Electric vehicles are heading for a tipping point, now that mainstream automakers are making affordable, practical electric vehicles, in body styles most American consumers actually want — in a word, trucks — instead of expensive econoboxes, or astronomically expensive luxury-performance cars.
Trucks accounted for a record 77.3% of U.S. auto sales in 2021, according to Motor Intelligence. That definition includes pickups, SUVs, crossovers, minivans, and some small delivery vans.
“Now that we’ve got SUV EVs, that was like the time chocolate met peanut butter,” said Tyson Jominy, vice president, Data & Analytics, for J.D. Power, in a recent webinar hosted by the Detroit-based Society of Automotive Analysts.
The “chocolate,” or maybe vice versa, is relatively affordable and practical electric vehicles, with enough battery range to calm range anxiety. The “peanut butter” is the availability of mainstream truck body styles, with familiar brand names.
Jominy suggests that like peanut butter cups, many consumers will find the combination irresistible.
Exhibit A is the upcoming, battery powered Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford Motor Co. announced earlier this month it would nearly double annual production to 150,000, based on demand. The company said it had booked nearly 200,000 reservations, before the Ford F-150 Lightning even goes on sale this spring.
Automotive News reports there’s so much demand, Ford is already trying to discourage some dealers from trying to charge several thousand dollars over suggested retail price, for the Ford F-150 Lightning.
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the Ford F-150 Lightning is $39,974. That’s not counting options, delivery, fees, or taxes. But it’s also not taking into account federal, and potential state and local, tax incentives. Those are likely to be at least $7,500.
Ford is also widely reported to be working on an electric Ford Explorer and electric versions of other SUVs and crossovers. Ditto for just about every mainstream automotive brand.
Meanwhile Volkswagen sold 16,742 units of its new Volkswagen ID.4 SUV in 2021, with an order bank of another 20,000.
By 2025, there will be an estimated 153 electric vehicles in the U.S. market, up from 24 in 2020, said Elaine Buckberg, General Motors chief economist, in the webinar.
(Note: Forbes Cars & Bikes Contributor Jim Henry, a freelance reporter, also writes for Automotive News.)