An electric version of the new Volkswagen Amarok – a twin under the skin to the latest Ford Ranger following a partnership between the two auto giants – could be in Australian showrooms by the end of this decade.
German car giant Volkswagen is expected to be at the forefront of the rollout of electric utes in the global mid-size pick-up market.
While these images of an electric Volkswagen Amarok are computer illustrations rather than the real deal, Drive understands the company is well progressed with plans for an electric pick-up that will be a twin under the skin to the Ford Ranger Lightning.
Ford has already trademarked the Ranger Lightning name – borrowing the electric Ford F-150 Lightning model designation in the US.
Given the new-generation Ford Ranger and the soon-to-be-released second-generation Volkswagen Amarok were jointly developed following a renewed partnership between the two auto giants, Drive has been told there is a strong likelihood VW will adapt the same technology for an electric Amarok.
Ford and Volkswagen are yet to confirm such a model, however Ford’s global chief engineer for the Ranger and Amarok development programs has previously told media the platform is “package protected” for a range of electrification options.
While Ford is well progressed with a petrol-powered plug-in hybrid version of the new Ford Ranger – which could be in European showrooms next year – Drive understands Volkswagen has side-stepped this version and will wait for the fully electric model.
Fully-electric versions of the new Volkswagen Amarok and Ford Ranger are believed to be scheduled for production about 2028, when a mid-life facelift is likely due.
Representatives for Volkswagen and Ford declined to comment on future model speculation.
If the rollout of the electric Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok in 2028 prove true, they will likely be the first movers in the mid-size pick-up market among mainstream automotive brands.
However, Chinese ute manufacturers are set to beat them to the start line and into showrooms by half a decade. China’s LDV has an electric ute ready to go from later this year or early next.
While Chevrolet, Ford and Tesla have unveiled electric full-size pick-ups for the US market, a question mark remains over the electrification of the next size down: “compact” or mid-size utes such as the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, and Isuzu D-Max which are preferred workhorses in Australia and elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific.
Toyota has unveiled a concept version of an electric, next-generation Toyota Tundra or Tacoma for the US market (pictured below), but a recent report tabled by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries – the peak lobby group for multinational car companies in Australia – claimed there will be no purely electric pick-ups built in Thailand before 2030.
However, missing from the report is the possibility a number of ute manufacturers – namely Ford, Volkswagen and Toyota – could manufacture an electric pick-up in their South African assembly lines that supply the European market.
The Ford Ranger is assembled on at least four production lines globally – including Thailand, the primary source for Australia, South Africa, where it makes the Amarok for Volkswagen, and in Detroit for the US market.
The Toyota HiLux also has a global manufacturing footprint, however Australia for now sources the vehicle solely from Thailand.
Meantime, the brand likely to beat everyone to the mid-size pick-up market in Australia is China’s LDV.
An electric LDV T60 – dubbed the eT60 – has already been previewed in New Zealand priced from $NZ79,990 (pictured above) and there are plans to offer the model in Australia alongside an electric LDV van from late this year or early next year, pending any delays.
You can read that story here.