It took just five days for Stellantis to sell out the Ram 1500 Rev, the truck brand now closing its order bank for the all-electric pickup.
It mirrors the initial success of several competitors, Tesla claiming to have generated hundreds of thousands of advance reservations in the weeks following the 2019 debut of the Cybertruck. Ford racked up $100 deposits for roughly 200,000 F-150 Lightning EVs after its 2021 unveiling. And General Motors has seen a clamoring for the GMC Hummer pickup and Chevrolet Silverado EV. Startup Rivian, meanwhile, can’t come close to meeting demand for its R1T.
So, analysts say Ram likely doesn’t have to worry about being so late to the party with its own entry into a fast-growing segment that’s expected to see a dozen or more all-electric pickups come to market during the next five years.
“The demand for EV pickups is there”
Like its competitors, Ram is encouraging potential buyers to place reservations well ahead of when it will be able to build the first 1500 Rev. During an interview at the Chicago Auto Show earlier this month brand boss Mike Koval declined to offer a hard date for launching production, only confirming that the truck will start rolling down the assembly line “sometime in 2024.”
Based on what happened with Tesla and Ford, in particular, the apparently strong demand for Ram’s first all-electric model “certainly confirms that the demand for EV pickups is there,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president of Data & Analytics at J.D. Power. And it “indicates demand for EVs is broader than the early adopters” that have so far dominated the electric vehicle market.
Ram officials aren’t going into detail about how many reservations have come in. “It’s a relative statement: ‘We sold out.’ But what does it mean?” asked Jominy. “I’d guess around 50,000 but there’s no hard basis” to determine the correct number.
Automakers like advance orders
Reservations for the Ram 1500 Rev require a $100 refundable deposit and will, in return, place the customer in line to receive a truck once production begins.
Automakers, in general, like getting advance orders, rather than waiting until vehicles arrive on the lot, according to Jominy and other analysts. Buyers are less likely to start bargaining, for one thing. It helps tweak production planning, as well.
Ford originally tooled up the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in the Detroit suburbs to produce just 25,000 Lightnings annually. It quickly had to expand that facility and expects to reach an annual run rate of 150,000 by the end of this year.
There’s also the hope is that buyers will follow through, converting reservations into purchases, even if other products come to market in the meantime.
Customers will still have to wait
But that may not always be the case, added Jominy, suggesting that “It’s not uncommon for consumers to have a lot of reservations out there. And they will go with whatever they can get first.”
There are indications that this is already happening with many EV pickup “intenders” who initially put deposits down for the Tesla Cybertruck but are now switching to other brands.
It doesn’t help the EV upstart that production of the Cybertruck won’t begin until late 2023, according to CEO Elon Musk’s latest promise, four years after its splashy debut. And few, if any, of those trucks are expected to reach customers before early 2024.
Different design strategies
The Cybertruck is clearly the most radical of all the EV pickups so far unveiled, with its triangular side profile, stainless steel body and supposedly bulletproof glass.
Ford took the exact opposite approach, the Lightning easy to confuse with conventional F-150 pickups but for the front lightbar and small badges.
GMC’s Hummer is the most radical of the products from Detroit, but Ram certainly pushed the design envelope when it revealed the Ram Revolution concept vehicle at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. It features a far more curvaceously aggressive shape than today’s gas-powered full-size 1500.
Production Ram 1500 EV won’t be all that radical
And it added not only a folding midgate but a pass-through to the front trunk, or frunk, allowing a user to stow lumber of up to 18 feet in length with the tailgate in the upright position.
The production version revealed during a Super Bowl commercial this month takes a more conservative approach but adopts some of the show car’s design details, including the distinctive front lighting.
As with competing products, Ram plans to bring out a number of 1500 EV variants that will offer different powertrain configurations, as well as functional and comfort features.