Like it or not, folks, electric vehicles are coming. And it seems that, counterintuitive as it may seem, the segment they will disrupt first over the next couple of years here in America is the full-size pickup sector.
Want proof? Ford has a new electric F-150 in the works. GMC's new Hummer EV will enter production soon. Tesla's Blade Runner-inspired Cybertruck is en route. Rivian R1Ts arrive this summer. And don't sleep on smaller startups like Bollinger and Lordstown Motors, as they could surprise you.
It's safe to say that those in the market for an electric pickup will have options. Recently, Cox Automotive surveyed buyers considering a pickup purchase in the next two years to gauge their preferences. The results are broadly optimistic for electric pickups: the survey showed 39 percent of buyers would consider buying an electric truck, with 4 percent only interested in buying electric.
But things are less encouraging for Tesla. The survey showed the idea of an electric F-150 to be far more appealing than the Cybertruck, at least by one measure.
The Cox survey stripped brand identifiers away from the vehicles in order to measure "image appeal." 59 percent of buyers liked a rendering of the electric F-150, while just 19 percent approvedd of the Cybertruck.
Tesla's pickup was more popular with the youths than on average; the Cybertruck earned approval from 31 percent of 18–34-year-olds. However, that was still a lower percentage than the electric F-150 (51 percent), the Rivian R1T (51 percent) and the Hummer EV (46 percent).
Tesla did performed better when brand identifiers were included. But even then, 75 percent of buyers considering an EV truck were willing to consider an electric F-150, versus 48 percent for the Cybertruck.
These results shouldn't be too surprising. Truck buyers like trucks that look like trucks. And they like the F-150, in particular; it is America's perennially best-selling truck. The question for Tesla will be how many buyers who weren't considering a pickup otherwise will want a Cybertruck. If they don't, it may be time for Tesla's fallback strategy.