The American pickup truck segment may be the biggest prize yet in the country’s auto market. The US, after all, loves pickups, as evidenced by the fact that the country’s top-selling vehicles are dominated by trucks. This is why it is pertinent for EV makers like Tesla to ensure that their respective entries into the segment, such as the Cybertruck, are received fairly well by pickup truck buyers.
In a statement to NPR, Alexander Edwards, the president of market research firm Strategic Vision, remarked that avid pickup truck fans are typically not the same demographic that embraces electric cars like Tesla’s Model S, 3, X, Y lineup. It would then likely be tough to break into the pickup market by leading with the sustainability argument. But if an EV maker were to focus on performance, then pickup buyers may very well be persuaded to embrace electric alternatives.
These were outlined in the findings of a study conducted by Strategic Vision, which aimed to determine how interested avid truck enthusiasts are about upcoming all-electric pickups like the Tesla Cybertruck and the GMC Hummer EV. The results of the study show that a third of pickup truck owners are actually open to learning more about all-electric alternatives to traditional gas and diesel-powered pickups.
“A third of all pickup truck owners are open to the idea of electrification. It doesn’t mean that they’re going to shop for it, doesn’t mean they’re going to go buy it, but they’re least willing to listen to what you have to say,” Edwards said, noting that this likely equates to about 2 million truck shoppers per year. This number becomes even more notable considering that the first all-electric pickup has not even entered the market yet.
Edwards noted that pickup trucks are usually looking for “rugged, powerful, capable vehicles.” This means that trucks must have a lot of low-end torque and traction, factors that are extremely valuable for a work vehicle. Interestingly enough, electric pickups would excel extremely well in these metrics, considering that electric motors have tons of torque and the weight of their batteries would likely increase the vehicles’ traction. And this doesn’t even count EV-only novelty features like Rivian’s “Tank Turn” or the Hummer Ev’s “Crab Walk,” functions that are pretty much impossible in an ICE pickup.
Ultimately, one thing that could definitely determine the success of an all-electric pickup truck would be its price. EVs in general are still more expensive than their internal combustion engine-powered counterparts, and the same is true with upcoming electric pickups. That being said, vehicles like the Cybertruck are starting to buck this trend with its reasonable sub-$40,000 starting price. With this, perhaps even mainstream pickup truck buyers could be persuaded to take the leap and go for something electric.