CES 2023: The Ram electric pickup joins a crowded field next year

DETROIT (AP) — When a futuristic-looking electric Ram pickup goes on sale next year, it’s unlikely to be first in line.

At least seven EV competitors are scheduled to go on sale by then, all vying for a share of the huge full-size truck market that now includes the top three selling gasoline and diesel vehicles in the United States.

Four models – Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Rivian’s R1T, Lordstown Motors’ Endurance and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup – are already on the road. And this year or next, three more — the Chevrolet Silverado EV, the GMC Sierra EV and Tesla’s Cybertruck — are slated for release.

Still, executives at Ram, Stellantis’ truck and commercial vehicle brand, say they don’t mind following rather than leading their competitors.

“It’s actually an advantage for us,” Mike Koval Jr., CEO of the Ram brand, said in an interview. “Because we know full well what the other guys have announced.”

On Thursday afternoon, company executives unveiled a concept version of the Ram 1500 Revolution battery truck at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas. The production truck probably won’t be as sharp as the one shown on stage, which looks like something between Tesla’s angular Cybertruck and a conventional gas-powered pickup truck. But the Ram EV, Koval said, will outperform competitors in the areas customers value most: payload, towing, range and technology.

GM announced that the Silverado EV will be able to travel over 400 miles (640 kilometers) on a single charge. (Its competitors have ranges between 230 and 400 miles, depending on battery size.) Koval insists that the production Ram “will outperform anything our competitors have announced.”

By next year, he noted, there will be more charging stations and other infrastructure, making the EV market more attractive.

Jessica Caldwell, executive director of Insights for, said Ram won’t be late to the market because electric trucks on sale now can’t fully meet sustained growth in consumer demand.

GM says more than 170,000 people have made $100 refundable deposits on the Sierra. Ford sold more than 15,000 Lightning trucks last year, even though the vehicles weren’t available until May. The company closed reservations after receiving $100 deposits from nearly 200,000 potential buyers.

Americans bought more than 2.1 million full-size pickup trucks last year, most of which still run on gas. Large pickup trucks account for more than 15 percent of all new car sales in the U.S., a huge and lucrative market. Sales of electric vehicles are growing rapidly: 807,000 of them were sold in the United States last year – a 65% increase from 2021.

The prices of electric trucks, which are relatively expensive, will have to come closer to those of the gasoline versions to turn away buyers, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Cox Automotive.

Ford’s electric pickup truck was originally supposed to have a version starting around $40,000. But the starting price is now just under $56,000, driven by demand and rising raw material prices. That’s a lot more than the base gas F-150, which starts just under $34,000.

“The problem with pricing,” Krebs said, “is that the costs go up to build EVs. The prices of lithium and other (storage) minerals are high.”

Automakers say prices should fall as companies spread costs across more vehicles and as breakthroughs in battery chemistry reduce the amount or even eliminate the minerals now needed to store energy.

Koval says he knows the electric Ram will have to appeal to customers who want performance versions of the base model, as well as those who want luxury and technology at higher prices — even with “crazy” raw material costs. .

“We’re going to try to have something for everyone,” he said, “but with an eye on that critical price point.”

The truck will also offer 350-kilowatt fast charging that can add up to 100 miles of range in about 10 minutes, a large interior accessible through saloon-style doors with a multi-configuration interior.

Getting people to give up their gas-powered trucks may take some time, Krebs admits. In the Midwestern states and Texas, where most pickup trucks are sold, there aren’t many EV charging stations that allow for longer trips.

Electric trucks may also appeal to companies that buy fleets of work trucks and want to get tax credits and avoid paying for gasoline.

Caldwell thinks the electric pickup market will include buyers who use them for work and those who would otherwise buy an electric SUV for personal use.

Electric trucks, she said, “give people who might have been on the fence about (EVs) more of a reason to buy.”

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