Elon Musk’s new SUV substitute may have gained worldwide attention however what does it mean for Australian Fleet Managers?
In the short term, not much perhaps, however given that the light pick up truck segment represents around 15% of American total vehicle sales or a million units, EV success in this segment will drive significant change.
Perhaps more importantly these vehicles are the single biggest profit contributor to American vehicle manufacturers. You can be sure they will watching closely and moving to replicate any early signs of Cybertruck sales success to protect their volume and profit base.
Cybertruck could indeed be the catalyst that brings volume sales to the EV market which in many markets still struggle unless supported through government subsidies and tax exemptions.
This increase in EV volumes will in turn drive significant investments in charging infrastructure helping to remove “range anxiety” that research shows impacts strongly on the propensity to purchase.
The Australian SUV market which is one of the few bright spots in an 18 month downturn in national vehicle sales shows that Australians are in love with the dual purpose appeal of this vehicle type. Cybertruck, and those that will follow, including the Ford F150 (the worlds biggest seller in this segment) will drive consumer acceptance and ensure pricing is driven down as production efficiencies and competition for market share kick in.
This increase in consumer acceptance, charger infrastructure development and efficiencies of scale will all ensure that more and more fleets will be able to take advantage of the benefits EV’s can provide particularly for city based daily use work vehicles.
Success in the American light truck segment for Tesla and the following models planned by Ford and GM could well be a game-changer.
Perhaps this could see Toyota, whose Hilux is the biggest seller in this segment in Australia walking back on its recently announced rebuttal of media speculation in regard to the impending launch of a battery powered Hilux.
I suspect that there is more chance of a Hybrid Hilux in the medium term however if the Tesla Cybertruck and the current US light trucks successfully embrace battery power others will have no choice but to follow. Watch this space!
This article was guest written for AfMA by Andrew Hickman from Marplus Consulting.