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The Latest on Electric Pickup Trucks

Rivian R1T. Photo © 2020 Andi Hedrick, courtesy of Rivian

George Harvey

Tesla is a success story that has so far been almost unbelievable. Tesla’s first car was first produced in 2009. In December of 2020, CNBC ran a story explaining that the market value of Tesla was greater than the market values of Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Peugeot, Toyota, and Volkswagen, put together (www.bit.ly/CNBC-Tesla-value).

The market value of a company really is only a measure of how people investing money feel about the future of the company. That said, however, it is clear investors see a good future for Tesla and are questioning the value of other auto makers.

Many Americans, unaware about changes in the broader world, might see electric vehicles as a fad centered on Tesla. We don’t see electric buses, because there are so few here. Reporting in November 2020, GlobalNewswire said there were only 650 in the entire country (www.bit.ly/GNW-650-buses). But we found that the city of Bogotá, Colombia placed two orders for electric buses in January, for a total of 1,472 of them. The U.S.A. had a total of 650. Bogotá had more than double that on order (www.bit.ly/CT-BYD-Bogota).

There are two reasons Chinese electric buses sell so well. One is that the buses may cost 50% more than diesel buses, but they cost only 20% as much to run, and the difference is made up in just a few years. The other reason is that China does not have any competition. The electric bus market took off in 2016 and has grown at an alarming rate for four years, while we weren’t looking.

Leaders of the automotive industry might have spent 2020 awakening to the fact investors valued their companies less than they did a newcomer with innovative ideas. They might have noticed that as sales slumped in 2020 because of Covid-19, sales of electric vehicles were increasing from 2019. We might wonder how they handled articles like one in EV Annex that said 60% of institutional investors said the value of internal combustion technology was “only slightly positive,” and 17% said it had negative value (www.bit.ly/EVA-ICE-value).

Audi recently answered that question, as an article in electrive.com reported. Audi CEO Markus Duesmann explained in an interview in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that Audi has stopped development of internal combustion engines (www.bit.ly/ET-Audi-abandons-ICE).

This brings us to the most American of all vehicles, the pickup truck. The American legacy auto makers have taken no more interest in the electric pickup truck market than they have in electric buses. The same applies to people buying pickup trucks. Heavy duty vehicles for work and on the farm and smaller pickups for homeowners have been what these customers needed, and the customer is always right, right?

GMC Hummer EV. GMC image.

Electric pickup trucks are on the way.

Actually, if you count hybrids as electric, Ford already has one, the hybrid F-150. In fact, this truck was a hero during the big Texas power outage. Many of these trucks have built-in generators that can keep their shallow-discharge batteries from being damaged when the truck is being used for backup power. When it became known that some were being used to power houses, Ford offered dealers incentives to put F-150s with generators into their loan fleets and use them to help out in the crisis (www.bit.ly/Ford-saves-the-day).

The F-150 is actually a good place to start talking about electric pickups. A very recent update from insidevs.com tells us a lot about the all-electric F-150. It says, “Ford has just announced that the F-150 electric pickup truck will be the most powerful F-150 ever, and that it will feature a giant frunk (front-end trunk), dual motors and be the most capable Ford truck to date.” And its most recent delivery time is for the first quarter of 2022, less than a year off. This is the same vehicle that famously towed a million pounds of loaded freight cars (www.bit.ly/IEV-F-150).

Pure electric pickups are on the way, also, and soon. Collating information from insidevs (www.bit.ly/IEV-pickups) and EVBite (www.bit.ly/EVB-pickups), we were able to find the following pickup trucks expected to be released in 2021:

The Rivian R1T is expected to be the first electric pickup truck actually delivered. Its starting price is $67,000. It will have a range of at least 250 miles and will have 754 horsepower (hp) motors. It is said evbite not really to be a work vehicle (www.bit.ly/GET-Rivian-pickup).

Tesla Cybertruck. Photo courtesy of Tesla.

The Tesla Cybertruck is due out later this year. It is actually the lowest-cost electric pickup truck listed, at a starting price of $39,900, and it has both respectable power and a range of 250 miles. Some people think it is stylish. Some people think it is horribly ugly (www.bit.ly/GET-Tesla-pickup).

The GMC Hummer is expected to appear late this year. Its starting price is $79,995. It will have a range of 250 miles and be powered by 1,000 hp of motors (www.bit.ly/GET-Hummer-pickup).

The Bollinger B2 is scheduled for release this year, with a 614-hp power plant and a 200-mile range. We are told it is to cost $125,000 (www.bit.ly/GET-Bollinger-pickup).

The Lordstown Endurance is expected sometime this year, with a 600-hp power plant and over 200 miles of range. Its price is $52,000 (www.bit.ly/GET-Lordstown-pickup). This vehicle is about the same price as a Ford F-150 Lariat 4WD, gets a $7,500 federal incentive, and costs about a third as much to fuel and maintain, according to the EVBite article cited above.

We suggest that anyone looking for a new pickup truck look into these, possibly order in advance, and have some patience until these models appear. Save some money now and stop worrying about the high cost of gas and oil. Get the power you need and come into our clean-energy future. They are coming soon.

2 comments to The Latest on Electric Pickup Trucks

  • Peter Lynch

    George: Nice article. Could you put some numbers to the statement that an EV bus costs only 20% to run compared to a regular bus? Easier to people not up on EV buses to get their arms around. ” just s few years is too vague” for a newie. 2 -3 4- years?

    There are two reasons Chinese electric buses sell so well. One is that the buses may cost 50% more than diesel buses, but they cost only 20% as much to run, and the difference is made up in just a few years.

  • Hi Peter,

    I am afraid you have caught me. Normally I document such data, but in this case I forgot to. Looking around quickly, I found an article at Inside Climate News that might help: http://www.bit.ly/ebus-data-2019

    Two quotes from the article.

    “In Chicago, the city’s transit agency estimates that its two e-buses save the city nearly $110,000 a year in health care expenses due to less air pollution from diesel buses. The buses are also saving the city more than $24,000 annually in fuel costs and $30,000 annually in maintenance costs.”

    “‘An e-bus in the U.S. today probably costs around $750,000,’ said Nick Albanese, a research associate with BloombergNEF who specializes in the electric vehicle market. ‘A diesel bus today is still only $550,000,’ he said.”

    This means that as of 2019, when the article was published, the payback of the difference in upfront cost was less than four years, if societal costs are not included, or less than two, if they are.

    The 2019 article shows that e-bus costs are about 140% of combustion buses. Another, more recent article in Ars Technica speaks to the changes in the costs: http://www.bit.ly/dropping-battery-costs

    According to that article, battery costs have dropped 88% over one decade, which is suggests an annual decline of a bit less than 20%. Working very roughly with Wright’s Law, we might guess that the cost of batteries might have declined 35% in the last two years. Since the main reason for the extra cost of e-buses is the batteries, we should guess that the 40% extra cost has been very much reduced in the last two years.

    I am sorry I cannot give you documentation on the data I quoted. I should do better.

    George

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