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This week, Ford Motor Company released plans for an electric version of their classic F-150 pickup truck called Lightning.
The electric version of America’s best-selling vehicle will be unveiled on May 19th at the company’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ford CEO Jim Farling emphasized that this vehicle will “disrupt the status quo” on the same level as the Model T, Mustang, and Prius, and will be able to “power your home during an outage; it’s even quicker than the original F-150 Lightning performance truck; and it will constantly improve through over-the-air updates.” The truck will be available to purchase in 2022.
Why This Matters: Wood Mackenzie, an energy research and consulting firm, suggests that electric vehicles will make up 18 percent of new car sales by 2030. Pickups in particular are a growing market, especially because their consumers include large companies and governments. This pickup will be a work truck, used for heavy-duty hauling and towing, setting it apart from the Tesla Cybertruck or the GMC Hummer EV. “Others are aiming for lifestyle vehicles. Ours is designed and engineered for hard-working customers who want a truck to do a job,” Ford’s president of the Americas and international markets, Kumar Galhotra, told reporters.
A Known Quantity: Because Ford is updating an existing gas-powered car model rather than inventing a new sci-fi creation like the Cybertruck, experts think that mass consumers will be more amenable to making the switch. The Ford F-series is familiar, having been the top-selling American truck for 44 years.
For Americans who are still apprehensive about making the switch to EVs, seeing an electrified model of a car they’re familiar with can help assuage their fears. As the Wall Street Journal put it, the roll out of pickup trick EVs can help create a lot of “accidental environmentalists.”
Putting Pedal to the Metal on Electric Trucks: Ford is putting a lot of muscle behind the F-150 — the company plans to add 300 jobs and invest $700 million at its Dearborn Truck Plant near Detroit to produce the vehicles as well redesigned versions of the current F-150, including both fully electric and hybrid models.
The company suggested that the truck will have more horsepower and torque than the gas-powered F-150s, and will accelerate more quickly. The F-150 can also serve as a power source; according to a release, “Ford will debut new technology on the electric F-150 that allows mobile power generation so customers can use their trucks as a power source for places from campsites to job sites when needed.”
Ford’s competitors, like Rivian and Tesla, also boast high towing capacities and quick accelerations for their respective trucks. Rivian claims up to 11,000 pounds of towing capacity and zero-to-60 seconds acceleration under 3 seconds for its R1T truck, while Tesla claims over 14,000 pounds of towing capacity from the most powerful version of its Cybertruck.
But brand and model familiarity may put Ford ahead of the rest — Kumar Galhotra, said that the design is an “evolution,” but will still “capture the DNA of the F-150.”
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