Tesla's (TSLA) long-awaited — and angularly designed — Cybertruck officially launches Thursday afternoon at the company's gigafactory in Austin, Texas. The Cybertruck event comes four years after CEO Elon Musk first announced the vehicle.
Despite the hype surrounding the Cybertruck, Autolist’s 2023 Electric Trucks Survey found most generations favor rival electric pickups. Overall, Toyota’s Tacoma was ranked as this year's most popular all-electric pickup truck, followed by Ford's F150 Lightning. Gen Z was the only generation to list Tesla's Cybertruck as its preferred electric truck.
Autolist Editor-in-Chief David Undercoffler joins Yahoo Finance to discuss the Cybertruck debut amid waning enthusiasm and demand for EVs.
"Charging is becoming a more critical pain point for consumers," Undercoffler noted.
- When it comes to what makes it popular and who is actually going to be out there buying this Cybertruck, I know you've been digging into this, what did you find?
DAVID UNDERCOFFLER: Yeah. So we at Auto List, we run an annual survey every year gauging consumers' interest in electric trucks. We ask them sort of a hypothetical match-up of all the ones that automakers have talked about. So not just what you can buy today. So that would be Ford and Rivian, and the Hummer truck. But also, models that are expected. So that would be models from, like Mary Barra was just talking about, the Chevy Silverado.
There's a Ram version coming, an electric Toyota Tacoma. We paired all those up and said, look, car shoppers, which seems most appealing to you? We've done this for a number of years. This year the big winner was Toyota Tacoma overall. If there's an electric version-- and again, this is hypothetical. But an electric version of that truck had a widespread appeal. So to people who owned trucks previously, who had never owned a truck, to different sorts of age groups.
That was the main overall winner. That sort of kicked the Ford f-150 lightning out of the top spot. Previous two years, we'd seen a lot of enthusiasm around the Ford. Now, you can go buy the Ford. So I think the novelty is sort of worn off that truck. And then the Cybertruck, definitely was the winner among people who had owned or currently owned an EV. So EV owners are very enthusiastic about the Cybertruck. I think there's a big audience and a lot of potential there. And then, also younger buyers. Gen Z were the buyers who definitely favored the Cybertruck overall.
- I mean, but it comes down to financing too. I think, especially, even for Gen Z, many of them-- Oh, my gosh. The kind of age range continues to elude me.
DAVID UNDERCOFFLER: Makes me feel old, doesn't it?
- It really does. It really does. And I was trying to be really generous to myself there. But at the end of the day here, it comes back to how much, even at different kind of consumer cohorts, they're willing to spend into an experience where you're still waiting for there to be this broader investment that's starting to take place in a charging network at the end of the day. Does it feel like there's confidence around the existing network in order to buy into an EV experience right now?
DAVID UNDERCOFFLER: The short answer is no. In addition to this electric truck survey, we at Auto List also poll every year, just a broader EV survey. We've done that for a number of years. And both of these surveys, year over year, it's the same three reasons that people are concerned about EVs. It's the price of them over an internal combustion version of that vehicle. It's the range of that EV can travel. And then it's also where am I going to charge it. And the charging is becoming a more critical pain point for consumers.
Infrastructure is still lagging. We're seeing some investment, both on the private level and then a public level, in that. But it's still not solving consumers pain points of like, look, maybe I'm on board in theory with an electric vehicle. But if I own it, I don't know where I'm going to plug it in. I don't know where I'm going to charge it. And that's a huge concern for consumers of all ages, not just Gen Z.