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U.S. demand for electric pickups is sputtering

An illustration of a cracked or wounded lightning bolt.

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. demand for electric pickup trucks has cooled, stoking deep concern about a slowdown in America's shift to electric vehicles.

Why it matters: Americans love their trucks. If they're not buying electric versions, that spells trouble for the companies that have invested close to $20 billion into developing electric models of these traditional profit drivers.

Breaking: Tesla late yesterday said it would slow production, as CEO Elon Musk warned of "enormous challenges" in producing its long-awaited Cybertruck pickup due to slowing demand and high costs.

  • The news came one day after GM announced it would pause production at its electric pickup truck factory outside Detroit, citing sagging demand.
  • Meanwhile, Ford this week confirmed that it had temporarily cut production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup due to weak demand.

What's happening: Ford has struggled to fulfill even the earliest reservations for its F-150 Lightning.

  • Alan's brother Jordan, for example, is still waiting for his Lightning since placing a reservation June 28, 2021.

Between the lines: Car shoppers don't want to wait two years. Jordan chose a Toyota Tundra hybrid instead.

  • "I'm just tired of waiting on it. And also them holding the $1,100 deposit," he tells Axios.

Meanwhile, concerns about driving range and charging availability persist. The F-150, for example, loses significant range with weight in the bed.

State of play: The slowdown in demand reflects a broader shift for EVs in America, from enthusiastic early adopters to more skeptical mainstream shoppers.

Of note: Corporate buyers are still plunging ahead with their plans to go electric. Amazon just deployed its 10,000th electric delivery van from automaker Rivian.

Yes, but: That may not be enough. Ford, which not long ago proclaimed it would go all-electric with its consumer vehicles, is now increasing investment in its hybrid vehicles, including a hybrid F-150.

💭 Our thought bubble: This challenges the conventional narrative that if automakers simply start producing electric pickups and SUVs, buyers and profits will follow.

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