Despite building the best-selling EV on the planet and some of the most popular vehicles of any kind, Tesla and its long-promised Cybertruck came up short in a recent consumer survey on electric pickup trucks. Ditto for Rivian’s R1T.
The big winner? Ford’s upcoming F-150 Lightning.
That’s right, one of the oldest legacy automakers on the planet is the one with the hottest all-electric truck, according to a recent survey we did at Autolist.com.
Autolist polled 1,100 current car shoppers in late October and early November on the burgeoning all-electric pickup trucks segment.
Thirty-eight percent of respondents said the electric truck they’d be most likely to buy was Ford’s F-150 Lightning.
Chevy’s promised Silverado Electric (set to debut on Jan. 5, 2022) came in second with 26 percent, then Tesla’s Cybertruck with 20 percent, GMC’s Hummer EV SUT with 11 percent, and finally Rivian’s R1T, with five percent. Of all five, only Rivian’s R1T has started production and actually delivered vehicles to buyers.
But it wasn’t just that Ford’s truck came out on top in the poll. It was also how it did so.
Ford’s F-150 Lightning also ranked as the most popular choice among key groups of buyers that will be crucial for the success of any upcoming electric truck (you can check out full details of the survey results here).
These included existing and first-time EV buyers, existing and first-time truck buyers, all income brackets, and shoppers over 35.
“Ford’s Lightning has all the ingredients of success,” said Corey Lydstone, president and CEO of Autolist. “It has the name recognition that transcends the EV marketplace, it has the styling and features that appeal to truck owners and first-time buyers alike, and its wide price range makes it attainable but also aspirational.”
“Crucially, the F-150 Lightning is the first large-scale, all-electric truck to be launched in the U.S.,” Lydstone added. “Given Americans’ appetite for all things truck-related, that’s Ford’s ace in the hole.”
To date, the Lightning has some 160,000 refundable pre-orders, according to Ford — though that number is dwarfed by the reports of over one million pre-orders for Tesla’s Cybertruck. Both models are set to begin production in 2022, though the Cybertruck’s date has face repeated delays.
Tesla’s Cybertruck did win among younger shoppers in Autolist’s survey; it was the most popular choice among all buyers 35 and under. As mentioned, Ford’s F-150 Lightning then won the rest of the age cohorts.
Autolist’s poll also found a striking consistency among consumers’ worries about EVs in general — no matter the body style.
Respondents were asked to pick the biggest reason they would not choose an electric truck over a traditional non-gas model. The three most popular responses — by a wide margin — were Cost (28%), Concerns about range (25%), and Access to charging (20%).
So what about Rivian, especially on the heels of its eye-popping IPO in November and its current $100 billion market cap?
Overall, its R1T ranked last among the five models consumers could choose from — despite being the only model that’s reached production. That was a bit of a drop from the last time Autolist did an electric trucks survey in 2019, when it ranked third.
There were some bright spots for the R1T in this latest 2021 survey, however. While the F-150 Lightning didn’t score particularly well for any specific attributes of an electric truck in consumer’s minds, the Rivian did. It ranked highest for Performance, Range, Styling, Features, and Practicality.
“Rivian has more to fear from Ford than it does from Tesla, given how the Lightning is more of a competitive threat than the Cybertruck will be if it ever reaches production,” Lydstone said. “It will be interesting to see how the R1T and Lightning coexist.”