Rivian EV Pickup Truck.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
General Motors, the nation's largest automaker, joins Ford, Tesla and launches the Rivian by adding an all-electric pickup to its portfolio.
But Detroit's Big Three and their challengers may find it hard to convince ranchers, roughnecks and the handymen that make up much of their core clientele to shop in their diesel duels for a battery-powered 4X4 pickup.
Perhaps the most critical question, said Sam Abuelsamid, a senior automotive tech analyst with Navigant Research, is "whether there is a market for an all-electric truck."
GM CEO Mary Barra did not offer any details about the pickup, but said GM "will not cede our leadership" in the pickup segment, leading to widespread speculation about what GM is developing and when it comes to the market.
Slowly catching on
Considering the great use that many buyers postpone their pickup, there is no single question.
Generally, electric vehicles have been slow to catch on with US car buyers. While sales of all plug-in vehicles ̵
The large part of the market currently consists of a single vehicle, the Tesla Model 3 sedan. But manufacturers hope to spur growth with the addition of new products as diverse as the Audi e-tron SUV, the Porsche Taycan sports car and the Jaguar I-Pace crossover that was named the World Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show last month.
Now the manufacturers will add all electric pickups to the selection list. Tesla has been hinting at his truck plans for several years, and CEO Elon Musk is promising to reveal more in the coming months. The Detroit-based Rivian got a leg at Tesla and other competitors by uncovering his own battery model, R1T, at the Los Angeles auto show in November last year. Ford, which invests $ 500 million in Rivian, has confirmed that it works as expected to be an all-electric version of the best-selling F-150.
Abuelsamid is one of those who wonder what GM can have in store. While a battery-based version of the large Chevrolet Silverado seems likely, he said the car manufacturer could deliver a surprise. By choosing a medium-sized model, in line with the smaller Chevy Colorado, Abuelsamid said, "It would give them the chance to have a unique product in the market because everyone is focused on full-size cars."
What's Other Than Safe, GM – and Ford and Tesla, for that matter, have to echo Rivian's leadership, delivering a vehicle that boasts plenty of horsepower and blunt-torque with wide selection and significant rope and load capacity . The start-up R1T will do "close" 800 horsepower, says CEO RJ Scaringe in Los Angeles, enough to beat 60 km / h in 3 seconds. Its about 1,000 pounds of torque will allow a trailer of up to 11,000 pounds to be retrieved, and it is expected to get up to 400 miles on a 180 kilowatt-hour battery pack.
Rivian R1T electric pickup truck
Playboy & # 39; s truck & # 39;
These are the kind of numbers that seem to work well with classic pickup users like ranches Frank Helvey, who awakens cattle and is active in the house auction company near Pearsall, Texas.
"I didn't want to buy one at all. It wouldn't make sense to me. It sounds like a gameboys truck, rather than a work car," he said in an interview.
In Texas, where everything is bigger, the truck market is no exception.
The Lone Star State is home to the Dallas Cowboys, the world's best grill and the largest truck market in the US Texas buyers accounts for 15.7% of the country's halftone pickup market, according to Stephanie Brinley, principle of auto analyst at IHS Markit. That means one in every six half-pickups – like the Ford F-150, Chevy Silverado and Ram 1500 – are being sold in Texas.
Jeff Williams, another Texas ranch, said the technology interests him, "especially if they can make an electric that has the same power and range as a tinted diesel." But he is still skeptical of Rivian's demands and promises from other car manufacturers about that their electric pickups will offer opportunities that match their gas and diesel models.
Williams runs two farms and six ranches in what he called "far west Texas," 275 miles from El Paso and even further from San Antonio. So for him, the two critical challenges are reach and charge. And out of its part of the Lone Star State, there are few public chargers, especially the high-speed he needs to access when pulling his pets to the market.
"The other problem out in the remote area where I live is access to a mechanic," added Williams. He works with a mechanic who can handle his diesel and gas carriages, but if an all-electric model "breaks down, what do I do?"
For its part, rancher Helvey says he expects it to be a market for all-electric trucks "for city dwellers and weekend warriors."
But even though some of the people who fall into these categories are still skeptical.
"I like the idea" with a battery-powered truck, "said Jennifer Stevenson, a physician in a Detroit Detroit Hospital and an owner of a new Ford F-150 Lariat. And while she rarely gets a lot of cargo or tows a trailer, Stevenson and her fiancé take frequent trips in remote locations, like Michigan's Upper Peninsula, and "I don't want to worry about finding a place to plug in."
So, if ranchers and weekend warriors remain skeptical, who can be ready to plug in with a completely electric pickup? The most likely target is fleet owners, says Brendan Jones, Chief Operating Officer of Electrify America. It is funded by $ 2 billion of Volkswagen's settlement of its diesel emissions scandal, and it spends most of its money on setting up a nationwide network of EV chargers.
Workhorse W-15 Electric Pickup Truck.
Fleet owners "know how and where they use their trucks" and anything here They can deliver their daily needs, both in terms of payload capacity and range, Jones says a conversation at Electrify America's headquarters outside Washington, DC. They can also find the lower operating costs and reduced maintenance that battery electric vehicles need attractive.
Jones pointed out that several fleets are already moving to larger commercial trucks, or at least testing them out. It includes delivery services such as UPS and FedEx. Amazon has also joined forces with Rivian, who heads a consortium that will pump $ 700 million in the startup. Although the webshop has not said what it has in mind, it has been speculated that it wants to launch a fleet of battery-powered trucks.
The fleets have the advantage of not only knowing their daily needs, but also the ability to set up their own charging systems. For work-oriented cars like pickups to get traction with retail customers, Jones said, "You're not going to see (it happens) until you have an infrastructure." And there are some Electrify America and competitors like EVgo and ChargePoint hoping to put in place in the coming decade.
Paul Eisenstein is a freelancer for CNBC. His quotes from Electrify America COO Brendan Jones came from an interview in Washington, D.C., where the company paid for Eisenstein's travel and accommodation.