At least according to one major automaker.
If you ask some automakers, they'll tell you that electric vehicles are the future. American automaker Rivian is one such car company, and it's already proved how much publicity can come from announcing an electric pickup truck. Tesla is also working on a pickup truck of its own, which CEO Elon Musk says will be better than the Ford F-150 and Porsche 911. And so it seems that electric pickup trucks are all the rage - even Ford is looking into building an all-electric version of its best-selling F-150.
But not every major automaker is so quick to jump on the electric truck bandwagon. Because even though Chevy had previously hinted at an electric Silverado and GMC has expressed similar interest in building one of its own, GM no longer seems as enthusiastic about the idea. Speaking in a recent interview with Bloomberg, General Motors President Mark Reuss confirmed that by putting a damper on the GM electric truck timeline and giving a very thorough explanation of why.
The interview came at the heels of GM's recent $150 million investment into its Flint Assembly facility to bolster the production of the Silverado HD and Sierra HD. When asked whether or not the Flint plant could produce an electric truck, Reuss responded, "Any of our plants could do it. We are pretty flexible. But the battery electric pickup truck, that's going to take a little time in terms of supplanting the volume you see behind me."
Reuss makes a fair point. Buyers rely on their pickup trucks and continue to buy them in huge numbers. The Silverado sold 585,581 units in 2018, enough to make it the second best-selling vehicle in the US, and the Sierra added another 219,554 sales to that tally. And while electric pickups capture a niche market, truck customers are loyal and may not be willing to try such a new technology right away.
"People earn livings with these and they are relatively inexpensive to operate," said Reuss. "If you look at battery electric pickup trucks, you have to solve a few things." Reuss mentioned charge times, infrastructure, battery cell cost, and towing capacity as possible hurdles to building an electric truck.
In response to recent publicity-hogging entrants like Rivian and Telsa, Reuss pointed out that "they will be more on the luxury high end. They may be great off-road, they may be fast and great to handle, but when it comes to hauling things for a long distance reliably, that's why this heavy duty piece of the segment is so important."