Volvo’s Parent Company Could Export This EV Truck
Geely delivered the first units of the Radar RD6 to customers in February, launching the first battery-electric lifestyle truck in China.
The pickup offers a choice of three batteries but is RWD-only for now, aimed at urban buyers with an outdoors lifestyle.
The automaker has indicated it could begin exporting the truck, even though at the moment demand for non-commercial pickups aimed at lifestyle buyers is fairly limited in Geely's traditional export markets.
Just a couple of weeks ago Volvo parent company Geely delivered its first electric pickup trucks from its latest brand, launched a relatively short time ago. The Radar RD6, first revealed last summer, became the first EV entry in a segment that has seen relatively little interest from car buyers in its home country until very recently.
But Geely saw an opening, just as China's middle class turned to the outdoors, designing a truck for those with an active lifestyle.
The Radar RD6 launched with a choice of three battery packs, offering 63-kWh, 86-kWh, and 100-kWh, with the largest giving it a range of 392 miles. The automaker certainly prioritized range over power and offroad capability, as the rear-wheel-drive pickup produces 268 hp and 283 lb-ft of torque.
Eager to win over urbanites seeking a vehicle for camping, the RD6 offers 220-volt outlets in addition to a 6-kW V2L output, allowing it to recharge other EVs. The interior, meanwhile, is modern but not lavish, featuring a 12.3-inch display as well as a host of modern safety features, including a Level 2 driver-assistance system.
With a starting price of 178,800 yuan, or $25,000, the RD6 will have the entire EV lifestyle truck niche to itself.
The Radar brand, meanwhile, has already opened 52 stores in addition to 24 experience centers across 50 cities in China, giving it an ambitious footprint. That's pretty quick for a brand launched less than 12 months ago, beating the Tesla Cybertruck to market by what could be an entire year, if not more.
But does the RD6 have export potential?
"So far the interest in the Radar brand and electric pickup trucks has been immense," said Ling Shi Quan, Radar Auto CEO. "We hope to continue on this trajectory as we explore new markets both in China and the rest of the world."
We can't count on Radar appearing in the US any time soon, as production would have to be local to address the chicken tax, but the truck could be offered under one of Geely's other brands in several regional markets.
The main question is perhaps just which export countries would show interest in an electric lifestyle pickup with no AWD option at the moment? It helps that China has the world's largest EV charging network, especially close to the big cities, but that's far from the case elsewhere in Asia, even where truck brands like Great Wall have significant market share.
There is no shortage of gas and diesel pickups in a number of Asia-Pacific markets, but purely lifestyle models aimed at camping and biking have yet to gain a following outside of Australia, when it comes to regional demand.
Geely as an automaker is perhaps the most ambitious in China when it comes to experimenting with new brands and new segments, so we're bound to see more from this brand in the coming months and years.
Should US truck makers focus on a smaller electric pickup, positioned below the likes of the Ford F-150 Lightning, or is demand still focused on larger offerings? Let us know in the comments below.