Pickup Drivers Get Free Ride From The Sun

Small Canadian company developing solar-powered truck bed covers for new and existing pickups.  

With at least eight U.S. companies, including Tesla, Nikola and Lordstown Motors, rushing to develop and bring to market electric pickup trucks, one Canadian accessories maker hopes to make hay – and free electricity – while the sun shines.  

Worksport, a developer of solar-powered tonneau covers for pickup truck beds, hopes to be first to market with the innovative systems. The suburban Toronto company, which has been making conventional truck bed covers since 2011, has signed a deal with one would-be manufacturer, Mesa, Arizona-based Atlis Motor Vehicles, to provide the high-tech covers as original equipment, and is in talks with other manufacturers, said CEO Steven Rossi.  

“The time to act is now to reduce carbon emissions,” the executive said.  

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The company says its TerraVis cover will be capable of providing enough solar-generated power to provide at least 10 miles per day for the forthcoming crop of EV pickup trucks, he said. All of this comes free of emissions and at no cost beyond than of the system itself.  

Ten miles might not sound like much, but consider that it would account for nearly one third of the average American driver’s daily commute of approximately 35 miles, the executive noted. In addition, it could help mitigate the “plug-in” and “range anxiety” some drivers experience with all-electric vehicles, he added.  

Worksport isn’t limiting its ambitions to electric pickup trucks. Americans love their conventional trucks, and Ford, Chevy and Ram trucks are perennially the Nos. 1, 2 and 3 best-selling vehicles in America.  

With an estimated 60 million pickups already on the road, Worksport is designing a mass-market version of TerraVis for those vehicles. The configuration will use the same solar panels embedded in the cover, but they will be charging lithium ion batteries located in trunk beds. The batteries can also provide remote and mobile power for jobsites and campsites, and in the event of natural disasters.  

Prices for the conventional pickup version have not been set, but they will cost at least as much as top-tier traditional covers, which retail for $1,200 to $2,000 and up. The solar cover will come with one battery pack and be scalable in solar output and battery storage as needed.  

Worksport is raising capital to retrofit a factory in Mississauga, Ontario, to manufacture the high-tech covers, Rossi told Mergermarket, with production expected to begin in July 2021.  

Jeff Sheban is a Mergermarket writer and editor who covers a variety of sectors in the U.S. and Canada. He can be reached at jeff.sheban@acuris.com

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