Several new electric pickup trucks and SUVs will appear on the market in the next few months, raising hopes that they will help tip the scales in favor of electric vehicles by offering people their desired style.
Passenger trucks and SUVs have been the top-selling vehicles in the U.S. for years, and Ford Motor Co. has raked F, F 150 is now the No. 1. A vehicle sold since its generation. However their electric counterparts took some time to be road-ready, with improvements in battery life and design, lighter body materials and other upgrades.
Rivian Automotive Inc., which has filed for an initial public offering, began selling a limited number of its R 1 T, a two-row, five-seat pickup truck, in September. In December, the company plans to launch an SUV R-1 S. Wider sales of the truck and the SUV are anticipated to begin in December and January.
Related: Rivian IPO: 5 things about Amazon-backed electric vehicle maker?
Tesla Inc. TSLA, Chief Executive Elon Musk recently reiterated that the Cybertruck, Tesla s futuristic truck, would enter production next year and begin volume production by 2023.
It has been a constant struggle to get enough chips and other auto parts, with a respite for the worst of the shortages likely by 2023, Musk said at Tesla'annual shareholder meeting.
Earlier this month, General Motors announced it would be prepared to unveil an electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado, its top pickup truck, at the CES trade fair in January.
The company has promised the Silverado for 2023, as well as an electric Hummer for the fall of next year, in addition to several new EVs as part of its commitment to phase out internal combustion-engine vehicles by 2035.
The electric Silverado is expected to rival Ford's F 150 Lightning electric pickup, which Ford says has generated more than 150,000 nonbinding pre-orders. Sales of the Lightning are expected to begin next year.
Lordstown Motors Corp. RIDE, which recently hammered out a deal for its Ontario factory with Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group, is facing a challenge in keeping going with its Endurance electric pickup program, but said that it continues to move forward with its plan to build a limited number of vehicles for testing and regulatory approvals for the rest of the year and early 2022.
It will update investors on its production plan when it report results of its third quarter in mid-November, it said.
Electric pickup trucks have all the capability of their ICE equivalents, but tend to be much more torque or the ability to take off faster.
It remains to be seen whether their prices will be comparable with ICE trucks. The Ford Lightning starts from $40,000, but it can quickly head to the mid - $70,000 s and higher for its more luxurious trims.
As with electric vehicles, several obstacles remain before electric trucks can appeal to mainstream buyers. The first one, as usual with electric vehicles, cost, said Karl Brauer at iSeeCars.com
The new Rivian trucks are amazing but they start at $70,000, which is where most midsize trucks go in price and beyond what any full-size truck costs, he said.
This doesn't mean there isn t an audience for the Rivian, but at that price there definitely isn t a mainstream audience, Brauer said.
Beyond price, there are various charging infrastructures and ranges. Both of these problems will be solved in the next few years, he said. Again, that doesn t mean there s no audience for a mainstream truck, but the number of buyers will be a tiny drop of electric truck buyers in the near term. Who is the buyer and how big will the market for EV trucks likely to be. Pickup truck buyers tend to be younger, male and well-to - do and in that sense not too different from a typical EV buyer.
Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs said we just don t know what the market will look like at present.
It will be interesting to see who buys what, Krebs said. Will people moving to electric pickup truck being more interested in newer brands such as Rivian and Tesla, or will they prefer to go with Ford or GM, maybe even staying with the brand after owning a gas- or diesel-powered truck?
The market could also attract new car buyers, people who might have waited for electric pickups or SUVs to become available.
Ranges are likely to come into play as well, said Jessica Caldwell, an analyst with Edmunds. Electric pickups may be slower to catch up in rural and suburban areas until charging is more readily available, she said.
Usually, EV owners want something that looks cooler, with no quirky factor like the Nissan Leaf, she said. The winning design of a product will be a big part of winning customers. That was what Caldwell demonstrated with Tesla's luxury sedans several years ago, Tesla said.
As prices decreases, ranges increase, charging times shrink and more people give these trucks a try, the buyer base will inch up, iSeeCars.com s Brauer said.
And that s what we expect from EV truck buyers - a slow, inch-by-inch growth in market share. Nothing is going to happen abruptly, even with all these new truck and SUV models on the cusp of hitting showrooms.