Eager to tow your camper, haul some wood or go off-roading with your pickup?

Pretty soon, you might not need a drop of gasoline or diesel to make those trips.

Electric pickups are coming. The only question is, will Americans buy them?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to reveal his long-awaited electric pickup on Thursday night at an event in the Los Angeles area, while Ford, General Motors, startup Rivian and others are also pursuing their own models.  

But given that pickup owners are famously loyal to their vehicles – especially the full-size Ford F-150, Ram and Chevrolet Silverado – there’s no guarantee people will embrace the electric newcomers.

“People buy pickup trucks because they want to haul something or they want to tow something, and I’m really dubious of the ability of (electric) vehicles to actually do that in a way that’s user friendly,” said Dan Edmunds, director of vehicle evaluation at car-research site Edmunds, who also spent a decade testing pickups for automakers.

Edmunds questioned whether an electric vehicle can deliver the same capability as gas and diesel models, and said they may also present logistical challenges. 

Automakers, however, are pressing ahead – in part because they already sell 2.5 million to 3 million pickups globally every year, according to Sanford Bernstein analysts. They can’t afford to lose that highly profitable source of revenue in case pickup fans migrate to electrics.

Pickups are the most profitable segment of the auto industry with high-end prices  for gas-powered trucks now approaching $100,000.

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