The all-American pickup is on the precipice of change with 5 new battery-electric variations set to arrive within the subsequent 18 months.
That means an already uber-competitive section is about to grow to be much more cutthroat as the brand new EV pickup section edges into gross sales of gasoline counterparts.
And shopper acceptance of the modern, environmentally pleasant rigs might set the stage for the way forward for all electrical autos, which issues lots to General Motors and Ford Motor Co. as they wager massive on EVs.
“EV pickup trucks are a catalyst to EV ownership in general,” mentioned Vanessa Ton, senior supervisor for analysis agency Cox Automotive. “It’s a pivotal second. EVs began out as vehicles and sedans, then we began seeing extra SUVs out there in EVs. But a pickup is a special animal. There’s a mindset and a tradition behind it that — you’d assume these customers wouldn’t think about EVs — however they’re.”
Cox, which is an investor in electric truck maker Rivian, did a consumer study late last year. It found that nearly 2 in 5 consumers looking to buy a new pickup in the next two years are considering going electric.
If preorders are any indication, there is interest for electric pickups, though the preorders are a fraction of the current sales of internal combustion pickups. Last year, U.S. consumers bought 2.3 million gasoline pickups, Cox Automotive data show.
The barriers preventing some buyers from embracing electric pickups are the high purchase price compared with internal combustion, range-anxiety and a lack of charging infrastructure, Ton said.
Still, here’s what is coming and the way business consultants see the pickup wars shaking out over the following 5 years.
Hummer vs. F-150
Ford and GM, the top-sellers of internal combustion pickups, are coming out with electric versions.
GM will launch the 2022 GMC Hummer at the end of this year. The Edition 1 trim is priced at $112,595. Preorders for the pickup sold out within minutes of its reveal last fall, GM has said, but it declined to say how many orders it got.
The Hummer is the only electric pickup GM has announced, but GMC dealers say an electric version of the Sierra pickup is in the works. GM has said it plans to be an all-electric car company in the future.
The Hummer is a beast. It has up to 1,000 horsepower from its top powertrain option. That option has an estimated range of 350 miles per charge. It uses three electric motors that can take it to 60 mph in three seconds. The vehicle can drive diagonally, too, when in CrabWalk mode.
In 2019, Ford confirmed it is going to construct an electric light-duty pickup and launch it in 2022.
The F-150 is the top-selling vehicle in the United States and offering electrification won’t dilute its overall appeal, analysts say. In the Cox consumer study, which questioned 155 people, those who said they were looking to buy an electric pickup ranked the F-150 at the top of their consideration list, followed by Tesla’s Cybertruck and then GMC’s Hummer, Ton said.
GM and Ford will face competition from the Tesla Cybertruck, which has a nontraditional design that looks like something from the future or the movie “Mad Max,” but it will have capabilities to match any of the top-selling pickups.
The Cybertruck starts at $39,900. Published reports say it’s expected to start production later this year, but Tesla isn’t talking. A request for comment went unanswered.
“The Tesla Cybertruck will enchantment to the Tesla viewers,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com.
If Tesla builds the pickup in the same design shown at reveal, it likely won’t appeal to many traditional pickup buyers, said Sam Abuelsamid, principal analyst of E-Mobility for Guidehouse Insights in Detroit.
“I think it’ll be a competitive space,” Abuelsamid said. “I suspect that the traditional players who dominate the pickup market today certainly have a built-in advantage because of the brand loyalty they have.”
Then there are the start-ups, Rivian and Lordstown Motors, which have the funds and customer interest to make them contenders as they roll out all-electric pickups later this year.
Rivian is backed by the might of Amazon, which plans to put electric delivery vehicles in America’s neighborhoods. This summer, Rivian will launch the R1T pickup — built in its factory in Normal, Illinois.
The R1T can tow more than 11,000 pounds. Buyers can choose between a 300-mile or 400-mile range package with pricing starting at $67,500.
The Lordstown Motors all-electric Endurance pickup will focus on the commercial market.
Endurance, an F-150-sized pickup that goes into production in September, will be the first production vehicle with an electric motor in each wheel hub, Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns has said.
Hub motors allow for precise control of power and traction and reduce the number of parts in a vehicle. The other upcoming EV pickups have motors mounted on the chassis — similar to the engine of a conventional car.
The Endurance starts at $52,500. It has a 250-mile range and can tow up to 7,500 pounds.
Initially for the rich
By November 2022 all of these pickups will be “competing exhausting” towards one another in addition to taking up the interior combustion engine fashions, Abuelsamid mentioned.
“Overall, I don’t see the pickup segment having a huge growth in the next five years, so that means every sale of an electric truck will take away the sale of a gas truck,” Abuelsamid mentioned.
But initially electrical pickups will attract just a few new and prosperous patrons, mentioned Mike Ramsey, automotive and transportation analyst for Gartner, Inc. in Detroit.
“The electric pickup market will be a luxury pickup market at first,” Ramsey mentioned. “If there’s substitution, it’s likely to be a shared mix from large SUVs and high-end pickup trucks and people shifting out of high-end cars.”
The wealthy would be the first adopters not solely as a result of they will afford the higher-priced electrical pickups, however additionally they pays to set up a charging construction in a house if wanted, Ramsey mentioned.
“There will have to be another vehicle in the house too for the ‘trip up North’ vehicle,” Ramsey mentioned.
Follow Detroit Free Press reporter Jamie L. LaReau on Twitter @jlareauan.