majority of which were leased to fleets. The motors in GM’s EV1 were used in the trucks.

Following the 10-year lease, the pickups were sadly sent to the crusher—but not all. Sixty of the trucks were sold to fleets meaning that there are probably still some examples rolling around.

In fact, it looks as though we may have found one posted on YouTube. EV Jedi titled his video S10 EV EV1 Electric factory built Chevy S 10. True, it’s only 38 seconds long, but it’s fun watching the dump-bed elevate to expose the battery pack below.

EV Jedi features the truck in another video as part of a tour of his EV projects, which includes an extremely rare Chrysler EPIC electric van from the late 90s. Both videos are posted below. Commentary on the S10 in the second video starts at 9:10.

“This S-10 pickup is so awesome. This truck, I think, would sell like hotcakes if GM would introduce just a simple little pickup that had batteries in it. Include a dump-bed, which is very little money,” notes EV Jedi who uses a remote to operate the bed. Nice!

We scoured the web for other electric S-10s. While there are plenty of DIY converted examples, few factory originals have made their way to the internet. Hopefully, some remain tucked away in a garage or two.

1997 Chevy electric S-10 specs and performance data from U.S. DOE and EV America. Lead-acid battery version:

chevy s-10 electric information

1998 Chevy electric S-10 specs and performance data from U.S. DOE and EV America. Nickel-metal hydride battery version:1998 Chevy electric S-10 information