CES 2023: Ram electric pickup truck joins the crowded field next year

CES 2023: Ram electric pickup truck joins the crowded field next year
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DETROIT (AP) — When a futuristic-looking electric Ram pickup goes on sale next year, it’s hardly going to be the first in line.

By then, at least seven competing EVs are slated to go on sale, all vying for a piece of the huge full-size truck market that now includes the top three best-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, GMC Sierra EV and Tesla’s Cybertruck — are scheduled to launch.

Still, executives at Ram, which is Stellantis’ brand of trucks and commercial vehicles, 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 have full knowledge of what the other guys have announced.”

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

GM has announced that the Silverado EV will be able to travel more than 400 miles (640 kilometers) on a single charge. (Its rivals have ranges between 230 and 400 miles, depending on battery size.) Koval insists that production Ram “will exceed 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, chief information officer for, said the Ram won’t come to market too late because electric trucks on sale now can’t fully meet sustained growth in consumer demand.

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

Last year, Americans bought more than 2.1 million full-size pickup trucks, most of which still run on gasoline. Large trucks accounted for more than 15% of all new vehicle sales in the US, a huge and lucrative market. Electric vehicle sales are growing rapidly: last year, 807,000 of them were sold in the United States, 65% more than in 2021.

Prices for EV trucks, which are comparatively expensive, will have to move closer to those of gasoline versions to attract buyers, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive.

Initially, Ford’s electric pickup truck was going to have a version that cost around $40,000. But the asking price is now just under $56,000, driven by demand and rising commodity prices. That’s a lot more than the base gas-powered F-150, which starts just under $34,000.

“The problem with pricing,” Krebs said, “is that the costs are rising to build electric vehicles. Prices for lithium and other (battery) minerals are high.”

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

Koval says he’s well aware that the electric Ram will have to appeal to customers who want work versions of the base model, as well as those who want higher-priced technology and luxury, even with “crazy” raw material costs.

“We’re going to try to have something for everyone,” he said, “but with an eye toward 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 accessed through “saloon-style” doors with a multi-configuration interior.

Getting people to give up their gas-powered trucks can take a while, Krebs acknowledges. 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 receive tax credits and avoid paying for gas.

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

Electric trucks, he said, “give people who were maybe on the fence about (an EV) more reason to buy.”

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