Today, Chinese automaker Geely launched Radar Auto, which it has referred to as “China’s first pure electric outdoors lifestyle vehicle brand.” The new brand’s first model is the Radar RD6, an electric pickup. Interestingly, it’s a pickup built by a non-American automaker primarily for a market outside North America. The electric pick-up has officially gone global.
The most popular trend in the North American electric vehicle market right now is electrifying pickup trucks. It makes sense as light trucks account for almost three-quarters of all light vehicles sold in the United States. Ford, General Motors and Stellantis are all already producing electric pickup trucks or planning to do so in the near future. Startup firms, like Rivian and Lordstown Motors, have also made electric pickups the leading models of their relatively new companies. And again, this has been solely for the North American market.
The Radar RD6 feels like a huge risk in the Chinese market. According to Reuters, pickup trucks account for just two percent of vehicle sales in China. Sales figures aren’t helped by a ban on pickup trucks in urban areas. Most purchases are made by farmers, or rather actual farmers (not people who claim they need the bed for equipment.)
Geely is hoping that growing interest from city-dwellers in outdoor activities will serve as the RD6’s largest customer demographic. This interest was largely sparked by the Chinese government’s coronavirus restrictions on gatherings in closed places. Beijing is also loosening pickup truck usage restrictions in certain areas which will also bolster sales. Radar CEO Ling Shiquan told Reuters, “In an optimistic estimation, the annual sales of pickup trucks can reach 3 million units in China by 2030.”
Not much is yet known about the performance capabilities of the Radar RD6 other than it will have at least 370 miles of range. The electric pickup will be available for purchase in China later this year. It will be interesting to see how well the RD6 sells and if the pickup will ever make its way to our shores.