China's Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has launched its first all-electric pickup under a new electric outdoors lifestyle vehicle brand called Radar Auto.
The Radar RD6 midsize pickup is the brand's first model of a coming lineup that will include trucks, SUVs, and even ATVs. All Radar Auto models, including the RD6 pickup, will be based on Geely's pure electric Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).
Designed with input from Peter Horbury, Geely Auto's Executive Vice President of Design, the Radar RD6 is described by the company as an electric lifestyle pickup truck.
We'll have to wait a while for performance figures, but Geely said the SEA platform will give the RD6 "considerable technology underpinnings that will include single and dual motor options." Reports from China claim the RD6 will deliver 200 horsepower to nearly 400 horsepower and a maximum driving range of 600 kilometers (373 miles) on China's CLTC cycle, but these numbers are unconfirmed for now.
We also learn from the press release that the use of the dedicated EV platform has also enabled engineers and designers to maximize space considerably, allowing for a front trunk under the hood as well as a truck bed that boasts external charging facilities. As for dimensions, the Radar RD6 reportedly has a similar size to a Toyota Hilux midsize pickup truck.
Gallery: Radar Auto RD6 electric pickup
Pickups are seen as a niche segment in China where mostly farmers use them. They are still banned from most urban roads despite trials since 2016 allowing entry to select areas in several cities.
Why is Geely coming up with an electric pickup, then? Well, while pickup truck sales made up around 2% of China's auto sales in 2021, their growth is outpacing that of other segments, including sedans and sports utility vehicles. Furthermore, urban residents are becoming increasingly interested in pickups as they are taking up outdoor pursuits like camping, hiking and adventuring amid Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings and travel.
"More people are pursuing a healthy lifestyle with more outdoor activities while the governments are also relaxing restrictions for pickups in cities. Those changes are supporting the growth of pickup trucks."
Radar Auto CEO Ling Shiquan
In a move that reminds of Rivian, Radar Auto is also introducing a lifestyle sub-brand called Radar Weekends that will focus on outdoor lifestyles and will work with different partners "to create a fun, diverse outdoors ecosystem." For example, Radar Weekends will collaborate with camping equipment brand NatureHike to develop a variety of outdoor camping accessories for the brand's vehicles.
Geely will start production and deliveries of the Radar RD6 in China in the fourth quarter, with pricing to be announced closer to the market debut. Radar Auto CEO Ling Shiquan told Reuters the company is also looking at potential expansion opportunities in Southeast Asia and may also seek to bring the truck to the United States, the world's biggest pickup truck market.