Update: ‘Stellantis and GM plan fully electrified heavy-duty trucks’ section updated with Barra’s Yahoo Finance interview.
If you were waiting for an announcement of the Ford F-250 Lightning or even the Ford F-350 Lightning, the news is that the Blue Oval has no plans to stick batteries in these Super Duty trucks. Electric Ford Trucks will be reserved for Light Duty, with the F-150 Lightning probably being the largest electric truck Ford plans to offer, at least in the near future.
Why the Ford F-250 Lightning & Ford F-350 Lightning are not planned
Speaking to analysts during the Q1 2022 earnings call, Ford president and CEO, Jim Farley, confirmed that the automaker would not be producing electric Super Duty trucks. Citing the customer usage of these trucks, Farley said that the company does not think an electric solution will be ideal given the excessive weight of the batteries. The battery of the F-150 Lightning weighs over 1,800 pounds, as revealed by a Ford official to American President Joe Biden during his factory visit in May 2021 (via Twitter). Keep in mind that the Ford F-250 comes in around 6,000 lbs while the Ford F-350 is closer to the 7,000 lbs mark.
So our vehicles, plural, will be really focused on Light Duty and the lower end of Super Duty for sure. But not 250s, 350s, 450s. That’s a whole different ball of wax. They require a lot of payload—heavy batteries, that doesn’t make sense.Jim Farley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ford during the Q1 2022 Earnings call on April 27, 2022, talking about Ford heavy duty electric trucks
These trucks are also sought after for their impressive towing capability: 19,000 lbs in the case of the F-250 and up to 32,500 lbs for the F-350 when equipped with the DRW (Dual Rear Wheel) option. The additional weight of a battery, which would at least have to offer 200+ kWh (the F-150 Lightning will offer battery sizes of up to 131 kWh), would no doubt compromise the capability of these trucks. Perhaps Ford would wait until the battery technology develops to a point where they would be powerful and light enough to suit bigger trucks. Solid-State batteries could make them a reality.
Stellantis and GM plan fully electrified heavy-duty trucks
Ford’s rivals seem to be tackling the Heavy Duty truck (trucks with gross vehicle weight rating exceeding 8,500 lbs) in a similar fashion. The current focus is on continuing with their internal combustion engines, but the hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles feature in the long-term plans.
During CES 2022, GM CEO Mary Barra said that the company planned on having electric heavy duty trucks by 2035 with a range fitting for “toughest jobs.” It is safe to assume that GM’s electric heavy duty trucks won’t come this decade. On May 2, 2022, Barra spoke about GM’s heavy duty trucks in an interview with Yahoo Finance. “We believe the solution for heavy duty vehicles and beyond in other applications for stationary power is fuel cells,” she said.
On March 1, 2022, Stellantis announced a roadmap for its FCEV (Hydrogen Fuel cell electric) products, which lists a heavy duty truck, but only post 2025. Ram could begin FCEV launches with a version of the Promaster in 2025 before moving to the truck. The company has not talked about a battery-electric heavy duty truck.
Ford commenced production of the F-150 Lightning at a plant in Dearborn, Michigan, on April 26, 2022, with shipping expected to start in the coming days. Farley announced during the earnings call that Ford will increase production of the Lightning to 150,000 units in the next year or so, up from the initial target of 40,000 units. It would still take more than a year to fulfill the 200,000+ reservations for the F-150 Lightning, but Farley was confident in Ford’s scalability, given they produce a million F-150s a year.
Featured Image: Ford