The next vehicle on the horizon for electric automaker Tesla Inc. is a pickup truck.
Adding a pickup truck to its lineup would make Tesla the first full-line electric automaker. It will compete in a wider selection of segments than established internal combustion engine brands such as BMW, Hyundai and Subaru.
Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, confirmed the plan in a Tweet posted Tuesday.
“I promise that we will make a pickup truck right after Model Y,” Musk said. “Have had the core design/engineering elements in my mind for almost 5 years. Am dying to build it.”
Musk said it would be similar in size to a typical half-ton pickup, such as a Ford F-150.
“Maybe slightly bigger to account for a really gamechanging (I think) feature I’d like to add,” he said. But Musk did not elaborate on what that feature would be.
Tesla is also taking deposits on the Tesla Semi Class 8 truck and Roadster supercar.
Musk has floated the idea of a Tesla pickup truck before. In 2016 his “Master Plan: Part Deux” manifesto promised “a new kind of pickup truck.”
And prior to the unveiling of the Tesla Semi, Musk responded to a request on Twitter for a light duty pickup by saying: “What if we just made a mini version of the Tesla Semi?”
Pickup trucks are driving profits for many automakers.
The average passenger sedan generates about $1,500 to $2,000 of profit, according to industry analysts. But a typical full-size pickup truck can earn $10,000 or more.
What’s more, demand is growing. Automakers have sold more than 2.5 million pickup trucks through the first 11 months of 2017, an increase of 4.6 percent compared with the same period last year, according to industry research firm Autodata Corp.
Pickup trucks make up 16.2 percent of all passenger vehicle sales in 2017, up from 15.3 percent in 2016 and 14.6 percent in 2015.
Earlier this year Morgan Stanley Research analyst Adam Jonas wrote that General Motors generates 100 percent of its U.S. profits from large SUVs and pickup trucks.
And Tesla is not the only company eager to enter the electric pickup market.
Workhorse Group Inc. plans to bring its W-15 electric truck to production in late 2018.
Tesla has sold nearly 40,000 vehicles in the U.S. through the first 11 months of 2017, compared with more than 23,000 during the same period last year. The increase is due to increased production of the Model X.