May 6, 2018

The future of electrics is the pickup truck

The Workhorse W-15 (Photo: Workhorse)

The future of electric vehicles in the U.S. is the SUV and the pickup truck.

The reason is the market: Almost all the conversation around electrics and autonomous vehicles centers on sedans. The world's major carmakers — VW, BMW and GM — have all said they intend to sell mass-market electrics in the U.S. But to do so, they will have to manufacture what consumers are buying.

  • Last year, pickups, SUVs and crossovers were about three-quarters of all light vehicle sales in the country.
  • Apropos of those sales, by 2020, 90% of Ford's vehicles will be trucks and SUVs, the company announced last month. (Among those will be a single light hybrid electric pickup, with no announced plans to go fully electric.)
  • At least two pickup protypes appear to be nearing commercialization, including the Workhorse W-15 (pictured above).

In a tweet in December, Tesla CEO Elon Musk — who already produces the Model X SUV — said a pickup truck will come right after the 2020 rollout of the crossover Model Y.

  • In a paper last year, Venkat Viswanathan and Shashank Sripad at Carnegie Mellon University said current lithium-ion batteries could power an electric pickup such as the ultra-popular Ford F-150.
  • It would go 200 to 250 miles on a charge and cost about $50,000.
  • The main challenge, Viswanathan told Axios, is the payload because pickup truck owners often want to carry stuff weighing 1,000 pounds — or even a ton.
  • To get further range and a lower sticker price, the drag coefficient will have to be improved and the cost of the battery brought down, Viswanathan said.

Go deeper: Read about the pickup prototypes and plans at Fleetcarma.com.

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its celebrated Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after 160 years and winding down operations by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

The big picture: GM also intends to "sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year," AP reports. "The downsizing is part of a long-running strategy at GM since the Detroit-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009," per Bloomberg.

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Drew Angerer; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

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