In West Texas it’s usual to see gas-powered pickup trucks and smoked meat at the Daniel Energy Partners’ annual Permian Basin BBQ cook-off. But this time, workers in the oil and gas industry got to engage with a newcomer: the all-electric F-150 Lightning.

Merge Electric Fleet Solutions brought the aluminum beast to the Permian Basin to kick off its pilot program that gives companies the opportunity to test two F-150 Lightning pickups for 31 days and Merge’s EVSNAPSHOT™ (a proprietary analysis and summary of their existing fleet telematics data), along with access to Merge’s Midland charging hub and other public charging networks.

Chatting over roasted alligator meat and other BBQ treats, attendees learned for the first time about the pickup’s many features, some of which are new to the industry. Merge showcased the frunk by turning it into a cooler filled with ice and non-alcoholic drinks, and the Lightning’s ProPower functionality ran two trailers and the air conditioning units inside.

The Midland Pilot Program is the first of its kind in the region and will enable oil and gas operators and service companies to test fully electric pickup trucks, determine how they will meet drivers’ needs, and confidently build a fleet electrification plan. This can help oil and gas businesses learn what they like and don't like before they buy one, as well as how to integrate charging stations into their fleet.

CEO of Merge, Glen Stancil, spoke to a reporter for CBS7 News about commonly asked questions at the event, including why these trucks were even brought to the Permian Basin.

“These vehicles in oil and gas are used more than any other industries, with average mileages of 28,000-35,000 a year,” Stancil said. “The more miles you drive, the more fuel and maintenance savings you get, so the oil and gas industry are really a great place to deploy these trucks to save money and save on emissions.”

After the pilot program, Merge will present data analysis to show which portions of their fleets could go electric now and which could go electric in the future.

“This will help companies think through where they may want to convert, and where to place charging stations,” he explained. “In the pilot program, we’ll provide all that’s required and afterward offer services to build a roadmap to electrification and help companies execute that plan.”

Companies who are interested in this program can contact us here.