New reports lend further weight to rumours of Volkswagen developing its first electric ute, which could be built in the US as a rival for the Ford F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T.
Volkswagen is said to be considering a new electric pick-up for the US, according to a new report – echoing comments from company executives across the globe in recent weeks.
An insider source cited by news agency Reuters claims Volkswagen is looking to expand its Chattanooga, Tennessee factory to build a new “electric pick-up”, alongside the brand’s reborn ‘Kombi’ people mover, the electric ID. Buzz.
No other details are given in the Reuters report – such as launch timing or the vehicle’s size – however mention of the ID. Buzz suggests the ute may share the people mover’s MEB electric architecture, with a ‘monocoque’ chassis and rear- or all-wheel drive.
The latest report follows comments from Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh last week, who told US media the brand is “actively looking at” an electric pick-up for the US, adding electric power gives the company “the chance of a lifetime” in the ute market.
“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’. That reset moment gives a competitive chance to come in, whether it’s Rivian or whether it’s us,” he added.
While the Reuters report doesn’t reference the size of the possible US-made ute, it could be positioned as a rival for larger vehicles including the Rivian R1T, Ford F-150 Lightning and long-delayed Tesla Cybertruck, given American buyers’ thirst for ‘full-size’ pick-ups.
This would create space below for an all-electric version of the new-generation Volkswagen Amarok – twinned with the new Ford Ranger – which, as Drive reported earlier this week, looks set to launch in the second half of this decade instead of a plug-in hybrid.
“We’re looking at a pure electric version [of the Amarok],” Lars Krause, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicle board member responsible for marketing, told Drive. “It is still early, but it is something we are considering within the lifecycle.”
“Right now, we’re not satisfied with the electric range of the plug-in hybrid. I’d never say never, but we’re looking more towards a full electric version,” the executive added.
While the tables could turn with the introduction of an electric version, the VW Amarok is not sold in the US – and the substantial costs required to homologate a vehicle for sale in the US could see Volkswagen develop a larger electric pick-up specifically for American buyers.
Volkswagen is not the only brand reportedly planning an entry into the electric (EV) ute market, with Korean brand Kia confirming two new EV pick-ups for launch in 2026 – including one built in the US, with North American buyers in mind.
Other competitors in the full-size electric pick-up segment range from the ‘Big Three’ US car makers – Ford (F-150 Lighting), General Motors (Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Hummer EV) and Ram (1500 EV) – to smaller ‘start-ups’ including Rivian, with its R1T dual cab.
Electric vehicle market leader Tesla maintains its Cybertruck electric pick-up is on track for launch in 2023, following various production delays that pushed its initial late 2021 launch back.
Alex Misoyannis has been writing about cars since 2017, when he started his own website, Redline. He contributed for Drive in 2018, before joining CarAdvice in 2019, becoming a regular contributing journalist within the news team in 2020. Cars have played a central role throughout Alex’s life, from flicking through car magazines as a young age, to growing up around performance vehicles in a car-loving family.