Trucks trends

Features - Trucks

The market is seeing an uptick in electric and hybrid models.

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November 10, 2020

Photo courtesy of Ford

The big news in the world of trucks is the new Ford F-150, due out at the end of the year.

The 2021 model is less of a revolution and more of an evolution as Ford continues adding new options and features but keeping things similar enough to keep its fans loyal. Here some more on what to expect in 2021.

New for 2021

• Hybrid option:

The gas-electric hybrid model isn’t a pure economy play. The most powerful version of the 2021 F-150, Powerboost engine mates the twin-turbo Ecoboost 3.5L V-6 with an electric motor. The company is targeting 700 miles of range and 12,000 pounds in towing capacity from the hybrid. The Powerboost model boasts 430 horsepower (hp) and 570 lb-ft of torque. The 35kW (47hp) electric motor will be powered by a 1.5kW/h lithium-ion battery, slightly larger than the 1.4kW/h battery it uses in current hybrids such as the Fusion sedan.

• Exterior cosmetics:

The truck’s front fenders are slightly higher, giving it a taller look, and the wheels are larger and slightly farther apart (0.75” farther out per wheel). Buyers will have 11 grille options, depending on model selected.

• Tech upgrades:

The truck will be able to update software over-the-air, eliminating the need to visit dealers for minor patches. Updates to the Sync connectivity system support more apps and add-on services. On hybrid and non-hybrid models, users will be able to use the truck’s engine as a generator to run tools and other devices.

• Safety:

Some optional features are now standard, such as pedestrian-detection systems and an emergency system that pre-tensions seatbelts if it senses an accident is about to take place. Late next year, the truck will offer Active Drive Assist, Ford’s answer to Tesla’s autopilot or General Motors’ SuperCruise, a system that will allow drivers to take their hands off wheel in some cruise situations. That feature will come as an over-the-air update.

The Ram 1500 was new last year, and the General Motors products (Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra) were new in 2019. So, there will be minor changes to both of those, new special editions, new colors, etc., but even those cosmetic upgrades will be delayed, likely into mid-2021 because of COVID-19.

Operating in this environment is difficult, and working through plant upgrades can be even tougher, so companies are delaying anything other than the completely necessary. Ford's new model involved tearing up existing assembly lines, and those balls were already in motion when COVID-19 hit. Swapping out colors in the paint shop is much easier, so those sorts of things will be delayed indefinitely.

electric trucks

In 2021, electric vehicle startups will be really active in the truck space:

• Lordstown Motors plans to launch the Endurance pickup in early 2021. When it launches next year, Lordstown’s Endurance EV (Electric Vehicle) pickup will use electric hub motors in each wheel instead of following the traditional EV layout of a large electric motor with a transmission that sends power to the wheels. You can learn more about that by visiting bit.ly/trucktrend2020.

• Nikola is taking pre-orders on its Badger EV pickup. They haven't given a release date, but it'll likely be late 2021 or early 2022. GM is partnering with Nikola to make the Badger and supply batteries for it for an 11% stake in the company.

• Rivian, an EV startup that bought a former Fiat Chrysler plant in Illinois, plans to launch three EVs next year, an SUV, a delivery van for Amazon and the R1T electric pickup.

• GMC Hummer EV, GM is bringing back the Hummer name as an electric pickup from GMC. It goes into production in late 2021, probably as a 2022 model. The company is promising extreme performance numbers (1,000 hp, 1,100 lb-ft of torque, 0-60 mph in 3 seconds).

• Ford electric F-150. So far, Ford has only committed to the 2021 model year hybrid F-150, but an all-electric model is in the works, probably as a 2022 model. No details yet.

• Tesla's Cybertruck goes into production in late 2021, so it probably won't be available until 2022. The first vehicles will be more expensive ($50,000 to $70,000) dual-motor and tri-motor pickups. The $40,000 single-motor option doesn't go into production until late 2022. The company is promising more than 500 miles of range, 14,000 lb. of towing capacity and less than 3 seconds for 0 to 60 mph.

• Bollinger B2, the most expensive of the new EV trucks at $125,000, the all-aluminum model is built in Detroit and should launch early next year.

• Atlis XT Pickup may launch late this year, but I doubt it. The company made a lot of noise in 2019 but hasn't said a word this year, so either they're keeping their heads down and working on launching the truck or they've run out of cash and are hoping someone buys their intellectual property.

The author is editor of Lawn & Landscape’s sister publication Today’s Motor Vehicles.