Startup Wants to Sell 10,000 Units In The U.S. This Year
We’ve been down this road many times for more than a decade; Chinese automakers trying to crack the U.S. market. Only this time it’s not a car, it’s a “pickup truck.” Well, sort of.
Bloomberg is reporting that China’s Kaiyun Motors is set to begin exporting its petite Pickman electric pickup truck to the U.S.. Folks who work on the Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150 and FiatChrysler’s Ram pickups won’t lose any sleep over this news.
The tiny pickup is targeted to sell for $5,000 in the U.S.—and for good reasons.
The Kaiyun Pickman has a 5.5-horsepower motor that’s good for a top speed of just 28 mph and a battery that provides 75 miles driving range on a full charge. This classifies it as a low-speed or neighborhood electric vehicle (LSV/NEV). Regulations regarding their operation vary state to state, but they are street legal (with restrictions) in most states.
Kaiyun Motors’ founder, Wang Chao, told Bloomberg in a phone interview it has the required approvals and plans to sell as many as 10,000 of its Pickman electric trucks in the U.S. this year. The company cleared regulatory approvals and certification processes for sales in the European Union in January and will start shipping the first batch of Pickmans to Germany and Italy after this month’s Lunar New Year holiday, he said.
Wang said his company shipped a small volume of Pickmans to the U.S. over the past year to test them out and get consumer feedback. The company has continued to tailor the vehicle to the market. As a result, the company has added some unspecified “reinforcements” and options such as air conditioning, heated seats, alloy wheels and a gun rack.
Calling the Kaiyun Pickman a pickup is a stretch, but it’ll be able to haul up to 1,100 pounds, which, if true, puts it within spitting distance of some full-size pickup trucks. That might be enough of a spec to attract a few folks in the construction industry, farmers and those who have large industrial facilities.
“Two-thousand nineteen will be year one for Kaiyun as we take on overseas markets, including the U.S.,” Wang told Bloomberg. “We can make our Pickman as successful as the F-150.”
Now that’s a real stretch.