DETROIT (Reuters) – Tesla CEO Elon Musk and his Spacy Cybertruck have sparked a frenzy over electric pickup trucks, and at least seven other U.S. automakers plan to build new battery-powered trucks by 2021 .
The question is who will buy them.
Companies ranging from General Motors Co GM.N at startup Lordstown Motors Corp have announced plans to introduce electric pickup trucks over the next two years and are expected to build up to 250,000 a year by 2024, industry analysts say.
Sales of these battery-powered trucks, however, cannot exceed 70,000 per year, even when many factories reach full production, according to AutoForecast Solutions analyst Sam Fiorani.
If demand falls so far from production targets, “there are going to be a lot of auto executives crying in their beer,” predicts IHS analyst Markit Joe Langley.
Musk posted on Twitter that Tesla had received 200,000 reservations, requiring deposits of $ 100, within 72 hours of unveiling his Cybertruck, and planned to build up to 50,000 a year. The wedge-shaped pickup is expected to go into production in late 2021 and start selling for just under $ 40,000.
The total US market for conventional pickup trucks powered by internal combustion engines is just over 3 million.
Many EV pickup trucks are featured by newcomers including Bollinger Motors and Hercules Electric Vehicles, both based in the Detroit area, and Atlis Motor Vehicles, in Mesa, Arizona. Projected prices range from $ 45,000 to $ 125,000.
Lordstown Motors has entered into a license agreement with Ohio-based Workhorse to build an electric pickup called Endurance at GM’s former assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio. Lordstown executives have said they plan to begin production in late 2020, with prices starting at $ 52,500.
Perhaps the most important new electric pickup is the R1T from well-funded newcomer Rivian, the Michigan startup that includes Ford Motor Co. FN and Amazon.com Inc AMZN.O among its investors.
The R1T is slated to go into production late next year at a former Mitsubishi Motors plant in Normal, Ill., And will cost $ 69,000. In its first full year of production, Rivian plans to build around 25,000 pickup trucks, but is installing capacity to build up to 260,000 vehicles, including a companion electric SUV and an electric delivery van for Amazon.
GM and Ford both plan to start building premium electric pickup trucks in late 2021 at assembly plants in the Detroit area. Each company expects annual production of electric trucks to reach around 40,000 by 2024, analysts say.
Report by Paul Lienert in Detroit; Editing by David Gregorio