These larger-than-life beasts need the torque to haul heavy, a rough-and-ready body, and the ability to go all-day every day, so an EV pick-up might not quite sound right.
It’s kind of hard to think of a segment of auto-shoppers who would be so ruggedly disinclined to opt for an electric-powered vehicle than those who seat themselves behind the steering wheels of trucks. These larger-than-life beasts need the torque to haul heavy, a rough-and-ready body, and the ability to go all-day every day, so an EV pick-up might not quite sound right.
However, it seems to sound just about perfect to one man, and he should know. Elon Musk, another larger-than-life force, has just announced that he wants to reinvent the pick-up truck. Head of the Californian-based Tesla electric car company, he’s revealed that this new take on the iconic US workhorse should be expected by the end of next year.
There’s clearly a thriving market for pickups, although it is one that tends to be dominated by established big guns like the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado, and Dodge Ram. In fact, an astonishing 780,000 F-150s were bought just last year, topping US sales charts.
However, a closer look at the industry reveals small shifts that hint at greater levels of change. The pickup segment has found itself far from immune from the current focus on efficiency. In fact, one of the reasons for the popularity of the F-150 is its innovative aluminium-alloy body, which makes new models lighter by up to 60 lbs. (27 kg) from the previous generation. Among other things, that means that it leads the competition in terms of efficiency. If efficiency really is such a winner with the segment’s audience, a Tesla model might just be a surprise triumph.
Such a vehicle would probably be built around the Model 3, which is currently Tesla’s most affordable model. Musk’s plan for the next decade, which he calls ‘Master Plan, Part Deux’, doesn’t even stop with an EV pick-up. A compact SUV should also be looked for in the future, and the company says that it’s time to finish a lorry and a bus.
At first thought, the idea of cracking into the intensely competitive pick-up market with a vehicle powered by anything other than petrol or diesel would appear laughable, especially when you’re looking of launching in the United States. However, such an introduction might be just what the segment needs, and the debut of an EV capable of doing everything a normal model could do, only without burning gas, would decisively overthrow the idea that these models aren’t as capable as those powered by traditional engines.