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Insider’s view: Utility provider reveals GM and Ford considering electric pickups

Two of the best-selling vehicles in the world could be getting a whole lot greener.

Automotive News is reporting that General Motors and Ford are weighing the options for the development of electric pickup trucks, however there are a lot of challenges standing in their way.

Tony Earley, CEO of Pacific Gas and Electric and Board Member at Ford, recently said “light-duty pickups are the key, so the [Chevrolet] Silverado and the [Ford] F-150” are the main candidates for electric conversion at this time.

“But there’s a lot of engineering that has to go from changing a traditional vehicle into an electric vehicle,” he added, “and it costs a lot of money.”

To navigate financial obstacles, Earley proposed that the Department of Energy could subsidize the endeavor, or perhaps third-party companies could build kits to transfer pickup trucks over to electric power.

“Maybe they’ll turn them over to their converters, so like a lot of the racing cars, they’ll take a standard issue car and convert it,” he said.

In 2013, GM sold 480,414 Chevy Silverados and 184,389 GMC Sierras for a combined figure of 664,803 units. Ford, on the other hand, sold 763,402 vehicles in that time frame.

Related: The best-selling vehicle in the U.S. is getting greener. Ford’s F-150 pickup is going hybrid

Ford’s F-150 has been the best selling vehicle in the U.S. for over 30 years, and has been the most popular pickup truck for a decade longer. While an electric version is still beyond the horizon, the Dearborn, Michigan automaker is already taking the first steps.

Earlier this month, we reported that Ford was in the development process for a hybrid F-150. The brand’s Global Product Development Chief, Raj Nair, said the company is “working very hard” on it, however the project is still quite young.

While Nair noted that “low gas prices make the payback [for hybrid trucks] longer,” he admitted that increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gases is simply “the right thing to do.”