Next-gen 2026 Ford Electric Truck (Ford T3): What we know

  • To be smaller than the F-150 Lightning and use a different platform
  • To be made at the BlueOval Electric Vehicle Center in Stanton, Tennessee, from 2026
  • Expected to start at around USD 50,000 when it hits U.S. dealers
  • Indicated to deliver an EPA-est. range of more than 400 miles

Update (May 28, 2024): ‘Production & Release Date’ section revised.

The F-150 Lightning went on sale in May 2022, and now Ford, more specifically the Ford Model e division, is already busy developing an all-new electric truck for the U.S. Codenamed ‘Ford Project T3,’ the new electric truck will debut within two years. Here’s everything we know about the Ford T3 electric truck so far:

A Ford F-100 or F-200?

At the F-150 Lightning Launch SOP (Start Of Production) event on April 26, 2022, Ford CEO Jim Farley Jr. hinted that the new Ford electric truck isn’t the next-gen F-150 Lightning as previously rumored. Below is what he said:

We’re not gonna stop with this (F-150 Lightning) beautiful truck. We will produce 600,000 EVs a year by the end of next year. I wish we could bring you all down there, but we’re already pushing dirt down in Blue Oval City in Tennessee for another electric pickup truck that’s different than this one (F-150 Lightning). So, we’re gonna be ready for 2 million electric vehicles four years from now.

Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford (F-150 Lightning production launch on April 26, 2022)

“Gen 2 all-new full-size pickup truck”

Farley Jr. subsequently ruled out introducing a Ford F-250 or F-350 Lightning due to the payload demands and the battery pack requirements for a super-duty truck. Based on these hints, we believe the electric truck to be made in Tennessee will be smaller than the F-150 Lightning. On October 26, 2023, during the Q3 2023 earnings call, Farley Jr., Ford’s “Gen 2 all-new full-size pickup truck” is among the most thrilling vehicles he has seen.

He said the next-gen full-size pickup truck will offer stunning performance, unexpected innovation, and a lounge or small office-like “super flexible cabin.” He even said he’d pick it over the Tesla Cybertruck any day of the week, indicating it’ll be just as great of a comfortable family commuter or adventurous leisure vehicle as a capable workhorse.

Next-gen Lightning

On August 28, 2023, Ford applied for a trademark application for ‘F-200’ at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This development has led to media speculation that ‘Ford F-200 Lightning’ is the company’s upcoming electric pickup truck.

Regardless of which number Ford finalizes for the Project T3 pickup truck’s name, we think the company will certainly use the Lightning suffix. During the Q3 2023 earnings call, Farley Jr. referred to the upcoming model as the next-gen Lightning model:

Our products are not substitutional, because the customers we’re going after are different. But they are the same segment. So we know the use cycle really well, but the innovation will be pointed at different things. The F-150, I think, is probably the best example at Ford. Because we have world-class ICE. We have a hybrid that will probably be 20% mix. And then we have Lightning and the next generation Lightning that we’re working on right now.

Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford (Q3 2023 earnings call on October 26, 2023)

Design & Features

Ford Project T3
The Ford Project T3 should have a bold design that’s substantially different from all other Ford trucks. Image Source: Ford

The Ford T3 would have a futuristic design but not as unconventional as the Cybertruck. It’ll be sleeker and more aerodynamic than the F-150 Lightning, with a smooth silhouette and better drag-reducing measures. It’ll be a dual-cab model, which is usually the case with most electric pickup trucks.

The teaser below indicates that the Ford T3 will have an aggressively raked windshield. That would allow a smoother airflow over the body, leading to reduced energy consumption and, thus, increased range. Low aerodynamic drag also reduces vibration and wind noise, allowing the driver and passengers to enjoy a smooth journey.

Referring to the Ford T3 electric truck at the F-150 Lightning SOP event in 2022, Farley Jr. told YouTube channel Miss GoElectric‘s Laycee Schmidtke that it will have a very radical design and feature active (deployable) aero tech. The EV expert revealed this during an InsideEVs US podcast (watch on YouTube) on April 29, 2022.

Trust me when I tell you, it will be like no other truck you’ve ever seen or driven it’s going to be fast and quiet and yes it’ll be smooth as Tennessee whiskey.

Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford (BlueOval City progress announcement on March 24, 2023)

The next-gen Ford electric truck will be a highly digital model, Farley Jr. suggested during the announcement. He said that the Ford T3 will be a fully software-updatable vehicle. Ford plans to give this model frequent software updates. In addition to regular software improvements, the company has promised towing, power offloading, and many innovations for the second electric truck.

We’re going to send software to it every week, every month, every year to make your truck better and we will start at home. It’s going to feel comfortable at the job site, is going to be able to tow and haul but it also have exportable power much more than today. It’ll have endless innovation that’s going to make it easier to get work done easier and faster.

Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford (BlueOval City progress announcement on March 24, 2023)
Ford Project T3 steering wheel
The Ford T3 would support hands-free driving in the U.S. and Canada. Image Source: YouTube/Ford

The Ford T3 would allow autonomous driving on hundreds of thousands of compatible roads in the U.S. and Canada. The F-150 Lightning is already capable of that on more than 130,000 miles of divided roads in North America, and the next model will likely build on that.

We have the ambition with this truck that on a sunny day on the highway you’ll be able to take your eyes off the road you know drive safely for you so you could do more work and you get time back every day when you buy this truck.

Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford (BlueOval City progress announcement on March 24, 2023)

More efficiency

Speaking to Schmidtke, Farley Jr. also said that there would be a 100-mile difference in the range of the Ford T3 electric truck, and it’s safe to assume he meant a positive difference. The F-150 Lightning delivers an EPA-est. range of up to 320 miles, which means the next-gen electric truck’s max. EPA-est. range could be around 420 miles.

At the Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, Farley Jr. had more to say about how Ford plans to make its second-gen EVs more efficient. He pointed out how gains could be made by improving the braking system and the aerodynamics of the vehicle:

Every watt, every amp matters. Just on a full-size truck — an optimized full-size truck for aero — versus let’s a Lightning, is 75 miles of range. That’s USD 3,000 in battery. The aerodynamics and other brake systems that are more expensive but recapture more efficiently (and) the reengineering for the vehicle to minimize the size of the battery since it’s so expensive is gonna be a game-changer for the vehicle.

Jim Farley Jr., President and CEO, Ford (Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference on June 1, 2022)

New platform

In an interview in December 2021, Farley Jr. told Automotive News that Ford will build a vehicle that isn’t available today on a brand-new, full-size truck platform at BlueOval City. Speaking to Bernstein Senior Analyst Toni Sacconaghi at the Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference on June 1, 2022, Farley Jr. said that Ford is in the final engineering of its advanced electric architectures.

Ford F-150 Lightning chassis
The BEV-exclusive TE1 platform should be superior in every aspect compared to the present F-150 Lightning riding on the gasoline model’s modified frame (pictured). Image: Twitter/Mike Levine

In a conversation with YouTube channel State Of Charge’s Tom Moloughney, Farley said that Ford has finished designing its second EV platform. The company is following the footsteps of Tesla and Apple to move development as much as possible in-house, he added. For example, it will build the electric architecture and all the software controls of the T3 instead of delegating work to suppliers. Farley ended the conversation by stating that the T3 will be a fully software-updateable vehicle, emphasizing the fact that customers will be able to change a lot more than just the in-cabin electronics.

Where the F-150 Lightning uses a modified version of the gasoline F-150’s chassis, Ford has two platforms that it will launch exclusively for electric vehicles. A smaller ‘GE2 platform’ will underpin cars and crossovers (including a second-gen Mustang Mach-E) and a ‘TE1 platform’ for trucks will form the basis for the Ford T3 electric truck.

Electric “two- and three-row SUVs for families around the world like (Ford) Explorer (EV) and Lincoln Aviator (EV)” will also be accommodated on this RWD/AWD BEV platform, Hau Thai-Tang, former chief industrial platform officer, Ford, confirmed in 2021.

“Incredibly high-volume model”

Ford Blue Oval City Tennessee
Production of the Ford T3 electric truck will take place at the upcoming BlueOval City in Memphis (Tennessee), USA. Image Source: Ford

In the aforementioned interview with Automotive News, Farley Jr. said that Ford thinks that it’s going to be an “incredibly high volume” model. On September 27, 2021, Ford had confirmed that the production of the next-generation electric F-Series pickups at BlueOval City will start in 2025 (subsequently pushed to 2026). The EV we are talking about in this story will likely be the first model.

BlueOval City will be a 3,600-acre campus consisting of a vehicle assembly plant, a battery production plant, and a supplier park. The same day Ford announced it (September 27, 2021), the Tennessee government revealed in a related announcement that the company will build it on the Memphis Regional Megasite.

On September 23, 2022, Ford announced that it had broken ground at BlueOval City and is on track to open what will be its largest, most advanced auto production complex to date. Covering nearly six square miles, the new manufacturing facility will create about 6,000 new jobs when the company begins operations in 2026.

On April 4, 2024, Ford offered updates on the construction at the site. Alongside the paint shop and vehicle assembly equipment, installation is progressing for nearly 4,000 tons of stamping machinery, it said. This equipment will be used to create the sheet metal stampings essential for Ford’s upcoming all-new electric truck.

Ford IonBoost+ battery

Ford will develop ‘IonBoost’ lithium-ion batteries consisting of unique pouch cells with special chemistry, Farley Jr. said at the 2021 Capital Markets Day event on May 26, 2021. These batteries will have Ford’s own battery control algorithm, and be suitable for larger vehicles, including trucks and SUVs. ‘IonBoost+’ will be the name of Ford’s next-gen battery technology, Thai-Tang said at the same event.

The company believes that IonBoost+ delivers the highest energy density of any cell of its type, he added. IonBoost has an NMC chemistry for the cathode, with Nickel accounting for 88% of the content. IonBoost and IonBoost+ are one and the same thing, but the latter is the official name.

This cell chemistry (IonBoost+), coupled with Ford’s proprietary battery control algorithm featuring high accuracy sensing technology, delivers higher efficiency and range for customers. Our pouch cell format is unique and ideal for powering larger vehicles and performance products.

Hau Thai-Tang, former chief industrial platform officer, Ford (2021 Capital Markets Day on May 26, 2021)

Ford will also develop IonBoost Pro batteries consisting of cheaper lithium iron phosphate cells.

Upgraded charging

The Ford T3 should support DC fast-charging at much higher rates than the F-150 Lightning. The latter can accept direct current at up to 120 kW (98 kWh battery pack)/155 kW (131 kWh battery pack) and takes about 36 minutes (98 kWh battery pack)/41 minutes (131 kWh battery pack) for a 15-80% charging session using a 150 kW+ DC fast charger. For the T3, Ford could be targeting much lower DC fast-charging times of less than 30 minutes.

The T3 will almost certainly come with Plug & Charge compatibility. At supported charging stations, like those of Electrify America, customers won’t need to pull out their credit cards or smartphones to pay. The payment is automatic, as the charging station will be able to communicate with the EV and bill the owner accordingly through their registered account. The charging session will start as soon as they connect the cord from the charging station to their EV.

As an added bonus, the T3 electric truck will have the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector built-in and thus support charging at 15,000+ Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. V3, the latest version of Tesla’s Superchargers, can deliver direct current at up to 250 kW.

Production & Release Date

Ford has said that it will start making the Project T3 at the BlueOval City vehicle assembly plant in 2026, and that this production site will have an annual capacity of 500,000 EV trucks. On May 22, 2023, at its annual capital markets day event, Doug Field, Chief Advanced Product Development and Technology Officer, Ford Model e, Ford, suggested that it will be available in fewer configurations compared to current Ford trucks, and that it would improve constantly improving.

The project T3 stands for ‘trust the truck.’ This is a truck people can trust not only to do work, but they can trust it in the digital age. It’s fully updateable. It’ll be constantly improving, rapidly learning from the moment it starts down the assembly line when its computer is alive and communicating with the factory until years after it’s been a part of a customer’s life.

Doug Field, Chief Advanced Product Development and Technology Officer, Ford Model e, Ford (Ford Capital Markets Day 2023 on May 22, 2023)

Cheaper than the F-150 Lightning

Speaking to Schmidtke in April 2022 and then to Sacconaghi in June 2022, Farley Jr. gave indications that the next-gen Ford T3 will be more affordable than the F-150 Lightning.

First, Farley Jr. told Schmidtke that there would be a USD 7,000 difference between the price of the future electric truck and the F-150 Lightning. Then, while speaking to Sacconaghi, he explained at length how Ford wants its next-gen EVs to be less expensive, indicating that the USD 7,000 difference would mean lower pricing for the future model. The new Ford electric truck could become the company’s new ~USD 50,000 model.

Ford will likely introduce a new distribution model by the time it launches the next-gen electric truck. At the Bernstein 38th Annual Strategic Decisions Conference, Farley Jr. said that the company’s current distribution model is USD 2,000/unit more expensive than Tesla. It’s possible that the company looking at a direct sales channel for its next-gen EVs, and may also stop public advertisements to save cost.

2026 Ford electric truck (Ford T3) FAQs

What is the release date of the Ford T3 electric truck?

The next-gen Ford Lightining electric truck will now begin shipping to customers in 2026.

What is the expected price of the Ford T3 electric truck?

We expect the Ford T3 to be priced in the USD 50,000-70,000 range.

What would the Ford T3 compete with?

Chevy Silverado EV & Scout truck are the competitors.