This Month in EV Truck News: $50K Porsche-Fighting Tesla Truck, Rivian's Kitchen Add-On

Rivian R1T Pullout Kitchen

Manufacturer image

By Nick Kurczewski

This big news in electric pickup trucks comes from Tesla and the mouth of none other than the company's founder and CEO, Elon Musk. While details have been vague about Tesla's plans to introduce an electric pickup truck, Musk finally shed some light on what to expect.

Related: Electric Pickup Truck News You May Have Missed: GM, Ford Announce Plans; Tesla Design Speculation

In a one-hour interview with the Tesla-themed "Ride the Lightning" podcast, Musk not only revealed a pricing strategy for the upcoming pickup, he let it be known the Tesla electric pickup truck is being engineered to outperform America's best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150. For good measure, the never bashful Musk targeted the performance of the Porsche 911 sports car, too.

Over at Rivian, the Michigan-based electric truck startup is ready to offer truck shoppers an option that could turn the R1T pickup into the ultimate tailgating machine. And finally, a factory saved could be a factory duped by false promises. That's according to a recent New York Times story about GM's shuttered plant in Lordstown, Ohio, and a White House-endorsed plan to revive the factory with a little-known electric truck company.

Tesla Pickup to Start at Less Than $50,000

Musk was in chatty mode during a recent podcast when he gave away the fact that Tesla's upcoming pickup truck will cost less than $50,000. "It just can't be unaffordable," said Musk. "You've got to be able to get a really great truck for $49,000 or less." That's still a sizable amount of money and, we're guessing, higher powered or long-range versions of a Tesla pickup will have prices that correspondingly tick upward.

But this shows Tesla doesn't want to market an electric-powered plaything that's unaffordable to average buyers. When you consider the hugely popular Ford F-150 in either King Ranch or Platinum trim stickers for more than $50,000, the Tesla pickup will be in the thick of the full-size truck battle once it arrives.

Tesla Truck Targets Ford Functionality, Porsche Performance

Speaking of the Ford F-150, Musk set the bar high for Tesla's upcoming truck. He not only singled America's best-selling truck as being a rival, he suggested Porsche had better keep an eye on its rearview mirror, too.

"It's gonna be a truck that is more capable than other trucks," Musk said. "The goal is to be a better truck than F-150, in terms of trucklike functionality, and be a better sports car than a standard 911. That's the aspiration." Nothing specific was mentioned about the powertrain or capabilities but, with those two vehicles as targets, Tesla has its work cut out for it.

During the podcast, Musk hinted the truck's exterior design will look like nothing else on the market. "It won't look like a normal truck; it's gonna look pretty little sci-fi." He also confirmed the one teaser image of his company's future pickup is an angled shot of the vehicle's front end. The lightbar looks similar to the design seen on the Rivian R1T pickup truck, though we're not sure if Tesla is going to offer a built-in kitchen like the Michigan-based upstart plans on doing.

Rivian Wants to Be the Tailgate Champion

No, we're not talking about fancy tailgates that flip and fold or come fabricated out of lightweight carbon fiber. We're talking about burgers and stadium parking lots full of hungry fans. With its own electric truck fanbase in mind, Rivian has revealed the ultimate tailgate accessory, which comes complete with two burners, storage compartments and a working sink.

The entire assembly is located within the R1T's "gear tunnel," a hidden storage compartment located between the cabin and the cargo bed that spans the width of the truck. Sliding out from the side of the R1T, the built-in kitchen comes with tidy storage compartments for plates and utensils, and even has a 5-gallon water tank to feed the sink.

No price has been mentioned, though Rivian confirmed via Twitter that the accessory will be available when the R1T goes on sale next year. With a starting price of around $70,000, the R1T will be available with a choice of three battery packs. Driving range will vary from 230 miles in the base model to more than 400 miles in top trim levels. When properly equipped, maximum towing capacity will be 11,000 pounds. That should be more than enough to haul all the burgers and brats you and a stadium full of friends could ever want.

GM Factory Revival Runs Low on Charge

When GM closed its automobile plant in Lordstown, Ohio, the White House wasn't happy. President Trump took to Twitter and slammed GM for its decision to close the facility which, until it was shuttered, built the Chevrolet Cruze sedan.

Matters haven't improved much despite a potential rescue and resuscitation of the factory that remains big on promise, but fraught with uncertainty, according to a report in the New York Times. The lead player is Workhorse, an American company specializing in building electric-powered trucks, particularly for corporate clients like Ryder and UPS. The company is also in the running for a multibillion-dollar contract to build the next official U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicle.

That sounds great, except Workhorse is hanging on by a financial thread and would need upward of $300 million to bring the Lordstown plant back to life. The Times also points out that since it was founded in 2007, Workhorse has produced 365 vehicles. That's less than Lordstown produced in a single day when it was fully operational.

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