Kayun Pickman electric truck costs just $5,000

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If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. News sites from Bloomberg to Fox News have published stories with headlines suggesting a new electric pickup truck from China could soon be filtering into the United States with a price tag of just $5,000. There’s some truth to those reports, but this isn’t exactly a Ford F-150 competitor we’re talking about. It’s a low-speed EV with a top speed of 28 miles per hour and a maximum range of 75 miles.

Kaiyun Motors reportedly has received approval paperwork to export its pickup to the U.S. The little a little under $2,500 in China (16,800 yuan, says Bloomberg), but will be pricier in the States due to some unspecified “reinforcements” and options such as a gun rack. It’ll be able to haul up to 1,100 pounds (we assume that’s referring to payload), which, if true, puts it within spitting distance of some full-size pickup trucks.

We’re not suggesting such a vehicle wouldn’t be useful to a limited number of buyers. Steve Man, an auto analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence in Hong Kong, said, “I can imagine people in North America and Europe will use the Pickman as utility vehicles in construction sites.” And we agree. A farm seem like a good home for this thing, too.

But it’s a stretch to suggest widespread market adoption of the low-speed truck. And it’s even further afield to proclaim, as did Kaiyun founder Wang Chao in a phone interview with Bloomberg, that “2019 will be year one for Kaiyun as we take on overseas markets including the U.S. … We can make our Pickman as successful as the F-150.”

It’s worth mentioning that Kaiyun has been working on getting its vehicles into the U.S. for several years. Back in 2016, the company was in the news for receiving an unknown level of funding, and at the time, reports indicated it wanted to sell its little truck in the States at a price of $3,500. Now that a few years have passed, we’d guess the company may be a little closer to its export goals, but we’d also suggest taking a measured approach to its American aspirations.

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