By Joseph White
LAS VEGAS, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Stellantis NV STLA.MI on Thursday unveiled a prototype of an electric Ram pickup at the CES technology show, part of the effort by Chief Executive Carlos Tavares to show that the French-Italian automaker is catching up with Tesla Inc TSLA.O and other rivals.
The electric “Ram 1500 Revolution,” unveiled at CES in Las Vegas, is a one-of-a-kind show vehicle meant to whet appetites for a production model due in 2024. It will arrive after rivals’ offerings in one of the most important segments of the North American electric vehicle market.
The real electric Ram truck will launch more than two years after the smaller Rivian RIVN.O R1T electric pickup and Ford’s F.N F-150 Lightning electric truck. General Motors Co GM.N plans to start delivering electric Chevrolet Silverado pickups this year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said the long-delayed Cybertruck will launch this year from a factory in Texas.
The Ram prototype, and a separate CES show vehicle from Stellantis’ Chrysler brand, are physical representations of the strategy Tavares and other executives outlined last year to match the electric propulsion and connectivity technology Tesla and other rivals are bringing to market.
Services enabled by connecting vehicles to the mobile internet are critical to Tavares’ strategy for the automaker. Stellantis has said it wants to double revenue to 300 billion euros ($316.50 billion) a year, in part by expanding connected services.
The high costs of electrification and advanced software development are putting pressure on automakers at a time when most forecasters expect a slowdown, or even a recession, in major global markets.
Stellantis last month said it would indefinitely idle a Jeep assembly plant in Illinois, and blamed the high costs of EVs for the decision.
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(Reporting by Joe White in Las Vegas Editing by Matthew Lewis)
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