“Back when the truck was sold under the Dodge brand, the Ram truck broke the market wide open with distinctive styling and could do that again,” Fiorani said in an email. “Lacking the rumble of the Hemi V-8, which is a large draw for current Ram 1500 buyers, an electric truck will need to add features and styling that give the truck some emotional connection with potential buyers. By the time the truck arrives, the market will be crowded, so going the extra distance will make or break the Ram EV’s success.”
The F-150 Lightning is the long-awaited, first big test of the appetite that businesses and consumers have for an electric pickup. Ford has capped Lightning reservations at about 200,000, but executives have not said how many have converted to orders. The company has said more than 70 percent of Lightning reservation holders are new to Ford and to pickups.
The Hummer EV, a more niche product that sells for more than $112,000, has a 329-mile range. The F-150 Lightning, with the extended-range battery option, gets 320 miles. Koval said the goal for Ram 1500 EV range is clear: “Be better than the other guys.”
He believes commercial customers will be among the truck’s early adopters. Ford and Chevrolet are marketing their electric pickups heavily to businesses; both will launch with the lowest-priced trim targeted to work users and loaded-up versions aimed at consumers.
“Based on what I call our internal performance index … we will have the best BEV to come to market, and that’s what this is all about,” Koval said. “I mean we’re in a race, this is competition, we want to be the best, and as a brand that is built to serve — that’s our mantra, our philosophy on business — we want to make sure that we have truly embraced the customer voice.”