2021 showed us that trucks and SUVs don’t need gasoline engines

The renaissance of modern electric vehicles has been hampered from day one by the physical limitations imposed by the current state of battery technology. Inefficiencies in the form of heavy batteries and low power densities have long limited not only the range and performance of EVs, but the very forms they can take – there’s a reason Tesla started with a. Roadster and not a Cybertruck. But steady advancements in power systems over the past few years – along with the growing demand for larger electrified vehicles destined for the U.S. market – have led to a turning point in 2021: the emergence of vans and EV SUVs.

Yes, we all know Model X exists and Tesla “did it first” – spare me your tweets – however, the number and variety of new pure EV pickup and SUV models ready to enter the market. showroom or in active development is amazing compared to just a few years ago. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s highlights.

GM is betting big on its proprietary Ultium battery technology, investing $ 35 billion in autonomous driving and electric vehicle technologies through 2025. The company also announced plans to sell 30 electric vehicle models by the end 2025 and electric vehicles exclusively after 2035 with the 1,000 horsepower GMC Hummer EV serving as a pioneering offering.

Jonathan Ernst / Reuters

The Hummer EV has been a sure-fire success since its debut last October. More than 10,000 potential buyers made down payments on the Hummer Edition 1 at $ 112,000 last December. Likewise, Hummer’s EV SUV variant revealed in April saw its pre-orders sell out in minutes – not bad for a vehicle that won’t hit the streets until fall 2023. Deliveries of the Hummer EV pickup are expected to begin this month. There have even been rumors of adapting the Hummer EV’s chassis and power system for military applications, although no firm decision on this proposal has yet been made.

Hummers are just the start. In April, GM confirmed that its second EV model will be an electrified Silverado. We still don’t know much about the Silverado beyond the fact that it will take advantage of GM’s Ultium battery technology, that the company is aiming for a range of over 400 miles, and that the EV pickup will deliver four-wheel steering, which shortens the turning radius’ at low speeds and increases stability when cornering at high speeds, especially when towing loads.

We’ll get a full account of the Silverado’s capabilities once it makes its official debut during GM’s keynote address at CES 2022. Additionally, GM unveiled its third upcoming electric vehicle in July – a pickup truck. Full-size GMC, according to CNBC. Little else is known about it at this time, although it will use the existing GMC Sierra brand. Hopefully we will have more clues in the new year.

Not to be outdone, the Stellantis group (formerly FCA and parent company of Chrysler, Jeep Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and many others) announced in July that it will also invest $ 35 billion in its electrification efforts through 2025 and will have 55 electrified vehicles (40 BEV, 15 PHEV) available in the US and European markets by the end of this year. Additionally, Stellantis is working on an all-electric Ram EV to compete with the Silverado and Ford F-150 Lightning, although the Ram is not expected to be released until 2024. For its part, in 2021, Jeep has shown a slick- looking. of the Wrangler BEV concept in March, launched its Wrangler Sahara 4XE “mild hybrid” in May and launched its PHEV Cherokee 4XE in September before the vehicle’s release in 2022.

Ford has also had a horn-worthy year, starting with the February release of the Mustang Mach-E. The EV met with a bit of trepidation initially, but cemented its position with the release of the performance-oriented GT edition. In total, Ford had sold more than 21,000 Mach-E units last October, despite a handful of recalls for loose bolts and “deep sleep” software bugs. Not bad for a first-year crossover SUV struggling to overcome deep-rooted customer nostalgia, but the Mach-E numbers are nothing compared to the hype that Ford’s upcoming F-150 Lightning EV is. aroused.

The company’s F-150 electrification efforts have hardly been an industry secret, but when Ford launched the Lightning on May 19 (or May 18 if you were watching President Biden’s speech), the American car-buying public has nearly lost their minds with nearly 45,000 people signing up to pre-order the EV pickup within the first 48 hours.

Interest in Ford’s upcoming Maverick mild hybrid pickup has been no less rampant. the Detroit News reported in August that more than 100,000 people have signed up to pre-order the mini-truck, many of whom were residents of California. Granted, these folks weren’t required to make a down payment, so it remains to be seen whether all of these pre-orders translate into actual sales – or if people just decide to restore their existing Ford ICEs with the home-made illuminator system. square.

Some of the biggest headlines in the 2021 EV truck space have come from stellar startup Rivian. While competitors like Lordstown Motors have found themselves strapped for cash and been the subject of Justice Department fraud investigations, Rivian has already reached his first production milestone: actually producing vehicles (although he had to push back its initial delivery window from July to September). But that’s not half.

This year, the company also announced plans to install 10,000 charging stations across North America by 2023, unveiled a membership plan for owners offering both on-road and off-road assistance as well as exclusive OTA software updates, and showcased its remote care program that would offer remote diagnostics and on-site repairs to electric trucks. The startup also has big plans for the future. It has announced plans to invest $ 5 billion in a second US-based production plant and would envision the UK as the site of its first international battery plant.

Some of these future plans will involve partnerships with other companies such as Amazon – which owns a 20% stake in Rivian, bought 100,000 vehicles from the startup in 2019 and has already started making deliveries to San Francisco and Los Angeles with them – but they won does not include Ford. Despite investing half a billion dollars in the electric vehicle startup two years ago, Ford announced in November that the two companies would no longer collaborate on an upcoming electric vehicle. Looks like the electric Lincoln rumor will likely stay dead for now.

The Rivian R1T arrives on stage as the 2022 Truck of the Year finalist at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, Calif. On November 17, 2021. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP) (Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images)

FREDERIC J. BROWN via Getty Images

On the other end of the stock spectrum is, surprisingly, Tesla. Despite the company’s massively profitable year, development of its Cybertruck has been slow. While CEO Elon Musk announced in January that “volume production” of the EV SUV will begin in 2022, it increasingly looks like it will happen later in the year – after Ford’s F-150 Lightning and GMC’s Hummer EV hit the roads, both debuting long after the Cybertruck.

Of course, American automakers are far from the only ones getting into the electric vehicle game. Mercedes announced in April that its EQB compact SUV is almost production-ready and will go on sale in the United States next year. Its “Sustainer” delivery van concept, however, may take a little longer to reach the market. Hyundai, on the other hand, unveiled its Ioniq 5 SUV in February with plans to release it this winter alongside promises that its Genesis line of vehicles will go fully electric by the middle of this decade. Meanwhile, Kia’s Niro EV continues to be a low-key hit.

We’ve seen a lot of hype and grandiose promises about pickup trucks and EV SUVs over the past few years, but 2022 will be the year it all hits the net. Consumers will finally be able to see these vehicles on the streets, in their neighborhoods, and likely breathe their necks while stuck in traffic, rather than just in a showroom or live presentation stage. This is a huge opportunity for automakers to further evangelize the advantages of electric batteries over their internal combustion predecessors, this time using America’s preferred type of vehicle.

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