Volkswagen Electric Pickup Truck is ‘Chance of a Lifetime,’ Says Exec

Image: Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh said in a recent interview that an all-electric pickup truck could be “the chance of a lifetime” for the veteran automaker — reports Business Insider.

“I think it’s the chance of a lifetime in this segment because electrification gives you a reset moment. It gives you a chance to bring some, let’s say, alternatives and some new ideas into this great segment,” said Keogh, who originally presented the idea to Volksvagen management in Wolfsburg, Germany, last year.

The pitch has gone over well with Volkswagen’s executive leadership, with Keogh winning support from company CEO Herbert Diess and others.

Volkswagen is expected to make a final decision regarding the project by the middle of this year. “It’s something we’re actively looking at, but nothing to actually report now,” Keogh added.

The German automaker’s plans for an electric pickup truck aren’t even past the point of conception at this time, but they beg the question — is there really space in the U.S. pickup truck market for yet another player? Keogh seems to think so.

The company’s lead for operations in the US, Mexico, and Canada reckons that new electric options in the pickup truck segment could shake up deeply ingrained consumer preferences and brand loyalties.

“I think a buyer would historically say, ‘I buy F-150, I buy Ram, I buy Silverado.’ Now they might be saying, ‘I’m going to buy an electric one,'” said Keogh. “That reset moment gives a competitive chance to come in, whether it’s Rivian or whether it’s us.”

Volkswagen’s ambitions are spurred on by the success of Rivian Automotive Inc., an American electric vehicle (EV) startup that started delivering its electric pickups in October 2021, and Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc., which has generated a lot of hype around its Cybertruck.

Rivian went public late last year in an IPO that raised a whopping $11.9 billion USD, and the company is backed in large part by eCommerce giant Amazon and Ford Motor Co., which is raking profits from its investment in the EV startup while it gears up to roll out its own all-electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning.

Tesla has made waves with its Cybertruck but has been forced to delay it time and again. Company CEO Elon Musk unveiled the latest prototype of the company’s all-electric Cybertruck at the Cyber Rodeo event earlier this month. The Cybertruck is slated to start production at Tesla’s Gigafactory in Austin, Texas, in 2023.

The need for electrification across the automotive market has presented a unique chance for new players to break into the U.S. pickup truck segment, but legacy automakers and startups alike have already started mobilizing to cash in on the opportunity.

If Volkswagen’s plans for an e-truck ever bear fruit, the company would have to contend with a growing number of competitors for market share in the segment.