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The first American-assembled electric mini-truck? AYRO opens pre-orders

We’ve been eagerly following the AYRO Vanish since late last year, when the electric mobility company unveiled the mini-truck platform and touted its final assembly in AYRO’s Texas facility. Finally reaching a critical milestone, AYRO has just announced that the multi-use platform is now available for pre-order.

We’ve watched the Vanish roll closer and closer to production throughout early 2023, which would make it the first commercially available electric mini-truck assembled in the US.

Now pre-orders are finally open for the versatile platform, allowing prospective owners to get a spot in line with just a $250 deposit.

Once it reaches full production, the AYRO Vanish will join a select group. There are very few actual electric mini-trucks available in the US, with most of the rare examples being imported Chinese models.

But as excitement grows for a smaller class of electric utility vehicles and small format trucks, the Vanish could be set to enter a ripening market.

The company describes the Vanish as perfect for roles “where full-size trucks or vans are too large and golf and utility carts are too small.”

The pre-order announcement marks a big day for the company, as CEO Tom Wittenschlaeger explained:

We see ourselves as a pioneer in the LSEV space. Our lightweight architecture, adaptable configurations, and efforts in sustainability are, in my view, unsurpassed in today’s marketplace. Announcing the availability of pre-orders is a significant step in bringing the Vanish closer to market.

The Vanish truly is a multi-role EV thanks to its modular design. The base Vanish comes with the “common core chassis,” which is basically a pint-sized flatbed truck, but there are multiple options for loadouts that can help customize it for various utility tasks.

The flatbed is likely a good candidate for all-around hauling needs, especially with oversized loads. But operators can also spec the AYRO Vanish with fold-down tailgate and sidegates for a pickup-style bed to help contain loose cargo. There’s also an enclosed cargo box to create something of an electric mini box truck or cargo van.

AYRO’s vice president of Dealer Sales, Terry Kahl, pointed to the advantages of a modular platform:

With swappable bed configurations, we believe dealers can find a use case for the Vanish with almost any of their existing clientele. We have indications of interest from a rapidly growing number of dealers and now incoming dealers can find added value in that AYRO is accepting their pre-orders even before they join our dealer network. It should be an absolute win-win for our existing and onboarding dealers as well as future dealers.

Other options include various style doors – or no doors at all – and the option to choose between a street-legal LSV (Low Speed Vehicle) and a non-street-legal version for off-road/closed campus use.

It’s not immediately clear what differentiates the two models, but LSVs are a federally regulated motor vehicle category that is limited to a rather slow 25 mph (40 km/h), and so there could be performance variations on a model not intended for use on public roads.

Pricing was originally estimated to start at around US $25,000, though AYRO’s online configurator shows that the base price is actually US $33,900. That price doesn’t include taxes, fees, or accessories, and specific pricing details for the various modular packages are not yet clear.

Electrek’s Take

I love the vehicle; it’s exactly what we need to see more of in the US. There are too many cases of massive trucks and vans that make deliveries with a nearly empty bed or box.

However, I’m a bit bummed to see that the price is unfortunately higher than we were all hoping for. Even at $25K, it was going to be a bit pricey, but $34K before any useful add-ons is starting to get fairly lofty.

I get it though – it’s not easy being the first one in the market, developing a new product and doing US final assembly (though I wonder how much initial assembly is done overseas).

And as far as pricing goes, it’s not that far out of line compared to the closest things I can reasonably compare it to. Speccing out a comparable WAEV GEM utility cart puts me at around US $31,000, though the GEM’s lithium-ion battery upgrade over the stock lead acid batteries is a nearly $10K option by itself. You could get out the door for closer to $17,000 if you’re okay with decades-old battery technology.

At this price, the AYRO Vanish isn’t likely to find a large consumer market, but it wasn’t really intended to. For commercial operators that specifically need a small, nimble electric truck like this, it could be perfect. And as the company scales up production (and inevitably faces increased competition once the category grows), perhaps prices will come down to the point where average Joes like you and me can buy one.

Until then, I’ll have to be content with my Chinese electric mini-truck.

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