Could a future deal be made?
The all-electric pickup truck market won't be limited to just small automakers. A fully electrified version of the new Ford F-150 will arrive in 2022. GM also has truck electrification plans and FCA will also soon be forced to respond. The Tesla Cybertruck and Rivian R1T, however, will hit the road first sometime next year, but it's the latter that's caught the attention and admiration of the world's largest automaker, Volkswagen. For now, VW doesn't have any concrete EV truck plans, but that could change under the right set of circumstances.
Speaking to Autoblog, VW's board member for electric mobility, Thomas Ulbrich, said the German automaker is closely watching Rivian these days in regards to future possibilities for its own truck, the overseas-only Amarok.
"It's a difficult discussion, to have an Amarok or a similar car using BEV technology," he explained. "We are looking at what Rivian is doing, because normally it is difficult to believe that a car like the Amarok, for example, could be electrified. But, nevertheless, step by step our investigation and research makes us think it becomes more possible. By making this technology more and more robust, an Amarok-type of car would be BEV."
Interestingly, Ulbrich made no mention of the Cybertruck, perhaps because of its very unconventional styling. The R1T has a far more traditional design approach and it's closer in size to the Amarok. The Cybertruck, by contrast, is about as big as the largest F-150.
VW is not pursuing an electric pickup for now, though it did recently seal a deal to make use of the platform underpinning the Ford Ranger for its next-generation Amarok. Building an electric truck isn't so easy for VW, despite its multi-billion-dollar commitment to EVs. The MEB platform underpinning the upcoming VW ID.4, for example, is unibody construction and wouldn't work for a serious truck with off-road capabilities.
VW would either have to develop an EV truck platform from scratch or source a suitable architecture from elsewhere, such as Rivian.