Most electric pickups currently in the works are big, full-size trucks. But a new electric truck survey from Autolist indicates there could be significant demand—particularly among millennials—for something smaller.
The Ford F-150 Lightning topped the rankings as most popular electric truck for the second year in a row in this annual survey, with 24% of respondents naming it their top EV pickup. But the Toyota Tacoma EV—a model that doesn’t even exist—ranked second, with 20% of respondents naming it their top pick.
The Tacoma EV option was particularly popular among millennial respondents, who as an age group ranked it highest. In comparison, the Lightning was the most popular truck among baby boomers and Generation X, while the Tesla Cybertruck was ranked highest by Generation Z respondents. The Tacoma EV also had the most interest from non-truck owners, among any electric trucks.
This would be great news for Toyota if it was actually making an electric version of the Tacoma, a mid-size pickup smaller than full-size models such as the F-150. Toyota has confirmed a fully electric pickup in “the near future,” and in 2021 it showed a concept with a strong resemblance to the current Tacoma, but it hasn’t specifically confirmed a production Tacoma EV.
In addition to the somewhat amusing revelation that millennials are very interested in an electric truck that doesn’t exist, the survey had some other interesting findings regarding the current electric truck trend.
Because internal-combustion pickups are the most popular vehicles in the United States, it’s generally assumed that electric trucks will help drive EV adoption. While 66% of respondents who have owned an EV already said they would consider an electric truck as their next vehicle, just 34% of people who have never owned an EV said they would consider an electric truck as their next vehicle.
The survey found that price and charging infrastructure were major issues. Just over half (51%) of respondents said they wouldn’t buy an electric truck because they are too expensive, while 50% cited lack of access to charging as the main reason for not considering an electric truck.
Availability of charging infrastructure is an issue that affects all EVs, but the relatively limited selection of electric pickups makes price a bigger factor for them right now. Rivian raised prices of its R1T earlier this year and then dropped the most affordable versions that remained. Ford also recently hiked the price of the F-150 Lightning by about $12,000.
Other electric trucks advertised with lower prices haven’t arrived yet. General Motors has claimed the Chevrolet Silverado EV will be a high-volume entry aimed at fleets and affordability, but it hasn’t gone on sale yet, and when it does there’s nothing stopping GM from raising prices, as Ford did with fleet-oriented versions of the Lightning. At the concept/prototype stage in 2019, the Tesla Cybertruck was supposed to have a $39,900 starting price, but it hasn’t yet been detailed in its production form, a year after it was originally due for first deliveries.
In the meantime, Toyota’s best pickup efficiency play has been the full-size Tundra hybrid—although high mpg clearly isn’t the top priority.
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