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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.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Hong Kong pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai detained on fraud charge

An activist holds a placard highlighting China's Tiananmen Square massacre as pro-democracy media tycoon Jimmy Lai arrives at West Kowloon Magistrates' Court in Hong Kong in November. Photo: Isaac Wong/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai is being detained until an April court hearing after the pro-democracy supporter was charged Thursday with fraud, per his Apple Daily news outlet.

Why it matters: The 72-year-old's arrest and denial of bail is another blow for the pro-democracy movement in the former British colony amid concerns about a fresh crackdown on activists.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.