Bad timing for the electric pickup party
Several startups and some major players are trying to pump out electric pickups, but it seems as though time may have run out on them. Thanks partly to the coronavirus outbreak, coupled with a stock market bubble and an incredibly overleveraged (over-indebted) corporate world, there may be few people who can buy their products when they finally roll off the line; and any company that needs more financing may be in bigger trouble.
Maybe the issues of debt and leverage are why Tesla insisted on keeping its American plant open, violating health authorities’ shutdown orders; city and county police even had to visit the plant. Tesla has strong valuations but has yet to declare a profit for the full year, despite massive payments from mainstream automakers for pollution credits.
Chances are any bankrupt companies will be snatched up by Chinese or Saudi investors, á la Fisker (which is now Karma).
Rivian has stopped working on its new plant, which will affect Ford’s electric pickup, likely a Rivian with a different “top hat” (body above the “skateboard” powertrain/chassis assembly). Rivian will certainly survive, but may end up having to sell more equity to Amazon.
Two companies are mainly aiming for fleets, and they may be hurt harder—or not; Bollinger, which is mainly aiming at a luxury market, may not see any problems at all, other than delays.
See if you can pick the winners and the losers from this table.
Electric Pickup Specifications
|Lordstown Endurance||Rivian||Bollinger B1||Havelaar Bison||GMC Hummer||Tesla U||Atlis XT||Alfa Wolf|
|Starts at||$52,500||$70,000||$125,000||$45,000||$50,000 to $70,000||$45,000||$36,000|
|Range (miles)||250 (EPA)||230 to 400||200||186||Options to 500||300, 400, or 500||250-275|
|Driven wheels||All||All||All (high/low range gearbox)||All||RWD w/opt AWD||All (motor at each wheel)||RWD w/opt AWD|
|Battery||105, 135, or 180 kWh||120 kWh||40 kWh||120 or 160 kWh||NCM based starting at 125 kWh||75 or 85 kWh|
|Top speed (mph)||80||127||80||120|
|0-60 mph||3 sec||4.5||~3 sec||$70,000 edition: 2.9 sec||5 sec||6.2|
|Top towing||7,500||11,000||7,500||Up to 14,000||6,000 to 17,000; up to 35,000 w/fifth wheel, gooseneck||3,000|
|Payload||5,000||3,500||1,000 to 5,000|
|Ground clearance||Up to 14.5 inches||15 inches||“up to” 16 inches||12 or 15 inches|
|Wading depth||42.7 inches|
|Horses||600||Up to 750 hp||614||1,000||~ 800|
|Torque||Up to 829 lb-ft||668||11,500 (around 950 SAE)||~ 1,000|
|Size||217.1 x 79.3 in||207.5 x 89.0||231.7 x 79.8|
|Approach, departure angles||34.8° / 30.5° in off-road mode||52°/ 28°||35° / 28°|
|Breakover angle||25.7° in off-road mode||25°|
|Trunk cubic feet||11||14||18|
|Body||Top hat on skateboard||Aluminum||Carbon fiber-reinforced steel spaceframe|
|Slow/fast charge||10 hours / 90 mins||10 hours / 75 minutes|
|Curb weight||5,000 lb|
|Motors||Four in-hub motors||Four at wheels||One front, one rear||Dual||One, two, or three||Four|
|Notes||3 yr warranty (8 yr battery); former GM plant||One of many using this chassis||Similar to an SUV||For fleet use; Canadian||Only “concept” figures known||Compact pickup|
|Production||Overdue. Lordstown tens of thousands of pre-orders.||Very, very soon for fleets. 100,000 pre-orders from Amazon.||Limited run, very likely to be made.||Late 2021; reveal 5/20/2020||Claimed late 2021. Tesla does not have a great record for factual predictions.||No production date|
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, and lives in Farmingdale, New York.