Ford has confirmed plans to introduce an all-electric F-150 pickup in a couple of years, and it looks like it will have a little competition when it does. Literally.
It’s called the Pickman and the tiny truck only costs $5,700. For good reason.
It’s made by China’s Kaiyun Motors and has a 5.5 hp motor that's good for a top speed of just 28 mph, which classifies it as a low-speed or neighborhood electric vehicle (LSV/NEV). Regulations regarding their operation vary state to state, but they are street legal in some places. It's aimed mainly at commercial customers and has a range of 75 miles per charge.
The company told Bloomberg that it plans to sell 10,000 Pickmans (Pickmen?) in the U.S. this year, after getting approval to market the vehicle. It’s already sold some under test program it’s been running for the past couple of years and has updated the product to better meet local expectations. One change from the original appears to be a switch from “suicide” style doors to conventional front-hinged ones.
While the $5,700 version is a very basic vehicle, its options list includes features like air conditioning, heated seats and alloy wheels that can bump the price up near $9,000. One could arguably call it a half-ton, however, as the Kaiyun says the rear-wheel-drive vehicle can carry up to 1,100 pounds on its fully-independent suspension.
(UPDATE: A U.S. based retailer has clarified that the current retail price starts at $8,950 and that options are extra. The $5,700 price cited by Kaiyun does not apply to the NHTSA-approved version, which can be operated on roads with speed limits of 35 mph and under.)
Kaiyun isn't the only foreign automaker looking to make inroads into the U.S. market with a limited use utility vehicle. India's Mahindra has gained a lot of attention for its Roxor off-roader, which looks so much like a WWII Jeep that Jeep is suing the automaker for trademark infringement.