F-150 Lightning shows narrowing lead among electric pickups

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For the second year, Ford Motor Co.’s F-150 Lightning is the most preferred all-electric truck, according to an Autolist survey.

The Lightning not only topped its competitors overall, but ranked highly among various shoppers, including truck owners, current EV owners and those age 42 and up. Autolist, a car buying search service, surveyed the attitudes of 1,175 car shoppers toward the electric pickup truck market in October and November.

The models included in the 2022 survey were the Lightning, Toyota’s Tacoma EV, Tesla’s Cybertruck, Chevy’s Silverado EV, the GMC Hummer SUT and Sierra EV, Ram’s 1500 Revolution and Rivian’s R1T. At this time, only Ford, Rivian and Hummer models are in consumers’ hands, according to Autolist.

The Lightning’s lead is narrowing as more options enter the market. In 2021, 38 percent of consumers ranked it first, followed by 26 percent who said they want the General Motors’ Silverado EV. This year, the Tacoma EV ranks close behind.

“There’s an approachability to the F-150 Lightning that the other trucks in the market don’t have right now,” said David Undercoffler, Autolist editor in chief.

The Lightning performs significantly better than the other electric pickups, Rivian and Hummer, that are in consumer hands. That could be attributed to a few reasons, Undercoffler said, adding the Lightning has a lower price tag and a familiar appearance. Not to mention, brand trust is an important factor, and like any newcomer, Rivian has a lot of work to do, he said.

Ford’s likelihood to remain on top in 2023 depends. Ford benefitted from a lead on the market, Undercoffler said.

“Anyone out first, like Tesla for a long time, they had such a lead on electric vehicles and now their market share is shrinking, which is very understandable,” Undercoffler said, adding next year’s ranking could depend on upcoming announcements about the Tacoma, which is in its conceptual phase but still ranking as a close second to the Lightning.

In 2022, 24 percent named the Lightning as their top pick, followed by Toyota’s Tacoma EV at 20 percent, Tesla’s Cybertruck at 15 percent and the Chevy Silverado EV at 13 percent. The Ram 1500 Revolution was the top pick for 9 percent of shoppers, ranking over GMC’s Hummer EV SUT (7 percent) and Sierra EV (6 percent), as well as the Rivian’s R1T (6 percent).

“Trucks have always been a cornerstone of the US auto market, and truck buyers are among the most brand-loyal in the industry,” Corey Lydstone, CEO of Autolist, said in a statement.

Those loyal shoppers ranked Ford (26 percent), Toyota (20 percent) and Chevy (13 percent) in their top spots, while non-truck owners ranked Toyota first, followed by a tie between Tesla and Ford. However, non-truck owners were more likely to consider an electric truck as their next purchase, Autolist noted.

Tesla’s Cybertruck also brought differences among EV owners and non-EV owners. For EV owners, 20 percent preferred the Cybertruck, compared to 14 percent of non-EV owners. Non-EV and EV owners alike favored the Lightning, differing mostly when it came to Toyota and Tesla.

EV owners reacted poorly to Chevy’s Silverado EV, Autolist said in a statement. These shoppers were less than half as likely to choose Chevy’s electric truck than their non-EV counterparts.

“We were expecting that Chevy’s considerable experience with the Bolt and the Volt models would translate into excitement by EV owners for the Silverado,” Lydstone said in a statement. “But in fact, it had the opposite effect.”

Gen Z shoppers were most excited about the Cybertruck, with 32 percent ranking it first, however, the Tesla model ranked lower and lower among older age groups.

Ford took the top spot among Gen X and Baby Boomers and Toyota was preferred by millennials. The two brands consistently ranked high across age groups, which will be essential to their success, according to Lydstone.

While shoppers might rank the electric trucks, many have concerns about buying one. More than half say they are too expensive, half cite concern over access to charging and 35 percent note concerns about the vehicle’s range.

“When you hear about or read about these new models, it’s usually in the context of their six-figure price tags; this does little to convince people that electric trucks are a viable option for the near future,” Lydstone said in the statement.

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