The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling pickup truck for decades. As dominant as it is in terms of sales, there are several other venerable models in the pickup truck market. Despite the tough competition, Tesla thinks it sees an opening for an all-electric truck to take on the F-150 and all the other big hitters in that segment.

tesla truck rendering
This look could actually work for Tesla's hay hauler (rendering from Cars Lane).

In Elon Musk’s Master Plan, Part Deux for his company, he stated that Tesla will produce “a new kind of pickup truck.” This new pickup truck is only a small part of his large plan which also includes buses, vans and semi-trucks. Still, though it’s only a small part, it could end up being extremely important for the overall success of the plan. Here are some reasons why a Tesla truck makes sense:

  • Trucks Use a lot of Gas
    No matter what truck you get, you’ll never get the same kind of gas mileage you can from a car. Trucks are bigger, heavier and need larger engines to do the things their owners need to do. The most fuel efficient full-sized pickup out there is the RAM 1500 with the diesel six-cylinder (21 mpg city, 30 mpg highway). If you don’t want a RAM with a diesel, you’re looking at a significant drop in fuel economy. The Tesla pickup truck would need to blow the trucks currently available out of the water when it comes to efficiency.
  • Electric Motors Produce a lot of Torque
    Electric motors have the ability to produce more torque at the low end. This means electric motors would actually be superior to the gas or diesel engines in trucks currently. If Tesla could keep the range and power up on the Tesla truck, it could seriously contend with all of the competition. The publication Teslarati points out that the current Tesla powertrains already have performance similar to V8 gasoline and diesel engines, which leads one to believe that with a little tuning adequate performance from a Tesla pickup is possible.  
  • There’s Room in the Truck Market for Another Player
    Trucks are selling fast right now and probably will continue to do so for a while. People like the utility, capability and comfort a big truck provides. While there are already several options out there for pickup truck buyers, if Tesla could pull some buyers away from each brand as well as bring new customers to the segment, there’s no doubt that selling an electric pickup truck would be worthwhile from a business standpoint.

Tesla has Several Obstacles to Overcome

As possible as Tesla pickup truck is, there are several issues that would need to be addressed. While we could go into a long list of possibilities, we’re just going to focus on a few of the most prominent obstacles we see arising for the automaker.  

Tesla Truck
Oh, please dear God, let it not look like this (rendering from Cars Lane).

Here are the biggest obstacles for the Tesla pickup truck:

  • Range
    The current powertrain may produce similar performance numbers as some V8 engines, but when you pair it with the aerodynamics of a truck and make a vehicle tow a heavy trailer, the range will be significantly reduced. Tesla would have to find a way to make the truck have at least as long a range as its current models even if it has to tow a trailer.
  • Price
    Another issue for Tesla is price. None of the company’s current models are priced competitively with the other pickup trucks available. While some people may be willing to pay more for a Tesla pickup truck, if the company really wants its truck to become a widespread model, it needs to start around $40K. That’s still somewhat high and the lower the better, especially if Tesla plans to make a single cab model as the base, which we doubt they will.
  • Gaining a Strong Hold in the Market
    Though there is room for another player in the truck market, Tesla might find it hard to find a sure foothold. Tuck owners are notoriously loyal to a specific brand or model. While there is some brand hopping within the truck segment, many shoppers buy several Chevrolets, RAMs or Fords over the course of their lifetime with little to no plans of changing brands. This brand loyalty makes it hard for new products to gain headway. Still, if Tesla is able to bring an extremely high-quality, electric pickup to market, there’s no telling what consumers would do.