One Ford F-150 Pickup Driver Profile--Why He Likes Electric Cars

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2014 Ford F-150 Tremor

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor

As we noted in our roundup of most popular stories last year, the topic of covering pickup trucks turned controversial on Green Car Reports this year.

It started with a story on how what technologies we expect to be used for the 2015 Ford F-150 to boost its fuel economy from the current 18 mpg combined to 22 mpg combined or higher.

MORE: 2014 Pickup Truck Gas Mileage: Ford Vs Chevy Vs Ram, Who's Best?

That drew enough negative comments that we wrote another piece, explaining why we cover pickup trucks on the site--which drew even more comments, more than 380 as of today.

Faithful reader and commenter John C. Briggs of Boston chimed in to ask what possessed U.S. drivers to buy full-size pickup trucks if they're mostly going to be used for single-person commuting, and rarely actually carry anything in the bed.

2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit

2011 Chevrolet Volt plugged into Coulomb Technologies 240V wall charging unit

And he offered up as an example a colleague who commutes in a Ford F-150 every day, as a single occupant with nothing in tow, costing him $4,000 to $5,000 a year in fuel.

This fellow uses the truck to its full capacity only once a month during weekdays, if that--clearly an expensive choice of commuter vehicle.

We suggested that Briggs actually interview him, to ask why he drives an F-150 and not something more fuel-efficient--and Briggs did exactly that.

As he wrote, "I discovered that our thoughts, like most things humans do, are complex. I was too fixated on his F-150 pickup to realize that in his heart, he is really an environmentalist who loves the outdoors and doing outdoor activities."

Let's be clear; this is a profile of a single person among the many millions who drive pickup trucks daily. As such, he can hardly represent the whole owner body.

But as Briggs discovered, even those who love their pickups for what they offer may turn out to be fascinated by the idea of driving an electric car--if still remarkably uninformed about the options for actually buying one of the 15 plug-in vehicles now on the market.

Here's what Briggs wrote after interviewing his F-150-owning colleague (we've edited and condensed his text slightly):

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor

2014 Ford F-150 Tremor

The short answer is that he loves his truck: He likes the feel of the big vehicle, the highly adjustable seating position, and the fact that it can tow his boat (which he doesn't actually own) and his snowmobiles (which he is selling).

He likes the fact that it can carry a lot in the back (something he does often on the weekends). It just feels really cool to him, and although he didn’t say so, I get a feeling that he feels a sense of respect for his truck when he hangs with the boys.

They inevitably brag about larger engines and four-wheel-drive, which he does not have in his truck. You get the sense of his joy related to his truck from the big smile on his face when he talks about it. In short, it is a passion.

So what about other vehicles? He has owned some sports cars in the past, and loved them as well for their power and the engine noise he grew up with. He enjoys spirited driving in both large and small sports cars. But, now that he's married, with a kid, sports cars don't fit into his life well.

Why not a compact car? A Toyota Corolla, say? When I asked him, immediately a frown formed on his face. His passion for trucks and sports cars was wiped away and replaced by contempt for vehicles that only people “that don’t give a $#@&” about cars buy.

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