From The Wilderness
By James Strauss
The Ford Motor Company, on this day, February 16, 2023, terminated the production of its highly funded, touted and unworkable EF150 pickup truck. What happened? Was it terminated because of the reasons given by the company or was it because of the predictions I made on this site not long ago?
The company said it was because they could not manufacture the batteries for the truck qualitatively enough to live up to the predictions they’d made for distance and endurance. Well, that’s close. Actually, as I predicted, the company is right about one thing. The batteries. The lithium out there is primarily controlled by Elon Musk and Panasonic. Their control over the mining industry is not complete, however, but they do control the lithium mines that produce the purest product. What’s the difference between working with the less than pure stuff? It’s expensive to process and without huge expenditures of time and money it can’t measure to the metallic stuff Tesla is using and Elon and Panasonic own.
The second problem they ran into is that Tesla vehicles, all of them, do not ever work under tough off-road or construction and towing conditions. Electric discharge of batteries is not linear, it depletes in a curve, that accelerates mightily under duress, unlike the expenditure of energy experienced by gasoline or diesel powerplants. In other words, the electric power in the vehicle batteries, which if rationed out at lower levels gives greater range than gas or diesel, deplete much faster than the supplies of gas and diesel fuel being expended for equal work under duress.
Finally, there’s the ‘good old boy’ thing.
This third element is the one I took into the local Ford dealership to discuss, as the owner there is a friend of mine. I explained, as best I could, the anthropology of the ‘normal’ F150 pickup driver. That driver wants sound, and lots of it, to attract attention. That driver likes the black diesel smoke and smell of the heavy diesel engines. That driver wants to pull tree stumps with his ride and he wants the world to know that he’s all man because only husky, healthy and powerful men own and drive such rigs. The owner strongly disagreed with that part of my presentation. He placed an order for thirty of the trucks and he said that he already had pre-orders for that many and that I was entirely wrong. He sent back 27 trucks in late January to Ford, claiming that they were not yet performing as they should. He lied. He couldn’t sell them because none of the rural men out in the countryside would buy them.
Elon Musk has held off on the production of his famed pickup because he’s a bright man and he’s figured out the same stuff that I’ve presented here. I would not expect that truck, although designed to appeal to a more analytical and younger driver, will never be sold. The young people of today, those he targets for purchasing his other vehicles, are not pickup guys, even if the Tesla truck looks more Star Trek than macho. I’m sorry to report that pickup drivers, the largest single segment of vehicle sales in the U.S. are macho men. The want their loud and obnoxious trucks and they are not ready, and may never be ready, to slip into millennial woke thinking.