June 26, 2022

The Rivian R1T. The R1T was purported to arrive in Canada early this yr, however that has been pushed again to at the least this July.Jeremy Sinek /The Globe and Mail

Petrina Gentile: There’s a battle brewing between new electrical truck gamers and conventional auto makers – all vying for a bit of that profitable truck market. In line with DesRosiers Automotive Consultants, out of all the brand new automobiles bought in 2021, a couple of in 5 was a pickup. That’s plenty of vans.

Mark Richardson: They’re scrambling to get their electrical vans on the street.

Gentile: It’s been powerful for carmakers coping with one challenge after one other: the latest truck blockade on the bridge linking Detroit to Windsor, provide points, the worldwide semiconductor chip scarcity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Producers have scaled again manufacturing and a few automobiles, particularly electrical ones, are taking longer to make it to market.

Richardson: This could possibly be an excellent factor for customers. It would imply extra choices once they lastly do make it to the showroom.

Gentile: True. Let’s face it – Tesla began the race by unveiling its edgy-looking Cybertruck again in November, 2019. Regardless of apparently having greater than 1,000,000 preorders, posted by the Cybertruck fan membership, it’s not but on the street. And it’s not anticipated till early subsequent yr.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk introduces the Cybertruck at Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne, Calif., in Nov. 2019.The Canadian Press

Richardson: A buddy of mine has his preorder in. He actually stated, “why not? It’s only a hundred bucks and I could possibly be the good man on the town for a month or two.” He additionally stated it was butt-ugly. When it’s time to truly pay for the factor, that’s once we’ll see what number of supporters it has.

Gentile: It’s surprisingly low cost, beginning at US$40,000.

Richardson: Sure, and topping out at US$70,000 for a three-motor all-wheel drive. Besides Tesla eliminated all of the specs and pricing from its on-line order web page final October, with no clarification. So we’ll see.

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Gentile: Time will inform. Tesla has a goal on its again. There are a number of U.S. startup firms all engaged on truck EVs, like Rivian, with its R1T.

Richardson: Vans are the place the cash is. If makers can construct heavy haulers as a substitute of ultra-lightweight compact vehicles, then EVs actually will grow to be mainstream on our roads. And new firms like Rivian, loaded with actually billions of {dollars} in funding money from firms like Amazon and Ford, could make a clear begin with a truck just like the R1T. It seems good, however it nonetheless has challenges.

Gentile: All of them have challenges, however that is Rivian’s first product and so much is using on it. Who is aware of how dependable or reliable the R1T will likely be? And it’s costly, beginning round $90,000. But it surely’s estimated to have an electrical vary between 480 to 640 kilometres and can tow as much as 11,000 kilos. It was purported to arrive in Canada early this yr, however that’s been pushed again to at the least this July.

Richardson: They’re nonetheless on the right track to make it to market although, in contrast to Detroit-based Bollinger, with its B2 electrical truck.

Gentile: It’s too unhealthy. Though it was costly, at US$125,000, the B2 was cool with distinctive options together with foldable and detachable physique panels on the doorways, home windows, windshield and roof. You would additionally prolong the mattress size by eradicating the rear cab wall and the rear seats so you might carry cargo as much as 16 toes lengthy. However Bollinger simply ditched plans to carry it to market. It needs to deal with business EVs as a substitute.

Richardson: There’s cash in these platforms, too. Magna Inc. has an all-electric platform that it’s blissful to promote to pickup truck makers. Electrical automobiles are less complicated general than inner combustion, in order that they’re extra simple to construct. As soon as the battery has the ability and vary, it’s all about these distinctive options for deciding which truck to purchase.

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Gentile: Ford is banking its F-150 Lightning all-electric truck, which is predicated on its best-selling F-150, will make it to market earlier than the competitors. It begins round $58,000 and has a spread of as much as 480 kilometres with the larger battery pack. Practically 200,000 have been preordered to this point. It’s constructed on the new Rouge Electrical Car Centre in Dearborn, Mich., and is anticipated to reach this spring. However I wouldn’t maintain my breath.

Richardson: I’m not holding my breath for any of those vans to reach quickly, however it is a lengthy sport. EV pickups will likely be in it for the lengthy haul, if solely their batteries can address the lengthy haul.

Hummer EV Version 1. The Hummer EV shares the identical EV platform and battery know-how because the Silverado EV.Courtesy of producer

Gentile: Properly, GMC is displaying some promise – I’ll be driving the Hummer EV Version 1 pickup in Arizona on the finish of March. You’re sufficiently old to recollect the outdated Hummer nameplate? Possibly it has a shot of constructing it to market this yr?

Richardson: Ugh. It would make it right here by then, however it’s the epitome of American overkill. It’ll be a four-tonne truck trampling by the wilderness. Greater than half of that weight will likely be from the batteries, simply so it will possibly make a thousand pointless horsepower for house owners to brag about.

Gentile: However at the least it’s extra environmentally pleasant than the unique Hummer. The Hummer EV additionally shares the identical EV platform and GM’s Ultium battery know-how because the Silverado EV – that’s proper, Silverado goes electrical, too.

The 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST. The Silverado received’t arrive in Canada till the autumn of 2023.Paul Sancya/The Related Press

Richardson: I’m wanting ahead to seeing the Silverado EV. GM’s Ultium battery tech could be very superior and it ought to be long-lasting, with cells that speak to one another by Wi-Fi connections – no wires. That is precisely the identical know-how that’s within the new Cadillac Lyriq, a number of steps past the Bolt EV.

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Gentile: And the Ultium battery pack makes use of much less cobalt and extra nickel than the Bolt’s battery pack. However the issue is Silverado received’t arrive in Canada till the autumn of 2023.

Richardson: When it does, GM says it’ll solely be both a stripped-down work truck to be bought to fleets, or a totally loaded luxurious car, shut to 6 figures. If I need to purchase one, I’ll in all probability wait till the better-priced trim ranges arrive, perhaps the next yr.

Gentile: However that’s too late. Silverado will go head-to-head in opposition to the Lightning, and it has the benefit of popping out first. Silverado is late to the get together.

Richardson: Talking of late – what about Ram? I’ve not heard a lot about its electrical truck.

Gentile: That’s as a result of they haven’t stated a lot about it. The RAM 1500 electrical is meant to have a spread of 800 kilometres and tow as much as 10,000 kilos. But it surely’s very late to the get together – it isn’t popping out till 2024. Can it even seize a bit of the market at that time?

Richardson: Pickup truck patrons are usually intensely loyal to their model, whether or not they’re fleet purchasers or people. I feel a distinction of a few years between first and final will likely be painful, however not overly so. I’m positive Ram patrons will wait.

Gentile: I disagree. EV truck patrons can’t wait to get their arms on a truck. I agree truck patrons are loyal, however I feel they could be tempted to cross-shop this time round.

Richardson: One factor is for positive. If a maker brings out a brand new EV truck and it’s not an enchancment on its competitors from the earlier yr, it’ll be lifeless within the water.

Gentile: Not essentially. I feel Tesla is exempt from that.

Richardson: Possibly so – Tesla does appear to play by a complete completely different algorithm.

What automotive do you have to purchase? Write to Mark and Petrina at [email protected] and use ‘What automotive’ as a part of your topic line. Emails with completely different topic traces is probably not answered.

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