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Kelley Blue Book: How electric truck buyers are hedging their bets

Customers who reserved a Cybertruck, Rivian, Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevy Silverado EV are making sure they get the first one to come along. Read More...

People who want to buy an electric truck are hedging their bets — they’re ordering more than one and canceling orders when something gets delivered. That’s the result of a survey conducted by electric vehicle battery monitoring company Recurrent.

Recurrent is a service that monitors EV batteries for its subscribers. The company’s mission is to provide transparency to increase confidence in preowned EVs, helping accelerate EV adoption. As part of that mission, it also studies the EV market.

Also see: The pros and cons of electric cars

Reservations: a new way of buying cars

Dealers sell some electric cars like traditional cars — buyers walk into a dealership, test drive cars, and negotiate to buy the car they want from what the dealership has in stock.

But increasingly, automakers sell electric cars through a different method. Demand for most electric cars outpaces supply. As a result, automakers have begun selling them through a reservation system.

Buyers typically pay a small fee to reserve their place in line before the company builds the car, then pay for the vehicle later when it is ready for delivery. That initial reservation fee is often refundable, though Tesla’s reservation fees are not.

It’s how Europeans have bought cars for decades and how Ford F, +1.71% would like to sell even its gas-powered models eventually. For now, it’s common for buyers of EVs from Tesla TSLA, +1.24%, Ford, Rivian RIVN, -0.16%, and others.

In partnership with AAA Washington, Recurrent surveyed 200 shoppers, asking which models they had reserved and which ones they planned to buy.

SeeDoes driving an electric car really save you money? A cheapskate runs the numbers

Pent up demand for electric trucks

Their discovery? Electric truck buyers, in particular, tend to reserve at least two.

Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents who had reserved a Tesla Cybertruck also reserved another electric pickup. In comparison, every buyer who had reserved a Ford F-150 Lightning or Chevy Silverado EV also reserved another EV truck.

Electric truck shoppers, Recurrent speculates, may hedge their bets because delivery dates are so far in the future. Chevy is taking reservations for the Silverado EV now with hopes of delivering it by 2024, for instance. Just 20% of those who have reserved a Silverado EV told Recurrent they expect to buy it.

They may also fear price changes before delivery or be willing to take the truck that shows up first. The first customer to take delivery of an F-150 Lightning recently canceled his Cybertruck order, having paid for both with plans to buy whatever was delivered first.

Check out: The Hummer vs. the Ford Lightning: 2 new electric trucks compared

Less common with cars, SUVs

The phenomenon is less common with electric cars and SUVs. “There are more stand-alone reservations for cars like the Subaru Solterra, Kia EV6, and Hyundai Ioniq 5,” Recurrent says. “These shoppers want the car they ordered and are reserving their place in line to buy it.”

Many electric cars are sold out for 2022. So, should a buyer cancel a reservation, the dealership would have a relatively easy time selling the car to another buyer.

This story originally ran on KBB.com. 

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