Tesla Pickup in “Master Plan, Part 2”: Should Ford Be Afraid?
There’s really nobody in the automotive world that gets more press and attention than Elon Musk. Found of Tesla Motors, whenever he speaks the media pays attention. Earlier this week he released his “Master Plan, Part Duex” to the world through a blog post, and one of the future goals is a pickup truck. If Tesla decides to get into the pickup truck segment, should Ford be worried?
This isn’t the first time that Tesla has talked about building a pickup truck. Several years ago Musk wanted to open a production facility in Texas that would be responsible for the Tesla truck. But since Texas wouldn’t let his company sell direct in the state, which is the business model for Tesla, Musk cancelled his plans of building a plant there.
Even though the plant didn’t get built in Texas, if Tesla were working on a pickup truck at the time, you’d think they would’ve found a place to build the truck and production would be underway. Instead, we haven’t heard anything about a pickup truck since.
Pickup trucks are the best-selling vehicles in the country, and it would make sense for Tesla to have an offering. But even if there was a truck coming from them, I don’t believe it’d affect the sales dominance of Ford.
First of all, it’s likely that Ford is contemplating an electric pickup truck right now. We know already that they are working on a hybrid truck. It wouldn’t be surprising if that truck was a plug-in hybrid, which would be relatively easy to convert to a full-EV.
It’s also likely that Ford would beat Tesla to market with a full-EV truck if they wanted to. Just look at the Model 3. While it has been hotly anticipated for many years, Chevrolet’s Bolt is going to beat them to market, and probably cost considerably less money when you add up options that people are going to want.
It makes sense to offer an electric vehicle in harsh working environments. An EV has fewer parts that can get gunked up, and in theory would have fewer reliability issues. The instant torque of an electric engine, combined with the big torque numbers that can be made with an EV, makes sense for hauling things around the job site.
Currently the only real things holding back an EV truck would be performance in extremely cold and extremely hot climates. When it’s really cold, EV range drops significantly. Since trucks are often used in some of the most inhospitable places on Earth, range and battery reliability is important.
Considering Tesla is already saying they might not meet their production targets for the Model 3, introducing yet another vehicle seems like a bad idea until they can sort out their current issues. I believe they’ll make an electric truck, but I don’t believe in the long-run that Ford has anything to worry about with Tesla entering the light truck segment.
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Tesla Truck Render via TopSpeed / David Kiss