China thinks its Tiny Pickman Truck will Steal F-150’s Thunder
Company founder boasts that $5,000 electric truck will be as successful as the mighty Ford F-150, but we’re not buying it.
The little truck shown here is the Pickman from Chinese firm Kaiyun Motors. It is a compact electric vehicle and company founder Wang Chao believes that this thing will be as successful as the Ford F-150. He actually said that in a recent interview with Bloomberg, but without some massive change in American driving habits, there is no real way that this tiny electric truck will ever come close to F-150 numbers.
Meet the Pickman
The Kaiyun Motors Pickman is a popular mini electric vehicle in China, where it serves as a hefty little workhorse in a market when many people drive very small cars. It has a top speed of 28 miles per hour and a range of 75 miles on a single charge, but anyone who knows small electric vehicles knows how quickly that number can drop in cold weather or when carrying a heavy load.
Speaking of a heavy load, this little pickup will haul 1,100 pounds, so in many cases, it will do the work of a larger truck at a fraction of the price. The Pickman costs $2,470 in China, but when it hits American shores later this year, it will cost around $5,000.
It looks like a great option for work sites, farm use and other situations that don’t require driving around other vehicles. It seems as though it could be approved for use on public roads, but with a top speed of 28 miles per hour, owners won’t be driving them on American highways. In fact, even driving them around small towns will be sketchy, but it looks like a great competitor for an electric golf cart or any of the John Deere utility vehicles.
In a market like Beijing, the Pickman is probably a great option when traffic is comprised of scores of similarly-sized vehicles creeping along at 15 miles per hour. On American roads, driving the Pickman would be like driving a golf cart. Electric golf carts have a similar top speed and a bit less range, but in terms of overall size, the Pickman would size-up to a tractor trailer about as well as a golf cart. Fortunately, at $5,000, it is quite a bit cheaper than a new electric golf cart with a truck bed, lights and the other features of the Pickman.
Realistically, no one is going to buy the Pickman for real road use to replace, say, a Ford F-150 or even a Ranger. While it could be a popular option for job sites, farms and other working situations where it won’t be driven on public roads, there is no way that a vehicle will ever come close to rivaling the success of the F-150 without broad public interest.