The modern electric vehicle renaissance has been hampered from day one by the physical limitations imposed by the current state of battery technology. Inefficiencies in the form of heavy battery packs and low power densities have long limited not just the range and performance of EVs but the very forms they can take — there’s a reason Tesla started with a Roadster and not a Cybertruck. But steady advancements in power systems over the past few years — alongside skyrocketing demand for larger, electrified vehicles which cater to the US market — has led to a watershed moment in 2021: the emergence of EV pickups and SUVs.
Yes, we all know the Model X exists and Tesla “did it first” — spare me your tweets — however, the sheer number and variety of new, pure EV pickup and SUV models either ready to hit the showroom floor or in active development is staggering compared to just a few years ago. Let’s take a look at some of this year’s standouts.
GM is betting big on its proprietary Ultium battery technology, investing $35 billion in self-driving and EV technologies through 2025. The company has also announced that it intends to sell 30 EV models by the end of 2025 and EVs exclusively after 2035 with the 1,000 horsepower GMC Hummer EV serving as its vanguard offering.
Jonathan Ernst / reuters
The Hummer EV has been a surefire hit since its debut last October. More than 10,000 potential buyers had placed down payments on the $112,000 Hummer Edition 1 by last December. Similarly, the Hummer’s EV SUV variant revealed in April had its pre-orders sell out in minutes — not bad for a vehicle that won’t actually hit the streets until Fall 2023. Deliveries for the Hummer EV pickup are slated to begin this month. There have even been rumblings about adapting the Hummer EV frame and power system to military applications, though no firm decisions on that proposal have yet been made.
Hummers are only the start. In April, GM confirmed that its second EV model will be an electrified Silverado. We still don’t know a whole lot about the Silverado beyond that it will leverage GM’s Ultium battery tech, that the company is aiming for a 400-plus mile range, and that the EV pickup will offer four-wheel steering, which shortens turn radius’ at low speeds and increases cornering stability at high speeds — especially when towing loads.
We’ll have a full accounting of the Silverado’s capabilities once it makes its official debut during GM’s CES 2022 keynote address. What’s more, GM teased its third upcoming EV in July — a full-size GMC pickup, according to CNBC. Virtually nothing else is known about it at this time, not even if it will use the existing GMC Sierra branding. Hopefully, we’ll get some more hints in the new year.
Not to be outdone, the Stellantis Group (formerly FCA and umbrella company to Chrysler, Jeep Dodge, Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Maserati and a host of others) announced in July that it, too, will be investing $35 billion towards its electrification efforts through 2025 and will have 55 electrified vehicles (40 BEVs, 15 PHEVs) available in the US and European markets by the end of that year. What’s more, Stellantis is …….