Few things are more iconic in the country than pickup trucks. They haul stuff. They go places.
Over the last two decades, pickup trucks have become status symbols, regularly selling for more than $50,000, and accounting for a large percentage of the profits at companies like Ford and General Motors.
That last bit got the attention of Tesla CEO and Founder Elon Musk, who plans to unveil his “cybertruck” on November 21 in Las Vegas.
Tapping into the macho image of pickup truck owners, Musk said:
“Cybertruck doesn’t look like anything I’ve seen bouncing around the Internet. It’s closer to an armored personnel carrier from the future.”
Tesla isn’t alone in developing an electric truck. Rivian has been at the task for years, while Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co are racing to design radical new takes on their most profitable pickup truck models, replacing petroleum-fueled engines with batteries in a bid to outflank Tesla’s plan to eclipse their brands.
The stakes are huge. In the first half of 2018, Ford sold an F-150 every 35 seconds. It’s the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., and a major reason why Ford all but gave up on passenger cars this year.
While Tesla might attract truck buyers near big cities, the sell will be harder in rural areas where charging will be an issue.
And if it’s too much of a departure from traditional truck lines, it could be nearly impossible to sell to traditional truck buyers. For an example, look to the original Honda Ridgeline, which highlighted its uni-body design with angled bed sides. It wasn’t a hot seller, to say the least.