An electric pickup truck is on Chinese automaker Geely’s radar.
Indeed, this model – which appears to have been revealed in patent images – may come under a new brand called Radar.
Chinese outlet NetEase Auto reports Zhejiang Geely Holding Group has filed trademark applications for Radar in December 2021 and April 2022, with the slogan “a new and diversified outdoor lifestyle” (translated).
A source told the outlet this is a new business of Geely’s pickup truck division, spun off from its commercial vehicle division in November 2021.
Subsequent to this move, an official tender announcement confirmed Geely was working on a “high-end new energy pickup project” according to NetEase Auto.
Geely’s first electric pickup truck is reportedly due in 2022, and a reveal could reportedly occur as soon as May 13.
The patent images, published by outlets including Car News China, appear to be of the first Radar vehicle, a relatively handsome pickup truck.
It appears to eschew the butch look of pickups like the GWM Ute for a more SUV-like appearance, à la the Honda Ridgeline and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Geely is said to have invested 2.42 billion yuan (A$517 million) in a new manufacturing facility in Shandong Province, and Shandong Geely New Energy Commercial Vehicle Co. Ltd will reportedly focus on research, development, manufacturing and sales of mid-to-high-end pure-electric pickup trucks.
Geely currently sells only one pickup truck, the unusual Farizon FX, which is based on the Geely Boyue crossover and features unibody construction.
The body style is becoming increasingly popular in urban China, however.
While much attention has been lavished on full-sized electric pickups like the Ford F-150 Lightning and Tesla Cybertruck out of the US, Chinese brands have been making headway in the mid-sized EV pickup market.
LDV has an electric version of its T60 ute in China, while Nissan’s joint-venture partner Dongfeng has introduced a Navara-based electric ute called the Rich 6 EV.
A report from The Financial Associated Press last year indicated the new Geely brand’s goal was to benchmark US startup Rivian, which produces the electric R1T pickup truck and R1S SUV.
While Geely produces electric vehicles under many of its brands, including Volvo and Polestar, it hasn’t produced an electric pickup truck before.
It did recently reveal an electric semi-truck concept called the Homtruck, however, which is slated for a 2024 launch.
The Chinese conglomerate also owns London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC), which produces an electrified version of the iconic London taxi as well as electric commercial and camper vans.
Its TX taxi and VN5 commercial van both come with a 1.5-litre petrol range extender engine for when the battery runs out.
Large Chinese automakers are known for rolling out a plethora of brands, and Radar would be the latest for Geely after EV brands Geometry (launched in 2019) and Zeekr (2021).
Zeekr is its premium electric vehicle brand, and its only model so far – the 001 – uses Geely’s new modular Sustainable Experience Architecture (SEA).
This architecture can support single-, dual- or tri-motor set-ups, as well as range extender options.
SEA will support over-the-air updates and autonomous driving technology, and claims a maximum range of over 700km using the more lenient NEDC standard.
In addition to rolling out this new platform, Geely is aiming to have 5000 battery swapping stations across China by 2025.
Known as E-Energee, the battery-swapping service revealed at the 2021 Wuzhen Internet Conference allows EV owners to swap their existing battery for a fresh one in 59 seconds.