Electric Food Trucks
0-100% Electric, 0-100% Made in the USA
If you are in the market for an electric food truck look no further – at Karpatia Trucks we have seen a substantial uptick in the demand for partial or fully electric trucks over the past years and we have been working very hard on expanding our product range to match.
So whether you are looking for a solution 100% made in the USA or a classic European truck that will be electrified and upgraded to modern standards, we will figure out the perfect build for your electric food truck together.
As of 2022 major car brands such as Ford and Mercedes are launching their fully electric commercial vehicle lines – great platforms for a full size food truck built with the future in mind. More modest concepts could be well serviced with the cute looks of an electrified VW T1/T2 or the quirkiness of small EV’s such as Taylor-Dunn’s Club Car 411, a perfect resort, downtown or indoor venue mobile vending platform.
Check out all our options below and get in touch to discuss your project today!
Electric food truck model options
Any truck can be an electric truck – if you swap out the engine, drive train, controllers, radiator, throttle – and more!
Sounds complicated, but really isn’t. Our team is able to take classic cars and old timers such as the VW Bus or Citroen HY and convert them for you.
Electric utility vehicles are popular as carts and small food trucks.
Great for indoor venues, crowded down-town areas and small footprint events.
Major brands include Taylor-Dunn, Goupil and Aixam.
All large car brands are working on electric versions of their vehicles – and as any truck can become a food truck, so can any electric cargo van!
This category of electric food trucks will over the next few years encompass the same options as regular food trucks.
Electric Tuk Tuks
Everybody loves Thailand’s tuk tuks and Italy’s Piaggio Ape’s – except for the EPA and the DOT.
As a rule they are therefore not street legal unless explicitly stated and carefully managed.
Check out our options here:
Vintage Step Vans, Citroen HY’s and VW type T trucks are some of our most popular trucks due to their irresistible classic charm. However, they were all built at least as much as 30 years ago and they have the engine, mileage and mechanics to show for it.
On top of that not only are they usually all manual shift, it is not just any manual shift but a vintage European system you’ll have likely never seen before in the USA. Meaning: it takes a while to learn how to drive them which is alright for an owner-operator but a bigger speedbump for entrepreneurs wanting staff to drive their truck.
Luckily reliable companies such as EV West offer an electric vehicle conversion kit that is usable on a range of models, for example the same kit fits a VW bug, T-type and Karmann Ghia. Using these kits and a new transmission we can transform the classics to modern, clean engines with an automatic shift. They can then be titled and licensed as a self-built vehicle.
Street Legal Electric Food Trucks
Many EV manufacturers and larger automotive players have all their vehicle paperwork in order – you can rather obviously buy a Club Car 411, Ford F150 Lightning or the new electric Mercedes Benz Sprinter without any second thought to their legality.
These are major brands and players and everything they produce is up to standards and we can build those units out to electric food trucks without issue same as we would the regular versions of these trucks.
Where it becomes a gray area is if you decide to import an electric vehicle or electrify an existing unit. In principle, anything coming from abroad into the USA that does not have prior approval will have to go through an approval process, even including units made in Canada.
Generally speaking the solutions are to have your electric unit classified, titled and licensed as a self-built vehicle after using an EV conversion kit, to get it registered as a low-speed vehicle or to see if it can be classified as a golf cart. If you have questions about a specific electric model let us know, and we can pull in expert NHTSA consultants to determine the best course for your build.
Can't I buy an Electric Food Truck from China?
If your unit does not need to be street legal and does not need to meet any substantive code requirement, for example limited use cases in Texas, you can certainly buy a Chinese electric food truck.
In all other cases, we strongly recommend against it. We got suckered in early on too and Karpatia in the very earliest years occasionally imported Chinese units to upfit and improve to US or EU standards. Never again.
The amount of additional work required most always ruined the cost advantage of buying Chinese. A few of the reasons are:
- VIN are not true WMI-related and approved/issued VIN but simply imaginary numbers;
- Parts used such as windshields, brakes and lighting will not be DOT approved parts preventing registration as a low-speed vehicle or golf cart unless these parts are replaced;
- Electrical, gas and plumbing will not be up to code and are better done stateside. This is a substantial amount of work;
- Equipment will not be NSF or UL certified, preventing you from obtaining a food truck license in most counties;
- Units will never be ADA compliant or eligible for the HCD insignia (relevant for California customers).
All Electric Food Trucks
Joule Case - electric power solutions
Having to power the equipment inside your beautiful zero-emission green electric food truck using a regular diesel generator sort of defeats the purpose.
As such, we have partnered with Joule Case to electrically power food trucks. This modern battery system is clean, quiet and completely scalable to meet your needs.
Note common sense is still advised – even though Joule Case systems can scale, if you are planning a build with four full size 40lbs deep fryers you’ll have to combine the green Joule Case technology with more old fashioned propane.
In our opinion the combination of a Joule Case and propane could quite likely be the most viable green solution for many operators.
An increasingly common question we get is if we can power a food truck or concession trailer using solar panels. The answers is yes, but…
It is mostly usable as an additional power source to save on fuel costs for the generator, or to charge electric trucks, not a full solution, as the square footage of the roof on your truck or trailer does not allow for enough panels with the current level of solar panel efficiency to fully power more energy intense food trucks.
Coupled with propane and a Joule Case, it can certainly be interesting to investigate the option as the solar panels will act as an extender for the Joule Case’ battery life.
By assessing your dreams we come to a shared understanding of who we are building for and why
Exploring multiple design options lets us find the solution that best suits your business goals
We refine the concept and provide you with a detailed design that meets your needs
Close monitoring during production ensures we meet your standards. You can always fly- or drive in and take a look!
We offer a range of extra services to support your operation, so you can keep your focus.
Is an Electric Food Truck the right food truck for you?
Frequently Asked Electric Food Truck Questions
Karpatia has no real showroom – but we are always happy to host you at the workshop. You can make an appointment through our contact form and try before you buy. We operate out of Atlanta Georgia, at the MET business park (675 Metropolitan pkwy SW).
There is no one answer to this, unfortunately. It will depend on the base vehicle or base EV kit and the total buildout weight.
Same as you would any other electric car like a Tesla – using an EV charger.
The major benefits of going electric are reduced noice and smell compared to a regular gas powered truck, environmental impact and long term fuel cost savings.
Electric food trucks are more expensive than regular food trucks, and not yet fully suited to very heavy cooking operations where you need multiple ovens and fryers on a truck.