HomeTechnologyFord F-150 Lightning: what to expect from the automaker’s first electric pickup...

Ford F-150 Lightning: what to expect from the automaker’s first electric pickup truck

Ford is ready to unveil its subsequent main electrical car, the F-150 Lightning, at 9:30PM ET on Wednesday, Might nineteenth. However this isn’t simply one other EV occasion. An electrical model of the automaker’s iconic F-series pickup truck is a really huge deal for Ford, for the auto world, for automotive patrons, and even for the US financial system.

Ford could be very pleased with its F-series vans, and for good motive. It’s the bestselling truck within the US for 44 years. It’s additionally the bestselling car within the nation, interval. According to Edmunds, F-series vans are the most well-liked car in 30 out of fifty states within the US.

Meaning the F-Collection vans create an enormous windfall for Ford. The Detroit automaker netted round $42 billion in income in 2019 from almost 900,000 F-series truck gross sales within the US, in line with a Boston Consulting Group research commissioned by Ford — greater than most main firms and about 4 occasions as a lot as Tesla made in all of 2020.

The F-150 Lightning has already drawn the curiosity of President Joe Biden, who’s touring Ford’s Rouge Electrical Car Heart outdoors Dearborn, MI, and certain will get an early take a look at the truck forward of its debut Wednesday night. Biden will most likely use the corporate’s announcement to focus on his personal $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which incorporates billions of {dollars} for firms and shoppers of electrical automobiles. The president specifically is interested by cultivating home EV manufacturing, and the F-150 Lightning would supply the proper backdrop.

The F-150 Lightning has been within the works for over 4 years, with Ford first asserting its intention to fabricate an all-electric F-series in 2017. As such, some particulars have already began trickling out. Right here’s what we all know to date.


Ford has stated the F-150 Lightning shall be extra highly effective than some other F-series truck in its lineup. Meaning, at minimal, will probably be heftier than the 430-horsepower F-150 PowerBoost or the 450-horsepower Ford F-150 Raptor. Given the truth that it’s an electrical truck with near-instantaneous acceleration, it is going to additionally possible finest the 570ft-lb of torque generated by the hybrid F-150 PowerBoost.

We obtained a bit little bit of a demonstration in 2019, when a closely camouflaged F-150 Lightning was proven pulling 10 double-decker rail vehicles over 1,000 toes. It did it twice, as soon as when the rail vehicles had been empty and a second time with them loaded with 42 common, gas-burning F-150s. The latter stunt put all the load at 1.25 million kilos. That’s numerous towing capability.

In fact, Ford described the towing stunt as a “one-time quick occasion demonstration” and claims it’s “far past any manufacturing truck’s revealed capability.” Proper now, Tesla holds the report for pulling the heaviest load, when a Mannequin X towed a 287,000-pound Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner almost 1,000 toes on a taxiway on the Melbourne Airport in Australia final 12 months.

Towing makes use of battery energy, which in flip diminishes the car’s vary, so how Ford presents this data within the context of the F-150 Lightning’s battery capability shall be essential to observe. Ford hasn’t revealed how far the truck will journey on a single cost, although the space is predicted to be ample. And if it doesn’t sound prefer it’s sufficient to fulfill probably the most range-anxious amongst us, Ford just lately filed for a patent for a truck bed-mounted vary extender, so it seems like there shall be choices out there.

So far as acceleration, anticipate a 0–60mph time someplace within the three-second vary. Rivian, GMC, and Tesla have all quoted sub-four-second 0–60 accelerations. Given the character of electrical powertrains and their close to immediate torque, there’s no motive to assume the F-150 Lightning shall be any slower.

Regardless of the actual specs, Jessica Caldwell, director of insights at Edmunds, says Ford will possible attempt to use the electrical F-150 to show “you can nonetheless accomplish the whole lot you’d with an inner combustion engine [truck].” Ford has been fairly good at convincing truck patrons to get behind new concepts, she says, like utilizing aluminum our bodies or switching to the smaller, turbo-charged EcoBoost engine. “The truck market has been pretty open to embrace a few of these modifications that we thought would shock them,” she says.

Ford hasn’t introduced the sticker value but. Anticipate numerous consideration paid to the “complete value of possession” and the assertion that electrical automobiles, on common, require much less upkeep than their gas-powered counterparts. (This can even be an enormous deal for fleets and will enchantment to proponents of Biden’s plan to swap all 645,000 vehicles owned by the federal government with EVs.)

However even with rising new car prices, Caldwell says the sticker value will nonetheless matter. Truck patrons, she says, actually need to know “what am I going to get for my cash?”


If you happen to’re hoping for some loopy, outside-the-box design a la the Tesla Cybertruck, assume once more. That is Ford we’re speaking about, the 117-year-old firm that virtually invented boring, simply repeatable, mass-market automobiles. Legacy automakers are typically extra conservative in relation to design. We don’t anticipate the corporate to stray too removed from the weather that make its present F-series lineup so in style.

That stated, there shall be some distinctive design cues that assist differentiate the F-150 Lightning from its gas-powered siblings. Teaser pictures present an unbroken mild bar that runs the total width of the grille, headlight to headlight, in what seems like an upside U-shape. The grille itself can even look completely different by both partially or absolutely closing off the air flow, provided that EVs haven’t any combustion engine below the hood to chill.

The within of the F-150 Lightning is predicted to be completely filled with know-how. Very similar to the 2021 F-150, the electrical model will include an optionally available hands-free driving mode known as BlueCruise, be able to receiving over-the-air software program updates, and include wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Will probably be attention-grabbing to see how Ford balances the development towards an all-digital consumer expertise contained in the car with its prospects’ need for tactile controls. The 2021 F-150 comes with a 12-inch panorama touchscreen within the middle of the dashboard, whereas the Mustang Mach-E has an enormous 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen. Whether or not it’s horizontal or vertical, the F-150 Lightning’s infotainment system is prone to be leading edge by Ford’s requirements.

Will truck house owners go for an electrical F-150?

The US is a rustic of truck drivers. They’re equally in style amongst hard-hat wearers and Costco customers alike. Whereas EVs symbolize solely 2 p.c of the general automotive market, vans are a $90 billion-a-year trade.

Ford will finally go face to face in opposition to some probably heavy hitters like Tesla and Normal Motors, in addition to new gamers like Rivian, Lordstown, and Canoo. Although battery prices are likely to drive up the costs of electrical automobiles in comparison with their gas-powered equivalents, these prices are coming down and are anticipated to succeed in parity with gasoline vehicles within the close to future. For automakers, the larger the SUV or truck, the extra revenue they have an inclination to pocket.

Massive automobiles already account for almost all of the home auto market. Half the automobiles offered within the US in 2020 are SUVs and crossovers, and pickup vans captured a further 20 p.c of the market.

Whether or not prospects will go for an electrical F-150 stays to be seen. Over 1 / 4 of auto house owners polled say they might think about an electrical F-150 EV, whereas 45 p.c say they might not think about one, and 27 p.c are undecided, according to CarGurus. By comparability, 31 p.c stated they had been interested by a Tesla Cybertruck and 16 p.c would think about a Hummer EV. Amongst Ford truck house owners specifically, 39 p.c say they are going to most likely or positively personal an electrical truck within the subsequent ten years.

The pickup crowd will not be, historically, the greenest shopper demographic. However the F-150 Lightning has the potential to create a brand new class of “accidental environmentalists,” as described to The Wall Street Journal’s Christopher Mims by Matthew Kahn, a professor of economics on the College of Southern California. These are prospects who’re interested in demonstrations of off-road capabilities, towing capability, and gimmicky specs like “Crab stroll” or adjustable suspension. They don’t care as a lot about local weather change or carbon emissions however might be satisfied to modify from polluting vehicles to zero emissions if the value tag and the specs are proper.

The F-150 Lightning may have loads of competitors when it arrives at dealerships in 2022. Edmunds expects not less than six electrical pickup vans to make their debut this 12 months, together with the Cybertruck, Rivian R1T, GMC Hummer EV, and an electrical Chevy Silverado. Ford will say rather a lot concerning the loyalty of its prospects on the occasion on Wednesday, and to some extent they’ve the numbers to again that up.

However truck patrons have grown more and more fickle over time, with lower than half buying and selling of their present truck for one more rig from the identical model, in line with Edmunds. CarGurus agrees, noting that the share of brand-loyal truck patrons has been lower in half versus simply two years in the past.

Towards this backdrop of accelerating infidelity amongst truck house owners and heightened strain regulators and rivals, the Ford F-150 Lightning will make its debut. It’s actually in for a wild journey.

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