bollinger, Lordstown Motors, rivian, tesla cybertruck, workhorse

8 electric pickup manufacturers may be a few too many, analysts say

DETROIT — Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his spacy Cybertruck have ignited a frenzy over electric pickups, and at least seven other U.S. automakers expect to build new battery-powered trucks by 2021.

The question is who will buy them.

Companies ranging from General Motors and Ford to startup Lordstown Motors have said they plan to introduce electric pickups over the next two years, and are scheduled to build up to 250,000 a year by 2024, according to industry analysts.

Sales of those battery trucks, however, may not exceed 70,000 a year, even when many of the plants hit full production, according to AutoForecast Solutions analyst Sam Fiorani.

If demand falls that far short of production targets, “there are going to be a lot of auto execs crying in their beer,” predicts IHS Markit analyst Joe Langley.

Musk indicated on Twitter that Tesla has received 200,000 reservations, requiring $100 deposits, within 72 hours after unveiling its Cybertruck, and plans to build up to 50,000 a year. The wedge-shaped pickup is expected to go into production in late 2021, and to start selling for a price of just under $40,000.

The total U.S. market for conventional pickups powered by internal combustion engines is just over 3 million.

Many of the EV pickups are being touted by newcomers, including Bollinger Motors and Hercules Electric Vehicles, both based in the Detroit area, and Atlis Motor Vehicles, in Mesa, Arizona. Projected prices range from $45,000 to $125,000.

Lordstown Motors has a licensing deal with Ohio-based Workhorse to build an electric pickup called Endurance at GM’s former assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Lordstown executives have said they plan to start production in late 2020, with prices starting at $52,500.

Perhaps the most important new electric pickup is the R1T from well-funded newcomer Rivian, the Michigan startup that includes Ford and Amazon among its investors.

The R1T is slated to go into production late next year at a former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Illinois, and will be priced from $69,000. In its first full year of production, Rivian plans to build about 25,000 pickups, but is installing capacity to build up to 260,000 vehicles, including a companion electric SUV and an electric delivery van for Amazon.

GM and Ford both expect to begin building premium electric pickups in late 2021 at Detroit-area assembly plants. Each company expects annual electric truck production to hit around 40,000 by 2024, analysts said.

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Lordstown Motors, Workhorse Trucks

2021 Lordstown Endurance electric pickup priced from $52,500

Even though there isn’t a huge demand for them yet, a lot of players, big and small, are readying battery-electric pickup trucks. One of them is a newcomer called Lordstown Motors, which only a couple of weeks ago announced it acquired a former General Motors plant located in Lordstown, Ohio, to build the Endurance electric pickup.

Now, in the same week that Tesla unveiled its own Cybertruck electric pickup, Lordstown has announced pricing and the start of pre-orders for the Endurance. Mind you, Lordstown hasn’t actually shown us its truck, apart from a couple of drawings.

The Endurance starts at $52,500 and anyone interesting in reserving an early build slot can place a $1,000 refundable deposit via Lordstown’s website. In comparison, the Cybertruck starts at $39,900.

The Endurance will apparently beat the Tesla to production by about a year, with Lordstown promising to start deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2020, with the first examples to arrive as 2021 models. Lordstown said the first deliveries will be to fleet customers.

Teaser for 2021 Lordstown Endurance

Full details on the Endurance will be revealed in due course but we know the truck will feature an electric motor at each wheel hub, a design the company said reduces the number of moving parts and will help to reduce breakdowns and maintenance costs for owners compared to conventional trucks. The Endurance will also feature a power take-off.

Lordstown is responsible for the design but the powertrain technology will be licensed from Workhorse, which manufactures electric vans and had planned to launch an extended-range electric pickup. It now appears Workhorse will focus on vans and Lordstown on the pickup.

The founder of Workhorse, Steve Burns, is also the CEO and founder of Lordstown. He’s joined at Lordstown by former Tesla manufacturing chief Rich Schmidt, as well as former senior executives at GM, Volkswagen and Karma.

There’s soon going to be a lot of competitors in the electric pickup space. In addition to the entries from Lordstown and Tesla, Ford has an electric F-150 is in the works, GM is working on at least one electric pickup of its own, maybe more, and EV startups Rivian and Bollinger plan to start production of their respective R1T and B2 pickup trucks in 2020.

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