There seems to be a big buzz surrounding a “$14,000 electric mini-truck,” from a GM joint venture in China. Before anybody races down to a GM dealer, let’s put on our Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate.
Electric mini-trucks are a new and exciting field and are incredibly useful and efficient. The GM and Baojun Yep EV has caused a sensation in the press and has folks clucking about this new diminutive hauler. It is smaller than a Fiat 500, has a 50 kW electric motor, a top speed of 62 mph, and a city range of nearly 185 mph per charge. This little truck EV is cute and would be a perfect in-city hauler or suburban, Home Depot runabout.
Currently, there are no plans to import these to the U.S. at this time. The tiny trucklet would face a myriad of regulations, crash standards, taxes, and import duties to gain passage into the States and the final price would probably end up costing much more. The political climate with the U.S. and China right now is super touchy, so don’t look for one of these trucks anytime in the future either.
For those of you that can’t wait, electric mini-trucks do exist in the US, with manufacturers such as the Texas-based startup AYRO producing street-legal models. However, their starting prices are closer to $25,000, which is higher than the similar Chinese electric mini-trucks. There are also some importers of Chinese electric mini-trucks, but most are not street-legal. Ford also makes a Maverick Hybrid that is sized like the Titanic compared to the Yep, but dainty compared to an F-150 or a Silverado. In the future, as electric mini-trucks become more popular as companies enter the market and prices may decrease. What GM really needs here is a bare-bones, Ultium-based Maverick competitor, pronto. They couldn’t build them fast enough.
Electrified Mag’s Take: Chinese Micro EVs are not going to happen anytime soon in the US. The political climate is incendiary and the US Government with its Inflation Reduction Act, has put a shot over the bow of China Inc. The message is, unless the vehicles, minerals and batteries are sourced here, any price advantage the Chinese might enjoy will be offset by IRA tax incentives.
Of course, some folks say the Baojun Yep really isn’t a GM vehicle, but that is just shade that haters throw when the largest automaker in the US has a win or made the right move. For the record, the Yep is the result of a GM, Baojun, and SAIC joint venture, please make a note of it. Others have vilified the North American truck segment by claiming larger trucks and SUVs contribute to road deaths, emissions, and road wear. Maybe, but smaller trucks will augment the this segment not displace it.
A smaller than Ford Maverick EV truck would be a hot commodity. The domestic automakers should get on it ASAP, are you listening Tesla, Ford, and GM?