China Ute: Low-Cost Option to Ford’s $280,000 EV Truck!

GWM Cannon to fire up Aussie tradies

Sat 11 May 24


Ford’s new electric truck is ready for pick up. But here’s the crunch: it will cost tradies roughly $280,000 for the privilege.

The new Ford F-150 Lightning will be sold through third-party supplier AusEV after conversion to right hand drive by Australian Manufacturing Queensland, the state’s $16.5 million non-profit commitment to employers, workers, apprentices and trainees in the manufacturing industry.

“It goes like you wouldn’t believe,” said Climate and Energy Minister Chris Bowen after a test drive. He’s right. You wouldn’t believe the price!

Customers can choose between a ‘standard’ model with 400 km of range for $224,990 plus on-roads, or an ‘extended range’ version up to $280,000.

As the construction sector faces its biggest worker shortage in decades with prices and demand adding further pressure and interrupting cash flows and budgets, maybe Aussie tradies might consider the Great Wall Motor Company’s Cannon-CC, available here at $36,900 for the 4×2 version and $39,990 for the 4×4.

China’s largest producer of sport-utility vehicles and pick-up trucks, GWM sold more than 1.5 million vehicles last year.

GWM Australia says the cab-chassis version of the popular ute is now in showrooms around the country. Notably, there is no direct competition from fellow challenger brands, with the SsangYong Musso and LDV T60 not available as factory cab-chassis.

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The Cannon-CC ute’s tub is swapped out for an aluminium tray.

The regular ute’s tub is swapped out for an aluminium tray, which measures 1730 mm long, 1855 mm wide and 235 mm deep. The tray also extends the Cannon’s overall length by 101 mm.

Payload is 1130 kg across the cab-chassis range with variants costing an extra $1000 over utility counterparts.

The Cannon uses a 2-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine producing 120 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 4×2 uses 8.4L/100km on the combined cycle – 0.1L/100 km more than the corresponding ute – and 9.4L/100km as a 4×4.

In the cabin, surprisingly, there’s some luxury finishes that outshine many of the big-name brands such as quilted stitching on the ‘luxury leather’ seats.

In front of the gear selector there’s a wireless phone charger and a pair of USB ports. The T-bar style auto shifter is really an e-shifter, so if you drive into a parking spot and turn the engine off it’ll engage ‘park’, even if you’re in ‘drive’ or reverse. Otherwise, there’s a ‘P’ button on top. 

Published Credit: Ford
Posh new Ford F-150EV truck comes with a hefty price tag. (Photo Credit: Ford).

The GWM ute has a five-star ANCAP safety rating achieving 86% for adult occupant protection, 87% for child occupant protection, 67% for vulnerable road user protection and 73% for safety assist. So, it has the safety technologies and equipment to meet the needs of families and tradies alike.

Now, apropos Ford’s new electric truck in the USA. China is pulling out all stops for an EV supply chain build-up, stepping up R&D spending, employers, workers, apprentices and trainees in the auto-manufacturing sector.

The penetration of new energy vehicles in China could exceed 50% this year.

The Chinese government plans to tap all the policy resources available to create a ‘made-in-China’ electric vehicle supply chain, pressing three state-owned automakers to spend more on research and development.

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Luxury finishes inside the GWM Cannon outshine some of the big-name brands. (Photo Credit: CarsGuide)

China’s new energy vehicle industry, which includes EVs and plug-in hybrids, has now gained the “new quality productive forces” called for by Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The share of EVs sold in China will mean auto builders will have to create economies of scale as quickly as possible and develop a competitive advantage for their brands.

EV startup Xpeng Motors plans to dominate global autonomous driving and this year will invest about US $486 million in R&D for intelligent driving as well as self-driving tech. Headquartered in Guangzhou, the company will announce new models in July priced between US $13,860 and US $20,790, among the least expensive EVs on the market.

Xpeng unveiled the world’s first new intelligent driving species at the Shanghai Auto Show last year and has announced a partnership with ACCESS Europe in the field of in-car infotainment systems.

Meanwhile, the Volkswagen Group has invested US $700 million to purchase a 4.99% stake in the company. The VW Group will collaborate with XPeng to develop two VW brand electric models for the mid-size segment in the Chinese market in 2026.


  • Orson Whiels

    Orson Whiels has been a motoring writer for many years and was motoring writer at Queensland Country life in the 1960s-70s and then motoring editor at Australian Timberman.)


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