Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in an echo chamber, especially with social media. It’s more fun and less frustrating to deal with like-minded people, and when it comes to electric vehicles, the sheer volume of misinformation just isn’t something anyone has time for. We know what works and what doesn’t, and those of us who are EV enthusiasts and/or environmentalists are willing to make sacrifices to drive an EV, often to a much greater extent than the average driver.
That’s why it’s important to take note when publications and people who aren’t part of the stereotypical EV crowd have either good things to say or offer truly constructive criticism of electric vehicles. In today’s example, Fox News Autos did a bit of both.
It’s no secret that many conservatives love big, huge SUVs, with Hummers being the most extreme example. The GMC Hummer EV managed to beat other electric trucks to market by months, but having something big, flashy, and inefficient really isn’t the point of trucks. The people who like to drive pickups may often only be commuting in them, but they usually do at least have an occasional utilitarian use in mind for them, and in this case, the Hummer EV fell short in a key way to Ford’s F-150 Lightning.
It turns out that (as I’ve pointed out before in this article about rural EV trips) a full-sized spare is important for many truck owners.
You don’t have to get very far from town to get to places where roadside assistance services, such as those offered by AAA or most insurance companies, take quite a while to reach you. On pavement, they’ll almost always come, but my experience shows that it could take 45+ minutes. Worse, if you’re out of cell phone service areas, you might not be able to reach them at all unless you’ve got a satellite phone or can call for help with something like amateur radio. It’s a hell of a lot easier to just carry a full-sized spare, change it yourself, and drive on it until you can get to a tire shop.
Even worse, you don’t have to go very far off pavement before roadside services won’t come at all, so having a spare can be your only reasonable option.
The F-150 Lightning won the spare tire hands-down competition. Like other Ford trucks, it has the full-sized spare mounted under the bed, near the front bumper. Regardless of whether you’re towing, put a bunch of stuff in the bed, or put on a camper shell of some kind, you can easily get to the spare tire and make a quick tire change. This is easy, practical, and safe.
The competition so far? Not so much. The Hummer EV doesn’t have a space for a full-sized spare, and you have to use an awkward accessory rack to store a spare in the rear cargo area. On trips, it would either get buried or you’d want to skip the spare because it takes up space you need for your luggage. The Rivian R1T has great space for a spare, but it’s accessed from inside the bed, so you’d have to unload everything from the bed to get to the spare.
It may seem like a silly thing, but if you live in or frequently visit rural America like many of Fox’s readers and viewers do, it’s a big deal, and it’s something Ford did right.
Featured image by Ford.
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