Ram Could Follow Tesla, Ford and GM into Electric Pickup Trucks

Electric pickups could be the next big thing for the Big Three (and Elon Musk).

2020 ram 1500
FCA US LLC

Electric vehicles may have first achieved a beachhead in the automotive marketplace in the form of compact hyper-efficient rides — yes, we still remember you, EV1 — but if they do eventually achieve victory over internal combustion in America, it seems likely to come at least in part in the form of electrified pickup trucks. After all, pickups aren't just the bread and butter for Detroit's Big Three — they're the meat and potatoes, the starter salad and the unlimited breadsticks, too.

Tesla, of course, has its entry in the wings — the highly-anticipated, batshit-crazy, probably-not-street-legal-yet-but-hey-that's-a-later-problem Cybertruck. Rivian's R1T is poised to launch early next year, its production slightly delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. GM has its GMC Hummer EV coming, along with an electric Chevy Silverado and an onslaught of battery-powered Cadillaqs. Ford has a plug-in hybrid F-150 coming this year, with a fully electric one close behind. And upstarts like Lordstown, Nikola and Bollinger are poised to throw their hats into the ring, as well.

All this leads us to wonder: will Ram follow suit?

After all, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles — ahem, Stellantis — has been something of a laggard in vehicular electrification compared to GM and Ford. Apart from an unprofitable electric Fiat 500 and a PHEV minivan, its lineup has remained purely gas-powered, albeit with some vehicles receiving the mildest of hybrid assistance in the form of the eTorque system. PHEV Jeeps are about to join the lineup, but the omnipresence of 700-plus-horsepower V8s across the brands certainly creates the impression that The Automaker Formerly Known as FCA is more interested in kicking it old-school.

That said, Mopar's seeming reluctance to adopt electron-powered trucks could change if buyers start snapping up electric trucks by Ford, GM, Tesla et. al. and eating away at Ram's hard-won market share. That's the word from CEO Mike Manley, who said as much in a recent earnings call, according to The Detroit News.

"Obviously pickup trucks are a key franchise for us, and we’re not going to sit on the sidelines if there is a danger that our position gets diluted going forward," Manley said.

"The reason we haven’t spoken much about electric pickup trucks is not because we view that market as nonexistent," he said. "But we’ve always had a slightly different view of timing and adoption rates, particularly in North America in terms of full electrification. We are very committed to our electrification strategy — most of which we have revealed."

So far, those revelations largely revolve around the aforementioned PHEV Jeeps and other plug-in hybrid vehicles, although a fully-electric Jeep or two certainly seems among the possibilities. Luxury brand Maserati seems likely to be the first brand in the portfolio to push into full EVs, with the company's next GT expected to offer an electric powertrain.

Still, while Stellantis has been more forthcoming than many carmakers about its product plans for the next few years, Manley says the company hasn't shown every card in its hand yet. "We haven’t revealed everything," he said.

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