Buyers of electric pickup trucks are not all that unlike from those contemplating internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles.
When compared to its EV rivals, the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV Pickup, Ram 1500 Rev, Rivian R1T, and Tesla Cybertruck, the Ford F-150 Lightning came out on top in a third round of analysis conducted by Cox Automotive.
According to the study, consumers are more inclined to consider full-size EV trucks from brands they are already familiar with or already own.
“Ford’s full-size pickup has long been the best-selling, best-example of the genre, so perhaps it is no surprise that the F-150 Lightning arrives with a leg up on the competition,” noted Vanessa Ton, senior manager of Market and Customer Research at Cox Automotive. “Our studies continue to show the importance of brand strength, and that is particularly true in the full-size pickup truck segment, where brand loyalty often runs deep and fierce. This fact makes it particularly challenging for brands like Tesla and Rivian, both newcomers to the pickup segments.”
Brand loyalty runs deep
Cox Automotive conducted its survey in July and August, following two earlier rounds of research undertaken in late 2020 and spring 2022. In the most recent study, truck buyers who are in the market to buy within the next two years were asked to take into account a variety of characteristics, including expected range, driving performance, styling, and price.
Yet regardless of a product’s appeal, brand loyalty remains a strong attraction.
The study reveals that the Ram 1500 Rev came out on top for its vehicle appeal at 67%. But once branding was revealed, the Ram 1500 Rev dropped to 63% behind the Ford F-150 Lightning at 67%. But once brands were revealed, Ford also topped Chevrolet at 63%, while also trouncing GMC Hummer and Rivian at 48%, and the Tesla Cybertruck at 27%.
And the Ford F-150 Lightning dominates in the five areas that matter most to consumers, doing especially well in “overall look/styling” and “technologically advanced,” in addition to “mileage range,” “driving performance” and “price.”
Other factors remain important
In fact, price is a strong consideration given the high tariffs automakers are charging for EVs. The GMC Hummer EV and the Tesla Cybertruck receive the lowest scores in the study due to their price.
But more importantly, pickup upstart manufacturers have little chance of converting current full-size pickup aficionados.
“This research really shows how important it will be for a brand like Tesla to attract consumers and shoppers who are not traditional pickup truck buyers,” added Ton.
“The new Cybertruck will have to convert shoppers who are not already pickup owners or intenders. It is natural to consider the new Tesla truck as part of the full-size pickup segment, but this research demonstrates Tesla’s need to attract a different audience.”
Regardless of which truck they choose, electric pickup intenders are motivated by fuel costs and the environment.
Ford F-150 Lightning garnered highest consideration, and require their vehicle to have at least 305 miles of range, the study shows.
Market is still small
But demand for full-size electric pickups remains small.
In the second quarter of 2023, about 15,000 full-size EV pickup trucks were sold, more than doubling the amount from the prior quarter. That’s only 5% of the market for EVs, though. Full-size pickup truck sales, on the other hand, represent close to 14% of the overall U.S. market during that time.
Even if Ford and Rivian are far along with their sales, higher EV pickups volume is still in the future.
The Cybertruck’s difficulties are delaying any possibility of substantial Tesla quantities until next year, while just a small number of GMC Hummer EV pickups were sold in the most recent quarter. The Ram 1500 REV is currently planned to debut in late 2024, while the Chevrolet Silverado EV is “coming soon.”