With the Model S having won Motor Trend’s Car of the Year award, Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk sat down with the magazine to discuss the future. Obviously, his immediate hopes are that the award will translate into added sales, but he has no intention of resting on his laurels, not that anyone who knows him would expect him to do so. His plans call for further expanding the company’s model line, an ambitious move even for a more traditional company of the same size.
There are plans for an electric supercar, which sounds exciting and isn’t all that surprising, as Musk is someone who understands the importance of a halo car. What was a bit surprising was when Musk mentioned plans for an electric truck, something we haven’t really seen before. There have been electric delivery vans, but EV makers have up to now mostly stayed away from purely utilitarian vehicles like pickups and off-roaders. Range issues would probably explain the lack of off-roaders, but an EV truck is really quite an intriguing idea.
Trucks do tend to be heavy, and have some of the worst aerodynamics of any vehicle type. Those aren’t great features which are typically good for an EV’s range, but Tesla is not a company which is shy about packing as much battery material into a car as they deem necessary. There is a big advantage to doing this as well, since electric motors offer up huge amounts of torque right from zero rpm. Toque is major factor in pickups, and diesel-powered full-size pickups often offer more than 700lb-ft. An electric pickup probably won’t have a number quite so high, but the torque it does offer will be available more of the time, and will therefore be much more usable. That’s a trade-off which some people are probably happy to make, so it will be interesting to see how it goes.
There had been a belief that people who buy pickups don’t like change, but then Ford sold a huge number of their EcoBoost twin-turbo V6-powered F-150s, and now it seems that idea of what makes a pickup is up for grabs. We are, of course, interested in seeing this electric supercar as well, but an electric truck would be a far more interesting market.