Dearborn — Ford Motor Co. revealed the electric F-150 Lightning in a livestreamed event from Ford World Headquarters on Wednesday night, marking a watershed moment for the Blue Oval’s electric effort as well as the auto industry as a whole as America’s best-selling vehicle goes electric.
In the seconds before the truck was revealed on stage, simulated lightning bolts flashed across enormous screens on the front of the blue-lit Glass House, with Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, United Auto Workers Vice President Gerald Kariem, F-150 Lightning Chief Engineer Linda Zhang, and Ford CEO Jim Farley on hand to debut the truck.
“There’s no doubt that this vehicle is powerful,” Bill Ford remarked, “but it’s also a preview of what’s to come from Ford.” “The electrification of America’s favourite car is a defining moment for our country, a watershed moment for our business, and personally, it’s quite rewarding for me.”
A pivotal moment has arrived.
Everyone agrees that the electrification of the Ford F-150 represents a watershed event for the auto industry as a whole, from Ford executives to industry analysts to policymakers.
EV sales currently account for fewer than 2% of new car sales in the United States. Given that the F-150 is America’s most popular truck, an electric version may be a game-changer in the market.
Ford sold 800,000 F-Series trucks and an estimated 556,000 F-150s last year, according to Edmunds.com data. Ford claims that its truck lineup generates more than $42 billion in annual revenue, which is more than some of the country’s top corporations.
Another thing that could help the electric truck gain traction is its comparatively low cost. The base model of the F-150 Lightning will cost $39,974, excluding destination costs and tax incentives for electric vehicle purchasers. Depending on the trim level and optional extras, the price ranges from $70,000 to $90,000.
The basic price of the gasoline-powered F-150 for 2021 is $28,940.
“With all of that, all of the features, all of that capability, all of that technology, a lot of people would assume this would be a six-figure trophy truck,” Farley added, to applause from the audience.
President Joe Biden’s visit to the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the vehicle will be constructed by UAW members, highlighted the significance of the F-150’s electrification this week.
“Everything that these workers, this historic complex, and this state represent, is something that I hope gets modelled around the country,” Biden said of the F-150 Lightning.
The president also got an opportunity to drive the F-150 Lightning during an unannounced trip at a testing track, which drew widespread attention on social media and national news outlets: “This sucker’s quick,” he told reporters.
The truck is part of Ford’s inaugural electric vehicle portfolio, which also comprises the Mustang Mach-E, which debuted late last year, and the Transit van’s upcoming electric version.
The F-150 Lightning will go on sale in mid-2022, with production set to begin next spring. The electric version will be constructed in the historic Rouge facility in Dearborn’s brand-new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. The plant is located next to the Dearborn Truck Plant, which assembles gasoline-powered and hybrid variants of the truck.
Despite its concerns about how the shift to electric vehicles will effect its members, the United Auto Workers (UAW) has expressed support for Ford’s plan to electrifying the F-150.
“Our members are extremely happy to be the workers whose dedication and hard work will develop this future car,” Kariem remarked on Wednesday. “Today’s investment is more than just a financial and technological one. There’s a lot more to it than that. It’s a bet on the UAW Ford workers’ and their families’ futures.”
Specifications and design of lightning
The electric truck has been positioned by Ford as a separate vehicle, but one that is founded in the traits that F-150 buyers cherish.
“The F-150 Lightning is a terrific illustration of how we’re conducting business today at Ford, leveraging electrification to make our cars even better,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of Americas and International Markets Group, in a press conference ahead of the unveiling.
The digital and technological aspects of the F-150 Lightning have been lauded by Ford. It will be equipped with a modem that will allow for wireless software upgrades, which Ford claims will help the vehicle improve over time.
“This isn’t just about putting an electric motor in a car,” Galhotra explained. “It’s about unlocking technology and features that our customers didn’t even realise they needed, and it’s about delivering an ecosystem of EV services to make the switch from gas to electric as smooth as possible,” says the company.
Ford claims the truck was designed after years of research on how F-150 owners utilise their vehicles. Customers demanded a dependable, work-capable truck, according to designers and engineers who participated in the study.
“In everything we did, we kept the aim in mind: ‘It has to be a truck first, and then we’ll use electricity to enhance the drive experience and capabilities,” said Jasen Turnbull, marketing manager for the F-150 Lightning.
Farley praised the truck’s powers, saying: “It tows and hauls like a beast. It’s almost as if it’s wearing a Superman cape and wielding a Captain America shield metaphorically.”
Farley, a well-known car aficionado who sometimes races in his spare time, said he and Bill Ford recently drove a prototype and were blown away: “I was utterly astounded. It’s nothing like any other pickup vehicle I’ve ever driven. The driving experience is exhilarating.”
The “frunk,” or front trunk, is one of the attractions, according to Ford. It is the largest in the industry. In a traditional car, the engine would be located where the storage room would be.
The bumper-height frunk on the Lightning has a payload capacity of 400 pounds, a volume of 400 litres, and a power output of 2.4 kilowatts. It has a drain and an underneath trashcan so that customers may hose it down if necessary. It has four power outlets and two USB charging ports.
The truck has two electric motors and an independent rear suspension system, which is a first for the F-Series.
In terms of performance, Ford claims the vehicle can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under four seconds and has 775 pound-feet of near-instantaneous torque, which is the most of any F-150 ever. When outfitted with the extended-range battery, the vehicle is capable of producing 563 horsepower.
“It reacts in a fraction of a second to your command, and with no gear changes and a low centre of gravity, it’s a really smooth and engaging drive experience,” said Darren Palmer, Ford’s North American general manager of battery electric vehicles.
The F-150 Lightning will be equipped with BlueCruise, Ford’s hands-free driving system for specified highways in the United States and Canada.
Meanwhile, the vehicle is equipped with a big lithium-ion battery pack with liquid cooling. Customers will be able to choose between two battery pack options: a conventional package with an estimated EPA range of 230 miles and an extended range package with a range of 300 miles.
The truck’s potential usage as a power generator is another highlight. In the event of a power outage, there is an option for 9.6 kilowatts of “intelligent backup power” that can be used to power a residence. If the truck is plugged in when the electricity goes off, the backup power will come on automatically. If the truck’s battery is fully charged, Ford claims it can offer complete house electricity for up to three days.
Lightning also improves the capability of the F-150’s Pro Power Onboard transportable generator. The lowest trims come with 2.4 kilowatts of power as standard, with the option to upgrade to 9.6 kilowatts, with 2.4 kilowatts available through the frunk and up to 7.2 kilowatts available through outlets in the trunk.
It also has a feature that will warn the user via their FordPass mobile app if the truck’s battery falls below one-third of its range, which is a reference to the battery range concern that some would-be EV purchasers have.
Customers will be able to monitor the battery level of their car updated in real-time thanks to an intelligent range function that considers weather, traffic, payload, and towing.
F-150 Lightning owners will have access to a nationwide network of over 63,000 charging stations. The extended-range version of the truck is expected to reach 54 miles of range in 10 minutes when charged with a 150-kilowatt DC fast charger.
The latest version of Ford’s SYNC 4 infotainment system, named SYNC 4A, will be available on higher trim levels of the truck, with a 15.5-inch touchscreen. The system provides cloud-connected navigation and wireless access to Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, integrated Amazon Alexa, and SYNC AppLink apps, as well as natural voice control.
A 12-inch instrument cluster with a customisable interface is also included in the truck.
Horizontal LED light strips that span the front and rear of the vehicle are available. The truck will also come with three new grille designs to give it a more aggressive appearance.
Lightning shares the same cab and bed proportions as the gas-powered F-150, as well as several of the same amenities, such as a flip-over centre console that can be used as a temporary work station.
“It has a lot of familiar elements,” said Kenny Moore, the truck’s exterior design manager. “It has a big interior, a standard-size back bed primed for hundreds of ready-to-go extras, fantastic visibility, and enough of legroom for five passengers.”
The vehicle will have a high-strength steel structure and the characteristic aluminium body and bed of the F-150.
The standard-range F-150 Lightning can carry up to 2,000 pounds of payload, and the XLT and Lariat trucks with the extended-range battery and an optional tow package can pull up to 10,000 pounds.
It has a terrain management system with four drive modes to choose from: regular, sport, off-road, and tow/haul.
The “Onboard Scales” feature estimates payload using the truck’s sensors. The function works in tandem with the intelligent range tool to assist drivers predict how far their trucks can travel on a single charge. The truck also comes with a trailer hitch assist technology that manages steering, throttle, and brake inputs automatically.
A function that, when triggered, allows consumers to lock, unlock, and start their truck without taking their phone out of their pocket or using a key fob is also being launched on the truck.
The Lightning will be offered in four models and offered at more than 2,300 Ford dealers across the country that are EV-certified.
www.ford.com/trucks/f150/f150-lightning/2022 accepts reservations beginning Wednesday night. Customers can book a truck with a $100 deposit.
A crowded field F-150 Lightning enters an EV truck slot that is rapidly filling up. It will compete with EVs from many startups, as well as the GMC Hummer, which is set to debut later this year.
Experts say Ford’s long-standing dominance in the truck sector may offer it an advantage over some of its competitors.
“While the F-150 Lightning is unlikely to account for a significant portion of F-Series sales at first, it is a major step forward for Ford,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of Edmunds.com’s insights, in a statement released ahead of the reveal. “This is a long-term strategic move that will help Ford preserve its sales supremacy in the dynamically evolving truck market.”