Production rate is still nowhere near the demand, and wait times are discouraging.
Ford F-150 Lightning. Photo: Anastasia Shevchenko
So electric pickup trucks are now a reality. Not that it’s easy to buy one: all models currently available in the U.S. – all three of them – have really long backlogs of orders. Example: in the case of the F-150 Lightning, the order books closed more than a year ago after reaching 200,000 reservations – and they remain closed.
In such a market, sales of electric pickup trucks were in the range of 13,000–14,000 units; that’s during the last quarter of 2022 (Q4 2022) only.
Out of roughly 724,000 pickup trucks sold in the U.S. during Q4 2022, some 2% (1.86% to be more exact) were all-electric.
2% does not sound like much, but let’s keep in mind that: A) production is still in the ramp-up phase (and needs to increase significantly to match the current demand), B) the range of available models is still very small, and C) Tesla is still absent from this market segment altogether (for now).
For comparison, the estimated market share of all-electrics among all light vehicles (cars, SUVs, pickup trucks, others) sold in the U.S. during the same quarter was 6.4%. The majority of that 6.4% were Teslas.
This is based on a compilation of reports from Cox Automotive – they indicate about 3,526,000 light vehicles sold in Q4 2022, 226,789 of which were all-electric and 131,574 were Teslas.
Hm. So non-Tesla BEVs were some 2.5–3.0% of the entire light vehicle market. Also, non-Tesla BEVs were about 2% of the pickup truck market. It would be tempting to write something about how the demand for EVs is pretty much the same in all market segments.
Except that wouldn’t be right. At this point, electric pickup trucks are in such short supply that their sales are absolutely no indication of the actual demand. Only when production ramps up – only then we might get a better picture of the popularity of electric pickup trucks compared to electric cars or SUVs. Right now, customers are just unable to get what they want.
Pickup trucks are great EV material, because they can easily accommodate large (and heavy) battery packs. Even when they weren’t designed from the ground up as electric vehicles. GM and Ford knew that when they released their pioneering electric trucks – the S-10 EV and the Ranger EV, respectively – in the 1990s.
Here’s a random fact: no electric pickup truck currently available in the U.S. has a bed as long (6 ft) as those electric trucks from the 1990s. But then, the S-10 EV and the Ranger EV were regular cab, two-door pickup trucks. Today’s electric pickup trucks are four-door luxury vehicles.
Now, some more forward-thinking U.S. manufacturers might even have the European market in mind, a market which puts tighter constraints on vehicle length. Why would they care about the European market? Maybe because of the Chinese competition: SAIC Maxus is already preparing to ship an electric pickup truck (the T90 EV) to Europe.
Anyway, here’s the breakdown of electric pickup sales in the U.S. in Q4 2022.
GMC Hummer EV – 72 units in Q4 2022
854 trucks sold during 2022. But only 72 of them during the last quarter.
Looking at the figures published by GM Authority, it seems that production was much higher that deliveries. While production remained low during the summer, this is long over and in October and November, GM was making 1,000 or more Hummers per month. Then, in late November, production was halted at Factory Zero because it needed upgrades - the upcoming Silverado EV/Sierra EV is going to be made at the same facility.
I thought it might have something to do with the recall and stop-sale order announced in October (but the Cadillac Lyric was not recalled, and it also shows this “production much higher than deliveries” pattern; can it be some sort of test production, or is GM building up inventory?).
Recall or not, even those who can afford a Hummer EV cannot order one right now. General Motors stopped taking new orders back in September; apparently they had too many reservations. Later, the vice president of the GMC brand said the truck is “sold out for two years or more”.
Rivian R1T – 6,524 units in Q4 2022 (estimated)
Rivian came close to meeting its target of 25,000 vehicles manufactured in 2022; they made 24,337 of them.
Sales were lower than production, at 20,332 units sold during the whole year and 8,054 during the last quarter.
Rivian has not disclosed (so far) how many of those were R1T trucks, but Cox Automotive guessed 17,426 units sold during the whole year and 6,524 during the last quarter.
Ford F-150 Lightning – 6,857 units in Q4 2022
15,617 trucks sold during 2022, out of which 6,857 during the last quarter (and this is official, not just an estimate).
Note: the total number of pickup trucks sold in the U.S. in Q4 2022 was estimated by adding 538,535 (full-size pickup trucks incl. F-150 Lightning) + 136,590 (midsize pickup trucks) + 10,450 (Honda Ridgeline) + 22,568 (Ford Maverick) + 9,677 (Hyundai Santa Cruz) + 6,525 (Rivian R1T, estimated) + 72 (Hummer EV). This includes heavy trucks, although they are a small fraction of the total.