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Tesla has more than 400,000 Model 3 reservations, which will take nearly two years to fill at the current rate of production. Despite the “production hell” headlines and questions about how the manufacturing struggles will impact quality, people are still lining up for the car.
In fact, last month the Model 3 outsold every BMW passenger car combined. That seems to be a proof point that Tesla is making significant progress on its mission “to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable transport.” That said, it doesn’t seem like much of a stretch for someone to trade their BMW for a Tesla.
What’s more difficult to imagine is someone giving up their Ford F-150 for a Tesla pickup. The success of a Tesla pickup could be the most important battle for Tesla to win in pursuit of its mission. Convert the coal rollers and the world will follow.
Pickups are Popular
Light trucks accounted for 68 percent of industry sales in the first several weeks of August – a record level for the month – and the 26th straight month truck volume has topped 60 percent of the overall market, according to J.D. Power.
Ford’s F-Series is not just the best-selling truck – with Chevy’s Silverado and Dodge’s Ram second and third – they are the best-selling vehicles of any kind in the U.S. Combined, Ford, GM, and Dodge sold more than 2 million trucks in 2017.
The truck market is a huge opportunity for Tesla, as the Big Three aren’t exactly racing to get an all-electric truck to dealerships.
Electric Truck Plans for Dodge, Ford and GM
The Big Three know that they will eventually need to produce an all-electric pickup, so there are certainly designs in development. However, don’t expect an all-electric truck from them soon. Here are the latest developments from America’s favorite pickup manufacturers:
Ford – Ford announced last year that they plan to produce a hybrid powertrain for the F-150 in 2020. An all-electric pickup is not part of near-term plans.
GM – General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra recently said that the automaker has given a “tiny bit” of thought on building an electric pickup truck. The 2016 Chevrolet Silverado offered an E-Assist option (just 500 units) that leveraged Chevrolet Volt components for an additional 13 horsepower, 44 lb-ft of torque from the electric motor and a 13-percent increase in fuel economy. The company has not since offered any electrified options. That said, the company has said the company’s future will be all-electric. Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product, said last year, “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”
Ram – The 2019 Ram 1500 has a 48-volt mild hybrid powertrain. The truck’s “eTorque” system consists of a small, air-cooled 48-volt, 430 Watt-Hour lithium-ion battery pack mounted in the cab behind the rear seats. The 5.7-liter mild hybrid Ram manages two MPG higher in EPA city and combined fuel economy over the available non-hybrid V8 truck. But, an all-electric Ram doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.
The Upstart Electric Pickups
While Dodge, Ford, and GM aren’t in a hurry, several other companies are working on electric pickups.
Rivian A1T – A company called Rivian is build a completely new chassis and powertrain underneath an extended cab Ford F-150 body. Details are slim on the Rivian build, but it’s said to have a range between 200 and 450 miles depending on the battery configuration, with acceleration of 0 to 60 mph in 2.8 seconds for the high-end version. Price is expected to start at $50,000 up to nearly $100,000. The truck is expected to hit streets in 2020.
Workhorse W-15 – The W-15 has electric motors front and rear that make a combined 442 horsepower. The truck is powered by Panasonic lithium-ion battery cells arranged in a pack between the rails of the frame. The truck has an estimated electric range of 80 miles, with a 1.5-liter, three-cylinder motor from BMW that increases range to 310 miles. The company says it has thousands of orders and plans to go into production next year.
Atlis XT -The fully electric Atlis XT is expected to have a 100 kWh battery pack capable of a 300-mile range as the base. The company is also planning 400-mile and 500-mile variants. The truck will be offered as an extended cab or crew cab capable of 0 – 60 mph in less than 5 seconds, unloaded. Top speed is expected to be 120 mph, with payload capability weighing in at 5,000 pounds. The XT is expected to go into production in 2020.
Bollinger B1 – The Bollinger Motors B1 is really more of an SUV, but it’s designer’s have built it for work. It features an all-aluminum chassis and body with a dual-motor electric powertrain married to a 120-kWh battery pack providing a minimum 200-mile range. The 5,000-pound truck has a payload capacity of 5,000 pounds, and an adjustable suspension can vary ground clearance from 10 to 20 inches. Production is expected to begin next year.
What We Know About the Tesla Pickup
When Tesla unveiled the Semi, they also teased an image of a pickup that was hard to imagine being put into production. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the pickup would be a smaller version of the Semi – “a pickup truck that can carry a pickup truck,” he said.
Back in August, Musk stoked the anticipation for the Tesla Pickup, which likely won’t go into production for a few years.
“Probably my personal favorite for the next product is the pickup truck, and we are going to just do an amazing pickup truck,” he said.
What would you love to see in a Tesla pickup truck? I have a few things in mind, but what do you think are small, but important nuances & what would be seriously next level?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 26, 2018
Unfortunately, there’s little more information on the pickup beyond a Tweetstorm from Musk. Here are some of the features he mentioned:
Those sound like attractive features for any pickup buyer, but will it be enough to convert Blue Oval and Bowtie loyalists?