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In A World Of Ever-Larger Trucks, Alpha’s Wolf Stands Out From The Pack

A couple weeks ago, Alpha Motor Company announced the Wolf+, an extended cab version of its Wolf EV truck. It appears to all be CGI at this point, but the appearance and specs it is promising look like a serious entrant into the EV market. What most sets these trucks aside, though, is that they’re similar in size to the small trucks that were sold until the 90s. In a world where trucks are getting bigger and bigger, these small and efficient trucks stand out from the pack.

It’s Not Your Imagination. US Trucks Really Are Growing.

This video from Donut Media really covers the issue well if you’re a video person:

There are three fundamental forces at work in the industry here: Demand for larger vehicles, space for safety features, and that larger vehicles are subject to less strict fuel economy standards. Consumer demand for larger vehicles is a big one. Americans have always liked larger vehicles, and that trend continues. I’ve seen people go for small crossovers over a sedan, even when the crossover has less interior and cargo room (good example: Nissan LEAF vs Nissan Kicks). They go for the crossover because it looks bigger. They want their truck to be Big McLargeHuge.

There’s also the issue of space for sensors, airbags, clearance for airbags, crumple zones, and more. A bigger car can fit all of that in, while smaller cars just can’t. People tend to take safety ratings very seriously, so manufacturers are going to do what it takes to physically get there.

Finally, there’s the EPA’s “footprint” rule. Basically, you take the distance from rear axle to front axle and multiply that by the vehicle’s width. That gives, in square feet, the vehicle’s footprint. Vehicles with a high footprint get a discount on the gas mileage requirements they must meet, while small vehicles must be the most efficient. This gives manufacturers a financial incentive to make vehicles bigger.

Demand For Small Trucks Still Exists
This situation has left many car and truck enthusiasts wondering if any manufacturer would start selling small trucks again, but we seem to be a minority that the big automakers won’t cater to. Even Tesla’s first truck is going to be quite large.

With this niche market left largely unserved, enthusiasts are converting coupes and sedans into utes, or small car-based pickups like the El Camino of old. Some of them use kits, while others do custom builds. Within the Tesla community, the best example of this would probably be Simone Giertz’s “Truckla.”

With people willing to go through all this trouble just to get a small truck, there’s clearly a fair amount of demand for such a thing. Even with an efficient and clean electric drivetrain, some people just prefer the feel of a smaller vehicle, even for trucks. In the urban and suburban environment, there are also clear advantages in terms of parking and maneuvering for a smaller truck.

How Alpha Wants To Serve This Segment
The Wolf and Wolf+ electric trucks are a clear response to this. Not only are the vehicles smaller, but they’re also styled like an older small pickup truck, which will help them get a piece of the small truck nostalgia market. It looks a lot like the trucks we used to see so much on the road, like the Chevy S10, old Ford Ranger, Nissan, and Toyota. The round headlight metal surrounds add that much more to the effect.

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