Why Are Companies Investing Big in Electric Pickup Trucks?

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Why Are Companies Investing Big in Electric Pickup Trucks?

Electric trucks are quickly becoming the vehicle of choice for both consumers and businesses, especially for work and local delivery tasks. The automotive industry is responding to this growing demand by heavily investing in the development and production of electric trucks like never before.

America’s Electric Vehicle of Choice: The Electric Truck

In the United States, trucks and SUVs reign supreme as the most cherished vehicles. This is evident from the long waitlists for new models from Ford, GM, and Rivian, where consumers and businesses are reserving vehicles years in advance. Among all the electric vehicles (EVs) introduced in 2022, the electric pickup truck stands out as the clear favorite for both individual and fleet use. This popularity aligns perfectly with the nation’s automotive preferences, especially considering the Ford F-150’s status as the most beloved vehicle in the U.S. It topped the sales charts as the best-selling vehicle, new and used, in 2021.

The electric iteration of this classic, the Ford F-150 Lightning, saw its orders commence in January 2022. The overwhelming demand prompted Ford to upscale its production capabilities significantly. Specifically, at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, the company plans to double the production of the Lightning to an estimated 150,000 units per year to keep up with the growing appetite for electric vehicles.

The enthusiasm for electric trucks is palpable among the pickup truck demographic, with 40% of potential truck buyers this year expressing a desire to switch to electric models. Given that pickup trucks represent around 20% of the entire U.S. auto market, this trend marks a significant movement towards electrification in the American automotive landscape.

General Motors Embraces an Electric Future

General Motors has unveiled its biggest investment ever, dedicating $7 billion towards enhancing Michigan plants for electric pickup truck production, including models like the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra, set for 2024. Alongside LG Energy, GM secured $824 million in Michigan state incentives, highlighted by a groundbreaking $600 million direct taxpayer grant. This funding, coupled with an additional $500 million investment in two other facilities, promises to create over 4,000 jobs, signaling GM’s strong move towards an electric-dominated automotive future.

Electric Vehicles: Powering Fleets and Businesses Forward

Electric pickups aren’t just for personal use; they’re increasingly becoming the choice for various industries requiring durable vehicles. Major companies are already transitioning their fleets to electric, spurred by initiatives like the Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, launched by Ceres. This alliance, with members such as Amazon, AT&T, DHL, and IKEA, aims to fast-track the move to electric vehicles. Collectively, these companies manage nearly 1.3 million vehicles in the U.S. alone.

DHL Express U.S., under CEO Greg Hewitt, has set ambitious goals to electrify 60% of its last-mile delivery fleet and integrate more eco-friendly medium and heavy-duty trucks within the next ten years. Electric pickups are proving to be versatile, essential for local deliveries ranging from food to construction materials. Karl Brauer of iSeeCars predicts the convenience of accessing tools from an electric pickup’s ‘frunk’ (front trunk) will soon be a common sight at job sites.

Furthermore, as NPR highlights, major delivery services are shifting towards electric or low-emission fleets. This move not only aims to cut operational costs but also to address climate change and urban pollution. FedEx stands out with its commitment to electrify its entire fleet by 2040, illustrating the broader trend towards sustainability in the logistics and transportation sectors.

The Shift to Electric Trucks: A Win for the Environment

Trucks, which are major energy consumers in freight transport, are at the forefront of potential environmental benefits through electrification. The significant CO2 emissions from traditional gas trucks present a considerable challenge. On average, a freight truck in the U.S. emits 161.8 grams of CO2 per ton-mile, contributing to 23% of all transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions, according to SmartWay.

As companies contemplate the shift to electric, the environmental advantages offer a compelling incentive for rapid action. This move towards electric trucks represents a collaborative effort across corporate and manufacturing sectors, aiming to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of commercial fleets in the coming years. The transition not only promises to lower emissions but also positions electric trucks as a key player in the fight against climate change.

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