FCA’s Ram is the newest brand to reveal plans to bring an all-electric pickup to market, though CEO Michael Manley isn’t ready to reveal details.
The announcement, made during Fiat Chrysler’s quarterly earnings call, means that Ram will join at least a dozen other manufacturers that have already committed to producing battery-electric pickups. The list includes established automakers like General Motors and Ford, as well as startups such as Rivian, Bollinger and Lordstown Motors. How much of a market is waiting is far from certain, but Tesla claims to have received hundreds of thousands of orders already.
“I do see that there will be an electrified Ram pickup in the marketplace, and I would ask you just to stay tuned for a little while, and we’ll tell you exactly when that will be,” Manley said Wednesday.
The announcement was far from unexpected, what with GM bringing both the GMC Hummer and a Chevrolet EV pickup to market, while Ford is developing a full battery-powered F-150.
The size of the EV pickup market is far from certain, but several factors seem to have driven FCA to join the crowd, and not just the flood of competition coming.
There’s also the regulatory reality. While President Donald Trump has ordered the rollback of federal mileage standards, several automakers have pushed on with plans to meet tougher mandates laid out by California and modeled by more than a dozen other states.
Additionally, Trump’s revised standard will likely become null and void if former Vice President Joe Biden wins next week’s election. If anything, Biden is seen as likely to toughen emissions and fuel efficiency standards. Biden is an advocate of electrification, as he signaled during the second presidential debate indicating that he sees fossil fuels phasing out. That could translate into new federal incentives for EVs.
But such a carrot would be backed by a bunch of sticks, including plans by California, and possibly New Jersey to ban the sale of gas and diesel vehicles entirely.
Whatever the reason, FCA has gone from being the most battery-averse of Detroit’s Big Three to laying out plans for an aggressive shift to electrification — one led by Mickey Bly, once the head of GM’s Chevy Volt program and now Fiat Chrysler’s powertrain chief.
Manley underscored the shift in August when he said FCA is “very committed to our electrification strategy,” though, at the time, he seemed to downplay the idea of doing an electric pickup.
With this week’s announcement, that means only two companies producing full-size pickups have yet to commit to battery-powered models: Toyota and Nissan. The bigger of the two companies has been hesitant to go all-electric, preferring hybrid technology. But, earlier this month, Toyota EVP Bob Carter said during a media webinar that the company will have a “big” announcement to make about its Tundra pickup sometime in 2021.
Nissan has said nothing about its own model, the Titan, but it has long positioned itself as a leader in the EV market and is planning to add more models over the next several years, starting with the new Ariya SUV.
Beyond that, here’s a list of the all-electric pickups we know are in the works:
- Bollinger B2. This truck will target the heavy-duty market and adopts a no-frills, almost military style design. Envisioned as a true work truck, it will have plenty of storage nooks and promises to have the ability to match conventional HD pickups in terms of towing and cargo capacity;
- Chevrolet has promised to bring out an all-electric pickup that will share the same “Ultium” batteries and platform used for the new GMC Hummer EV. Specific details, including a name, have not yet been revealed, however;
- Ford F-150 Electric. Set to go on sale in 2022, Ford hasn’t said much about this truck other than showing a prototype pulling a million-pound train. It is expected to deliver significant power and hauling capacity and Ford recently applied for a patent on a range-extender system;
- GMC Hummer EV. Unveiled earlier this month, the first version, dubbed Edition 1, will punch out a full 1,000 horsepower and carry a price tag of over $113,000, but the automaker claims it effectively sold out within 10 minutes. Less expensive models will follow;
- Lordstown Endurance. Produced at an old GM assembly plant in Ohio, the pickup will take the unusual step of using in-wheel, or hub, motors, rather than axle-mounted powertrains. Plans call for a launch sometime in 2021;
- Nikola Badger. The Phoenix-based start-up plans several versions of the pickup, one running entirely on batter power, the other using a hydrogen/battery hybrid drive system. Nikola is negotiating a deal that would have the truck assembled by General Motors;
- Rivian R1T. One of the very first all-electric pickups publicly announced, the R1T will share a full-size platform with the R1S sport-utility vehicle. The Detroit-based start-up also will use a version of the platform for the delivery vans it is building for Amazon;
- Tesla Cybertruck. Looking like it rolled off the set of an off-world sci-fi movie, the Cybertruck promises to deliver extended range of up to 500 miles and horsepower and torque in line with what the GMC Hummer is promising. Tesla claims to have lined up a huge order bank already.
Other startups getting into the game include Atlis XT, which plans to offer a base model at $45,000, though that figure should go up significantly for the heavy-duty package said to be able to pull a load of up to 20,000 pounds.
Hercules Electric Vehicles is working up its Alpha pickup promising Hummer-like performance numbers. And China’s Neuron EV recently showed off the T.One which features another sci-fi like design and may offer both battery and fuel-cell drivelines.
Then there’s Fisker, the EV company that this past week completed a SPAC merger and stock listing on the New York Stock Exchange. It plans to debut in 2022 with its Fisker Ocean electric SUV but the company has hinted it has a range of EVs to follow, including a pickup. A tweeted picture carried the name “Alaska” on its back.
Still others could get into the game, including both Lucid Motors and even Volkswagen, which has launched one of the most aggressive electrification programs of any conventional automaker.