Ford, automaker of the iconic F-150 pickup truck series, entered the electric pickup market with its F-150 Lightning last year, competing against other EV trucks such as the Rivian R1T and the upcoming Chevy Silverado EV.
What does current ownership and outlook look like for the new all-electric pickup in the U.S., which clocks in at up to 320 miles on a full charge?
A recent CivicScience survey (n=3,197) found that awareness of the F-150 Lightning is relatively high (79%). Reported ownership is expectedly small (at 4%), but intent to purchase and general interest looks positive for Ford – 7% of respondents plan to purchase the Lightning in the next 12 months, while an additional 14% don’t have purchasing plans but are interested in the truck.
Who’s most likely to buy? For one, survey findings suggest that the truck appeals first and foremost to people who already own electric vehicles. One-quarter of EV owners say they currently own an F-150 Lightning, while close to an additional quarter are likely to purchase one within the next year. Purchasing plans drop by half among those who don’t yet own an EV but are planning to do so in the future.
Where does the F-150 Lightning sit among pickup truck drivers? Trucks are still popular in the U.S. The latest survey data show that 17% of all vehicle owners drive trucks as their primary vehicle.
When it comes to interest in the F-150 Lightning, truck owners are naturally the most likely to have purchased the all-electric pickup, while 18% are planning to buy one within the next 12 months. However, convertible drivers index as the most likely to make a purchase, which could indicate a willingness or capability to purchase higher-priced specialty or luxury vehicles. On the other hand, overall interest is lowest among SUV/Crossover drivers, which are the most popular car types among the U.S. Gen Pop.
Additionally, respondents who are favorable to Ford trucks were the most likely to have purchased the pickup and to be the most interested overall. However, there may be a spark of interest among those who tend to be unfavorable to Ford trucks – 14% say they plan to purchase the F-150 Lightning. The transition to EV may help to bring in a new segment that would not otherwise purchase a truck or a Ford.
Dealers may also be interested to know that people who plan to purchase an F-150 Lightning may hold out for a used one. The majority of current owners are likely to buy new cars in general – more than 70% who purchased the Lightning say they’ll probably buy new for their next purchase. But that’s in stark contrast to those who plan to purchase the truck, the majority of whom are likely to buy used. Also of note, more than one-quarter of these purchase-intenders are likely to lease their next vehicle.
The interest in used over new among potential future F-150 Lightning buyers is likely connected to income and age. Data show that the lowest income earners ($50K or less per year) are the most likely to plan to purchase the truck, which also serves as a proxy for age. Younger adults (Gen Z and Millennials), who tend to earn less annually, express the greatest interest and intent to purchase, suggesting that price and financing options will be key for the F-150 Lightning.
That said, the F-150 Lightning first hit the market with a lower price tag than the Rivian R1T pickup, which could have initially drawn more attention, especially from younger price-minded and EV-interested adults. However, the base price rose considerably in the past month. Will this impact future interest and sales of the electric pickup? Check back for upcoming insights and updates as CivicScience continues to closely monitor the rapidly growing EV market.