I raved about EV startup Alpha's stylishly retro Ace and Jax models when they were unveiled earlier this year.
I was also eagerly awaiting the pickup they teased. Well, now they've unveiled the pickup, and it's not what I was hoping for.
Called the Wolf, it is definitely as pretty, and retro-stylish, as the Ace and Jax. In particular I love the single cab and the proportions, at least from a visual standpoint:
My disappointment lies in the fact that they followed the pickup trend of creating an adventure vehicle rather than a work truck. I can't criticize the designers, because I think they nailed the segment they're likely targeting (Silicon Valley dudes who harbor off-road or camping fantasies); I just wish someone would design a small, lightweight truck intended for farm use, but I realize that's not a desirable market.
Three years ago I was still living in the city, and wouldn't have known the difference; so here I'll explain, as if to my former self, why this truck isn't suited for work.
There's nothing wrong with the length; at 65 inches, it's five inches longer than your average short box. And the height of the sidewalls is acceptable at 16 inches. If they were taller you could load more, but it would also be a hassle to reach over to access the bed contents from the side.
It's the width that's the problem--or specifically, the way the company lists the width. They only provide the one dimension of 59 inches, which I assume is wall-to-wall, whereas most pickup manufacturers realize the distance between the wheel wells is more crucial for work purposes.
For instance, my Tacoma has 42" between the wheel wells. That's not wide enough for a sheet of plywood, but it's wide enough for a forklift to drop a standard 40" pallet into. (You don't need to carry pallets on a camping trip, but here on the farm feed runs are one of my truck's main duties.)
The Wheel Wells
Most modern pickups have squared off the top of the wheel wells. This is so that you can rest sheet goods on top of them, and/or use it as a place to lay tools when you're working inside the bed or alongside it. The Wolf's wheel wells are rounded, stylish and not fit for either purpose.
The Roll Bar
The roll bar and light array signify this vehicle's self-image as a "mud bogger" (what they call trucks used for recreation down here) rather than a work truck. The roll bar struts being mounted to the top of the wheel wells effectively closes off that area from accepting wide cargo, and also provides unwelcome undercuts; imagine, for instance, trying to unload this bed if it was filled with wood chips.
When someone finally does make an electric work truck, I think a well-designed frunk will swiftly become an end user's favorite storage spot. You can throw a chainsaw leaking bar oil (they all do) in here without worrying about it sliding around in the bed or fouling the interior. Or gas/oil cans, or outdoor tools.
The Frunk on the GMC Hummer EV SUV shown yesterday has got a great frunk that looks easy to access:
In contrast, the Wolf's frunk only provides awkard top access:
I'm certain the paint on the top of the sidewalls would get scratched up in no time by tools. However, this would be a perfect place to store soft goods, like fully-laden duffel bags or backpacks on a camping trip.
I will say, I do love the Tonka Truck proportions, style and even the retro color of the Wolf. As with the Ace and Jax, it looks like the design team had fun and had a unified vision. But looking at the Wolf more closely, I'm not sure how good this would be off-road; the ground clearance and angles of approach/departure don't seem ideal. All in all, I'm eager for this thing to get made so I can read some real-world reviews.