Large pickup trucks prove to be a lucrative business in the United States, particularly for companies such as Ford and General Motors. But while both of their current lineups are producing sales, most of their profits come from decades-old nameplates.
Enter Tesla. A relatively new name that has been disrupting the American automotive industry for the last few years, one that has announced it is working to marry America’s most-loved vehicle and the industry’s progressive segment by introducing an electric pickup.
If Tesla succeeds in this undertaking, it would be a huge dent on the market performance of leading truck brands. Which is why Ford and General Motors are racing to build their respective electric pickup trucks in an attempt to spoil Tesla’s plans.
“This is going to be a real watershed for the whole industry,” Ford Chairman Bill Ford told Reuters in an interview. He also hinted at a feature that gives the electric truck a load-carrying space under the hood aside from the traditional truck bed. “You pick up all that extra space where the engine compartment has been,” he said.
By the looks of it, the electric F-series could be marketed as a work truck positioned as a high-performance model next to the gas-powered Raptor pickup truck that makes 450 horsepower.
Ford Motor Co. has committed $11.5 billion in the electrification of its vehicles by 2022, which includes 16 fully electric vehicles all expected to be profitable for the company despite predictions that it could only be a small niche in the industry.
For General Motors, an electric full-size pickup is also confirmed to be in the works, but Chief Executive Mary Barra has not shared other details pertaining to the model. What GM has confirmed so far is that $8 billion will be invested to develop electric and self-driving vehicles, 20 of which will be launched globally by 2023.
Tesla is also targeting 2022 as the year it formally introduces its electric pickup dubbed as a “cyberpunk” truck that has the performance of a Porsche 911. The prototype for the Tesla truck is expected to be released sometime this year.
But Ford and GM personnel privy to the matter seem to be unfazed as their electric pickups are also expected to be ready by early 2022.
“Our strategy is very clear. We’re going to play to our strengths. We’re good at pickups,” Ford’s director of electrification Ted Cannis told Reuters.