Is Chevy Reviving The El Camino as an EV?

GM is considering an affordable, fully electric truck for customers who think the midsize Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon are still much too large. As Automotive News reports, a prototype small electric pickup was spotted during a recent workshop organized by General Motors. Apparently, the automaker is previewing the model to a select gathering of clients to collect feedback before deciding to move ahead with producing the design or not.

Automotive News also describes it as being “smaller than the Ford Maverick and the Hyundai Santa Cruz.” For context, the Maverick is approximately 12 inches shorter and 11 inches narrower than the brand-new third-generation Chevrolet Colorado. If even smaller than that, it sounds like this little GM truck could be sized similarly to the Chevy Montana, which is currently only sold in Brazil. But unlike the Montana, the prototype only had two doors and a very low roofline for a futuristic, sporty look.

The El Camino Was Divisive in its Heyday

A red 1970 El Camino SS
This 1970 El Camino SS is fast and practical at the same time. Credit: Bring-a-Trailer

The Chevrolet El Camino of yesteryear is an automotive cult classic, yet still polarizing. Inspired by Ford’s Ranchero, it basically fuses a pickup bed onto the body of a coupe. The more conventional vehicle on which the El Camino was based varied, but some of the most popular are the third and foruth generation, based on a Chevrolet Chevelle, and the fifth-generation, based on the Monte Carlo. For many years, a sporty SS version of the El Camino was available, which culminated in 1970, when Chevy offered an LS6 big-block V8 that cranked out 450 horsepower.

While the El Camino hasn’t been sold in the United States since 1987, it’s popularity endures, fueled by some high-profile appearances in television and movies. For example, a red 1973 El Camino was driven by the title character on the television show My Name Is Earl. Also, the movie sequel to the Breaking Bad television franchise was actually named El Camino, after a 1981 model that belonged to a main character. While the El Camino was a fairly large automobile, smaller cars of similar design are popular around the world, particularly in Australia, where they’re known as “Utes.”

An Ultra-Compact Truck Could Be Huge

Hyundai’s popular Santa Cruze “Sport Adventure Vehicle.” Credit: Hyundai

The market clearly has appetite for small, affordable pickup trucks. For example, Ford had to stop taking orders for its 2023 Maverick after only one week because demand was so great that they feared all of the orders couldn’t be fulfilled, which actually happened in 2022. Hyundai hasn’t sold quite as many Santa Cruz trucks, but it still outsold the brand’s Venue SUV and Accent sedan last year. Reportedly, Ram is also investigating the viability of a compact truck line.

An exclusively Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV), or at least an electric variant, would certainly give GM an edge with eco-minded consumers in the compact truck segment since Ford only offers a hybrid version of the Maverick and Hyundai’s Santa Cruz is internal combustion-only. It’s not clear which GM marque would carry the pickup if it moves forward, but Chevrolet and/or GMC seems like the most logical fit. If launched, the yet-unnamed pickup would have a target price of less than $30,000 for the base model.

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Author: Richard Sachek

Richard's lifelong automotive journey started at an early age with building model cars. Upon getting his drivers license (and many speeding tickets), plastic models quickly morphed into the real thing. When not contributing to one of several digital automotive publications, Richard can usually be found hiking, camping, or skiing in his home state of Colorado.

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