In 2019, six months after Ford lastly confirmed it might be constructing an all-electric model of its hottest automobile ever, the F-series truck, the automaker launched a business displaying off the prototype. The F-150 Lightning business options longtime Ford truck house owners—males carrying baseball hats, button-downs, and development vests—professing their love for the F-Collection. Ford had taken the lads to a rail yard to show to them that an electrical truck had the facility to tow greater than 1 million kilos of practice carriage. The particular person Ford selected to make this demonstration was the truck’s chief engineer, a lady named Linda Zhang.
For years, the EV has been synonymous with one man: Tesla CEO Elon Musk. And within the US—in addition to in additional developed EV markets similar to China—ladies sometimes make up lower than a 3rd of the folks shopping for new EVs. However because the trade pursues mass adoption—in 2021, solely 4 % of US automobile gross sales have been EVs, in comparison with 17 % in Europe and 16 % in China —carmakers are attempting to diversify the picture of EVs and encourage extra ladies to purchase electrical, say analysts. Prior to now 12 months, Ford, Audi, and Cadillac have all launched EV adverts starring ladies behind the wheel.
“Automakers are realizing that girls play a key position, not simply in shopping for the autos however influencing others like males to purchase autos,” says Marc Bland, chief range officer at analysis firm S&P International Mobility. He provides that automobile commercials and on-line content material now function ladies extra closely as the motive force, not simply the passenger.
Ford declined to share statistics about how most of the 200,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning have been made by ladies. However the firm has made Zhang the feminine face of its electrical truck. She stars in YouTube adverts, and footage of her standing subsequent to the enormous truck have been disseminated throughout the web.
When WIRED met Zhang in June, she was eager to color the F-150 Lightning—which began being delivered to prospects in Could—as a automobile that appealed to what ladies need. “That larger seating place is one thing that we discover to be essential for folks, notably ladies, since you’re projecting this little bit of energy,” she says. Later, she described how the truck’s entrance storage space, referred to as a “frunk,” was helpful throughout a current journey to the plant nursery. (Ford has beforehand described it as a spot to place golf golf equipment.) “For the little flowers, I used to be capable of put them within the mega energy frunk, and we have now little dividers so they do not slide round,” she says.
However to influence extra ladies to purchase the F-150 Lightning, Ford first has to beat a cussed EV gender hole. Ten years in the past, when the primary of the newest wave of electrical autos hit the market, the overwhelming majority of EV drivers have been rich, nicely educated, and male, says Scott Hardman, a researcher at UC Davis who research client attitudes in direction of EVs. Now, the demographics of EV patrons are altering, his most up-to-date surveys present—common revenue and schooling ranges are coming down. However 76 % of patrons in California, America’s greatest EV market, nonetheless determine as male. “Now we have not likely seen a change by way of the gender break up,” Hardman says.