The One Thing You Can Count on With Electric Pickup Trucks? Delays.
Checking in on the EV truck market after the Lordstown bombshell
It’s been over a decade since Nissan made the all-electric Leaf available to consumers in the U.S. While other automakers have been slow to catch up on EVs, Americans now have multiple options for electrified cars, crossovers and SUVs. But what about the best-selling vehicle in the country, the pickup truck?
The story of electric pickups can be summed up in one word: delays. Despite the most popular consumer vehicles in the U.S. being trucks made by Ford, Chevrolet and Ram, there still isn’t an EV pickup you can just go out to a dealership and buy today. And with the cancellation of Nikola’s hydrogen-electric Badger and recent trouble brewing with Lordstown Motors’ Endurance, the prospect of one coming soon seems less and less likely.
While the continual postponement of the EV truck era is disappointing, it’s not surprising. The first company out of the gate with a reliable mass-produced electric truck has the potential to reap huge rewards, both financial and cultural, as Tesla did by creating the first covetable electric car that transcended the “electric” classification; and thus startups and auto giants alike have all thrown their hats in the ring, each with their own promises that can be delayed indefinitely as long as no one else no one else beats them to market.
So when, exactly, does it look like we’ll be getting an electric truck? Two years ago we detailed all of the EV pickups that had been announced, so let’s take a look at how far behind they are on their promises:
- Tesla Cybertruck: Elon Musk unveiled the Cybertruck pretty much on time, but since that event in November 2019 it is still not available. Production was set to begin in late 2021, but Musk recently said they would be “lucky” to get any deliveries done this year and that “volume production” won’t begin until 2022.
- Rivian R1T: Rivian is the most promising of all of the trucks, especially considering the startup received funding from Amazon, Ford and BlackRock. Their fall 2020 release was delayed due to COVID, but they set a new release date of June 2021 when they’ll begin fulfilling pre-orders.
- Ford Electric F-150: Being a legacy automaker and the king of trucks, Ford was not about to promise something it couldn’t deliver, which is why it hadn’t set a timeline in 2019. Now the company says it will begin production of an electric F-150 in mid-2022 for a 2023 model.
- Workhorse W-15: The startup predicted its electric pickup would be available in 2019 or early 2020. Today, they have no pickup to speak of. The intellectual property rights to the W-15 were sold to Lordstown Motors — both companies were founded by the same man, Steve Burns — and now Workhorse is focusing on delivery vans and last-mile vehicles, though they just lost the contract for the new USPS mail carrier.
- Lordstown Endurance: In December 2019, Lordstown Motors said they’d start production on their truck by November 2020. Last week, an investment research firm with a short stake in the company accused Lordstown of falsifying preorders and being years away from production, though Burns told the Wall Street Journal the company is on track to begin in September.
- Bollinger B2: Bollinger has been around since 2014. In 2019, they said production for their B2 pickup and B1 “Sport Utility Truck” would start in 2020, but now they’re saying production will begin in late 2021. Also notable: The price was previously estimated at $60K, but Bollinger has set it at $125K.
- Atlis XT: A pie-in-the-sky startup with little evidence to show their truck was anywhere near production, let alone real, targeted 2020. Now they’re saying 2021, though in a recent interview CEO Mark Hanchett said a scalable truck with their low-end price of $45K could be three years away.
- Hummer EV: Yes, the Hummer EV is technically a truck and a production model has technically been officially unveiled. But the first available model, a trim called Edition 1 that’s limited to 3,500 vehicles and priced at $112,595, is already sold out and won’t be delivered to buyers until this fall. After that, GMC will begin rolling out three other lower-priced options in fall 2022, spring 2023 and spring 2024. The cheapest one will start at $79,995.
In other words, we’re still waiting for an electric pickup truck for the American masses. We’re confident Rivian will change the game come June, but with a track record like this lot, we’re also not holding our breath.
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