TO THE EDITOR:
I enjoyed "Ford, GM and Ram primed for EV pickup battle" (autonews.com, Jan. 1). As noted, a lot of buyers are new to the pickup segment, which means that brands can't count on loyalty. But that also means that a lot of buyers' expectations will be based on nonpickup models, like cars and SUVs. And while Ford and Rivian are among the first to the segment, "first" has a short shelf life.
Together, this means that successful models will be those with solid and positive differentiators, and they need to go beyond what is expected from traditional internal combustion engine pickups.
The technical differentiators can include the usual ones for electric vehicles (range and speed to recharge), assuming all accelerate quickly.
The real differentiators will be the in-cabin user experience. This is new technology to many buyers, and buyers are coming from outside the segment, so interior systems will need to be focused on education, ease of operation, and cohesiveness within the vehicle and across systems.
The billion-dollar question: Which brands are designing to functional specs alone, and which brands are designing for the complete user experience? And which are benchmarking rivals based on tech specs alone versus user experience specs? We'll know soon enough!
LINCOLN MERRIHEW, Global head, brand and marketing, Pulse Labs, Boston. Pulse Labs provides human factor insights to help automakers and others optimize the in-cabin consumer-technology user experience.