This $5,000 Chinese Mini-Pickup - The 2019 Kaiyun Pickman - To Hit U.S. Shores This Year
They have all approvals required and are waiting to start importsby Andrei Nedelea, on LISTEN 02:45
Kaiyun Motors was started in 2014 with the goal of taking on the American pickup market with its tiny all-electric model called the Pickman. Now, some five years later, the Chinese startup is set to start shipping these battery powered ponies into the States where their arrival will undoubtedly cause a bit of a stir.
Where did the 2019 Kaiyun Motors Pickman Come From?
The company’s founder, Wang Chao, told Bloomberg back in 2016 that the Pickman “will be as, if not more successful” than the Ford F-150. Now while that’s clearly a case of being overly optimistic, for now at least, there are definitely applications where it could come in handy.
The EV pickup is already on sale in China where it costs the equivalent of around $2,600, around half of what one will cost in the US (although, more expensive variants are available there too).
According to the source, Kaiyun Motors already has all the necessary approvals to start selling the vehicle in the States, and the plan is to sell 10,000 units this year at $5,000 a pop.
So while it may be almost twice the price of the Chinese market model, what U.S. buyers will get is a version tailored to their needs and preferences. The company has apparently already shipped a small batch to the U.S. to gauge feedback, but I wasn’t able to find any footage of them turning a wheel on U.S. soil - there is a wide selection of videos showing the vehicle in action; all are from China.
How capable is it, then, you might be thinking to yourself? Well, it has a claimed range of 75 miles or 120 km, and it can carry a maximum payload of 1,100 pounds or 500 kilograms (including driver and passenger).
The Chinese version makes just 5.3 horsepower, and it draws juice from a lead-acid battery pack of unknown capacity, so it’s probably not the quickest thing to sprint despite the fact it’s electric and thereby has instant maximum torque delivery.
It’s also ridiculously small by American standards. It measures just 10.6 feet in length, 4.3 feet in width, and 4.8 feet in height. For comparison, it would take more than two Pickman pickups to match the total length of a Ford F-350 with the long wheelbase.
As for applications, I think the Pickman would be great for use around a construction site, or to transport two dirt bikes over moderately rough terrain (no mention of all-wheel-drive is made, so it’s safe to say it’s just two-wheel drive) or even for park and zoo staff. There’s definitely a market for it, but with a limited top speed of just 28 mph / 45 km/h, its use may be restricted on most roads.
Read our full review on the 2020 Rivian R1T Pickup.
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