DETROIT – Seven auto companies have plans to roll out new battery-powered pickup trucks over the next two years, aiming to cash in on a popular and lucrative market for expensive vehicles.
General Motors is among them, and on Tuesday its GMC brand introduced a new electric Hummer pickup, with a high-end version due in showrooms sometime in the fall of next year.
The Hummer will be joined by crosstown rival Ford's electric F-150, Tesla's Cybertruck and pickups from four startup companies. All intend to start producing them between June of next year and the end of 2022.
Prices announced thus far show they range from roughly $40,000 for a base Cybertruck to a loaded off-road Hummer “Edition 1” that will start at more than $112,000.
GM, Ford, Tesla, Bollinger Motors, Nikola, Rivian and Lordstown Motors all want a piece of what is now a petroleum-powered market dominated by Ford's F-Series trucks, as well as GM's Chevrolet Silverado and Fiat Chrysler's Ram pickup.
Last year, U.S. consumers bought more than 3 million pickups of all sizes. Ford's F-Series for decades has been the nation's top-selling vehicle, and the company sold close to 900,000 in 2019. This year, with sales depressed by the coronavirus, pickup sales have been a beacon of strength for automakers, which are trying to make up for production lost when factories were forced to close earlier in the year.
Big pickups now start around $30,000, but can run over $90,000 when loaded with options. The average light-duty full-size pickup cost nearly $50,000 in September, while heavy-duty trucks averaged over $62,000, according to Edmunds.com, which provides content to The Associated Press.
Experts say that since buyers are willing to pay more for trucks, it's likely they'll also be willing to shell out the cost of electric batteries and motors, which now are more expensive than gas or diesel trucks. But the automakers are taking a risk, and it remains to be seen what the actual selling prices will be, says Eric Ibara, director of residual vehicle values for Cox Automotive.