The electric truck wars are in full swing with the Chevy Silverado EV and Ford F-150 Lightning going toe-to-toe with starting prices of $40,000 for their first EV pickups.
Consider the number $50,000, too.
That’s how much more the Silverado EV’s RST trim costs than a comparable, diesel-powered Silverado RST. Ford has also released its price configurator for Lightning, and EV models run from $18,000 to $25,000 more than their gas-powered counterparts. They will also be shopped against startup EV trucks like the $74,000 Rivian R1T and the $125,000 Bollinger B2.
While manufacturers advertise EVs as the future of autos, their initial offerings have a decidedly premium feel. Like Teslas or Mustang Mach-E electric SUVs, American pickups appear targeted at a niche market of luxury customers with multi-car garages — or wealthy corporations with trendy environmental sustainability goals to meet.
“For now, automakers know that EVs are a premium market. Particularly wealthy first adopters in places like Silicon Valley,” said California-based auto analyst Karl Brauer of iSeeCars. “These are the same people who have bought Tesla Model Ss for their high performance.”
Chevy’s all-wheel-drive Silverado EV RST first-edition model will debut in late 2023 at an eye-watering $105,000 — about the same price as Porsche’s AWD electric car, the Taycan. The RST’s sticker is just shy of the GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 price of $112,595.
The Ford Lightning’s top-trim, loaded Platinum model stickers at $92,569 (compared with a loaded, $72,000 Platinum gas-hybrid model) — more than $8,000 north of the standard, rear-wheel-drive Porsche Taycan EV. Lightning will be offered in a variety of lower trims when it hits the market this spring, a year ahead of the Chevy.
All trims carry a hefty premium over their gas-engine siblings. Ford's base Lightning Pro model starts at $41,669, about $10,000 (32%) above the starting price of the $31,685 gas-powered F-150 XL.
That’s similar to the $10,000 premium that buyers have paid for Chevrolet’s first electric vehicle, the Bolt EV, over a comparably-sized, gas-powered Chevy Trax SUV that starts at $22,595. The Bolt EV was hyped as a volume EV seller when it was revealed in 2016, but its sales have hovered around 20,000 units annually — or just 20% of Trax sales.
Lightning will initially only be offered in a SuperCrew cab (four-door) configuration. In XLT trim, that would align it with the F-150’s meat-and-potatoes XLT gas model, one of the Blue Oval’s best-selling vehicles. Load up a Lighting XLT and gas XLT, however, and the prices diverge.