It’s an easy journalistic trope to ask if every new electric car that’s released will be a “Tesla-Killer.” Or which new EV will “win” the electric car wars. Or if Rivian, Ford, Hummer, or Tesla will become the electric pickup to have.
This is all meaningless claptrap nonsense.
- The new Rivian R1T is a mid-to-full size luxury pickup truck aimed at affluent adventurers.
- The new Ford F-150 Lightning is a full-size pickup that will run the gamut from a practicality-focused work truck to a luxury rig for folks who never use the bed but still want a truck.
- The new GMC Hummer EV is a gargantuan (rumored to weigh more than 10,000 pounds) ultra-lux off-roader for people who want the most insane pickup this side of the Cybertruck. Or maybe the other side of the Cybertruck.
- And then, of course, we have the oft-delayed Tesla Cybertruck, which is its own brand of absurdity but doesn’t exist yet so we can safely ignore it.
All of these pickups have truck beds, so it’s easy to compare them — but should we?
To a non-car person, they’re all the same: Big vehicles with a bed and an electric drivetrain. But to truck buyers, they all accomplish wildly different things — and won’t ever be cross-shopped except maybe by people who have never owned a truck before, but are interested in it because electric ones exist now.
Ford F-150 Lightning
The F-150 Lightning is the most like a traditional pickup truck, which makes sense because it’s the only one that isn’t brand new. The F-150 name has been iconic for decades, and the Ford F-Series has been the best-selling vehicle in America for longer than I’ve been alive.
Ford knows what truck buyers want, and it’s giving it to them in spades: practicality, toughness, and new abilities made possible by an electric propulsion system. Only the F-150 Lightning can power your house in a blackout, or output such massive amounts of juice that a single truck can run an entire construction site.
These are impressive features that will entice existing truck owners and the truck-curious to check it out. And, I suspect, this will be the first EV that really resonates with flyover country. No surprise there.
Ford recently began pre-production on the Lightning and announced that it was doubling production capacity to 80,000 trucks per year at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. That’s great, but with more than 150,000 pre-orders, more than two years of production is already sold out — and that’s assuming that Ford can even make that many, which is not a given considering the production difficulties all carmakers are seeing these days.
Rivian, on the other hand, is making an unabashedly luxury pickup truck. That’s something that doesn’t really exist elsewhere in the market. There’s no BMW or Mercedes-Benz pickup (though the latter made the X-Class for three years for some international markets, it was canceled due to low sales).
It’s not a work truck and isn’t meant to be. It’s a luxury vehicle first, and a pickup second. And it’s priced and spec’d accordingly. It’s also absolutely fantastic, and the first EV pickup to actually begin deliveries (albeit in small numbers). The Rivian is aimed at owners of Tesla, BMW, Audi, and other luxury cars and SUVs.
Though the Ford F-150 Lightning will come in high-end trims that are similar in price to the Rivian, they are very different trucks. They have different design philosophies, different vibes, and entirely different looks. To the outside observer, they’re both Electric Pickup Trucks — but to individual buyers, it will be immediately obvious which one to get.
Do you like camping and hiking and adventuring outside? What about whipping up a gourmet meal at a tailgate? Or maybe you just really like the finer things in life and want a car that reflects that. You’re Rivian material for sure.
If you like hauling stuff, practicality, towing, emergency backup power, and not standing out from the crowd (too much), you might have already placed a deposit on an F-150 Lightning.
2022 GMC Hummer EV
And then there’s the absolutely bonkers GMC Hummer EV pickup. With a curb weight equaled only by its price tag and a design fit for a sci-fi movie, the Hummer is just about the only vehicle from a traditional automaker that could possibly compete with the insanity that is the Tesla Cybertruck.
The roof is removable, it can go from 0-60 mph in 3 seconds, and it has a thousand horsepower. The user interface on the screens was literally designed by the same folks who made the UI for Black Panther.
It can drive sideways (kind of) and can sport 37-inch tires, something typically reserved for off-road behemoths like the Ford Raptor or a Jeep Wrangler with a big lift kit. It’s a Mjolnir-sized gauntlet thrown down by General Motors, which has been the EV leader of the Detroit three for more than a decade now.
I don’t know exactly who is buying the GMC Hummer EV, which can run well over $100,000 depending on which spec you get, but I know that they won’t be considering anything so pedestrian as a Ford F-150.
The Inverse analysis — As a professional car reviewer, I’m always asked for advice on new vehicle purchases. I’ll ask a few questions and come up with a recommendation based on the buyer’s personality, needs, and gut instinct. And I won’t have an easier time than figuring out which electric pickup to recommend.
But I suspect, for most EV pickup buyers, they won’t even need to ask. One look and they’ll know.
And if you really want to know which electric pickup to buy, sign up for Jordan Golson’s free car reviews newsletter on Substack.