Ford F150 Electric (Lightning) is the most exciting launch in recent years

Remember the red Ford F-150 SVT Lightning featured in the original The Fast And The Furious movie (2001)? Ford’s bringing back the F-150 Lightning to the market, but this time the word Lightning resonates with electricity/electric power. That’s not to say that it’d forgo any of the nameplate’s performance. Ford offered the SVT Lightning variant in the ninth and tenth generations during the 1990s and early 2000s.

Ford plans to name the F-150 Electric due next year ‘Ford F-150 Lightning,’ as per a document accessed by caranddriver.com. The company hasn’t confirmed this speculation, though.

Here’s your most comprehensive look at the Ford F150 Lightning, the most exciting launch in recent history for the Blue Oval:

Design

The Ford F150 electric pickup truck will have a unique identity to stand out from the wide range of gas-powered Ford F-150 models while still recognizable as an F150. It will feature a noticeably different front fascia, expressing the eco-friendly and high-tech nature of its powertrain. Our exclusive rendering gives a fair idea of the look of the new electric pickup truck.

Ford F150 Electric rendering (Ford P702 BEV rendering) or Ford F150 Lightning
TopElectricSUV’s rendition of the Ford F150 electric vehicle based on the current design language and the official teaser. The electric model gets unique fenders, frunk, and light bar.

Key to its unique face will be the front light structure and grille design. Like the official teaser (below), the rendering shows an end-to-end LED light bar that forms a gate-like visual component. The main lights will be positioned in a vertical layout like on the ICE variant but in a more sophisticated and narrow assembly. A thin LED marker light could bifurcate the light assemblies.

The area between the front lights will have a closed-off parametric grille surface with a triangular jewel-like structure. The new electric pickup truck may feature a ‘shut’ air intake but the same bumper and fog lamp housing as the standard variant in the lower portion. Similarly, the brake lights’ LED arrangement could be specific to the EV variant.

Capability

Ford officials suggest that F-150 electric or the F-150 Lightning would be as capable as the ICE F-150, available in gasoline, diesel, and gasoline-electric hybrid variants.

We have an opportunity to have a real impact with that product. And the same thing for our F-150 pickup, which again when you think about being able to electric — fully electrified product like the F-150 provide the functionality and cargo carrying capacity and the other attributes of customers in these segments have come to demand. That’s where we’re going to see the opportunity have a real impact.

Bob Holycross, Vice President, Chief Sustainability, Environment and Safety, Ford (at the J.P. Morgan Global ESG Virtual Conference)

What’s unique about F-150 all-electric vehicle is its design purpose-built to do work. So it’s going to be authentically built for tough. And so when you think about what does that mean to customers, that means something. That’s got a longstanding heritage, it’s got a longstanding history. And people know what they get. That vehicle is going to show up and be able to do the work that you expect out of it.

Jim Baumbick Vice President, Enterprise Product Line Management, Ford (at Bank of America Global Automotive Summit)

Features & Specifications

Ford broke ground on the Ford F150 Electric plant in Dearborn and announced several new details in October 2020. The company is marketing the electric F150 as the most powerful F-150 yet.

In December, Ford released a short video of an F-150 electric pickup truck prototype enjoying the snow. The video showed a Ford F150 prototype drifting on the snow and showing off its off-roading capability along with a prototype of the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV.

The Ford F150 electric will feature dual motors that should generate more horsepower and torque than any Ford F-150 on sale today. The Blue Oval promises the fastest acceleration and the ability to tow heavy trailers for the new electric pickup truck.

In a conference call in February, James Farley, President, CEO, and Director, Ford, suggested that the F-150 Electric’s motors will be made in-house at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant.

So, we already announced insourcing plans for e-motors and e-axles. In fact, the whole differential and e-motors – I was at Van Dyke – for the F-150 are all in-sourced now. And we’re making e-motors and e-transaxles for the first time. That’s all in-house. We actually design our own inverter. But we’re having a supplier build it for us because we think they have more capability.

James Farley, President, CEO, and Director, Ford at Wolfe Research Global Auto, Auto Tech, and Mobility Conference

0-60 mph

In a Car And Driver test, the previous generation Ford F-150 (Limited trim) accelerated from 0-60 mph in just 5.1 seconds. Hence, the all-electric variant could do the same in five seconds or quicker. In another teaser video (below), Ford had shown a prototype climbing a 60% grade hill with ease. As for the towing capability, the Blue Oval had demonstrated a prototype towing 10 double-decker rail cars and 42 2019 F-150s, weighing more than a million pounds, in July 2019.

Video Source: youtube.com/Ford Motor Company

In addition to impressive performance parameters, Ford is pitching high practicality and affordability as facets of the electric F-150. The company says that it will feature a giant front trunk or ‘frunk,’ which will increase the cargo space significantly. The truck will support OTA updates that bring enhancements in various aspects conveniently. The less maintenance than a comparable gasoline pickup truck would help customers save more than 40% on the total cost of operation over its lifetime.

AVN system

The interior of the Ford F-150 electric should be the same as that of today’s truck for the most part. However, there is a big change in the dashboard.

Ford touchscreen infotainment
Image: Ford

The Ford F150 Electric (Ford F-150 EV) has been spied with a Mustang Mach-E-style portrait touchscreen infotainment system. Autoblog is carrying spy pictures of the upcoming electric pickup truck with this interior detail and says that the center stack screen could measure around 15.5 inches. It is possible that Ford has designed a floating display similar to that of the Mustang Mach-E for the F150 Electric. Running on SYNC 4, the infotainment system may include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 911 Assist, and connected vehicle services with FordPass.

ParameterFord F-150 Electric Specification (Super Crew, 6.5 ft. box)
Length243.5 inches
Width79.9 inches
Cab Height75.8 inches
Wheelbase157.2 inches
Acceleration (0-60 mph)≤ 5.0 seconds
Estimated specifications of the Ford F150 Electric pickup truck

BlueCruise & OTA

The Ford F150 electric will be capable of OTA updates, Farley said during the Q3 2020 earnings call conference on October 28, 2020. Farley added that its upcoming EVs, the F-150 electric and the Transit electric, will offer unique digital services. Ford is calling these models Fully Networked Vehicle, otherwise known as FNV.

Ford has not disclosed even an estimate of the Ford F-150 range, and the battery pack capacity and layout are under the wraps at the moment. Kumar Galhotra, Vice President and President, Ford (North America), has told fordauthority.com that the battery chemistry utilized for the Ford F-150 electric would be different from that of the Mustang Mach-E and Transit EVs. The company may use a skateboard configuration to house the battery pack and all other core components in the chassis. In that case, it may need to use underbody armor to protect them, especially during off-roading situations.

Ford F150 electric teaser or Ford F150 Lightning teaser
The electric Ford F-150 will feature a techy look at the front as hinted by this official teaser. It would become the most powerful F-150 on sale yet have the lowest TCO among F-Series trucks.

The Ford F150 electric should come with all the best features of the fourth-gen Ford F-150 that debuted in June last year. These will likely include Zone Lighting, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, SYNC 4 infotainment system with a 12-inch touchscreen, Intersection Assist, etc.

Ford is working on introducing BlueCruise, a SAE Level 2 autonomous driving assistant, in the F-150, and it is obvious that the company will offer it in the F-150 Electric or F-150 Lighting as well. It is similar to Tesla Autopilot but does not require the driver’s hands to stay in contact with the steering wheel at all times. It communicates with the driver through text and blue lighting cues in the instrument cluster, which means that the alerts are effective even for those with color blindness.

Initially, BlueCruise will be usable on more than 100,000 miles of roads in North America. In addition to the full-hands free mode, BlueCruise equipped vehicles will feature Lane Centering mode, and in the future, even Lane Change Assist and Predictive Speed Assist.

Manufacturing

The Blue Oval will make the Ford F-150 Electric at a new manufacturing plant – Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. “This zero-emission F-150 will be on the road two years from now,” Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford, said at the groundbreaking ceremony of this plant on September 17, 2020. Mass-production of the Ford F-150 electric is scheduled for mid-2022.

According to a report from thedetroitnews.com on March 25, construction of the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is complete, and it took Ford about eight months to accomplish it. The company plans to staff some 500 workers at the factory, spread out across 500,000 sq ft. Plant officials expect to begin transferring employees there later this year.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center that will manufacture the Ford F150 Electric
The Blue Oval will manufacture the Ford F-150 Electric at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Image: Ford

Ford plans to have a high-tech manufacturing setup for the F-150 electric, and one of the advanced processes in the production will include self-driving transport sleds. Gary Johnson, the company’s chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer, has told fordauthority.com that these autonomous sleds would transport the Ford F150 Electric’s bodies from one station to the next. The paintwork would happen alongside the ICE-powered Ford F-150 only, though.

Despite the technical details of the project shrouded in secrecy, customers seem excited already. “The F-150 electric is a lot of inbound interest from our loyal customers,” Farley said during the Q4 2020 earnings call.

Testing progress report

Thus far, Ford was testing its electric powertrain in a previous generation (thirteenth-gen) F-150 mule. Now, engineers have moved to work on an actual model that will enter series production next year. The latest test mules have the production body (borrowed from the fourteenth-gen Ford F-150) and production components integrated.

Ford Authority has posted spy shots of two different production Ford F150 Electric prototypes, showing EV-typical aerodynamic wheels and relatively skinny tires, and one with conventional wheels and off-roading tires. The latter had an independent coil spring rear suspension. Also noticeable in the spy photos is the spare tire mounted behind the rear motor on the axle. This is the version expected to make it into production.

Retail & Branding

In January, based on a recent NHTSA document, it was rumored that the Ford F150 Electric (codename: Ford P702 BEV) could be launched as the Ford E-150. However, Mike Levine, a Ford spokesperson, quickly quashed speculations by taking to Twitter the same day. The brand 2021 Ford E-150 could be reserved for a Ford Econoline van, he hinted.

Research indicates that familiarity matters a lot for electric pickup truck customers, and so, Ford would prefer a suffix on derivatives of the F-150 instead of replacing the brand.

The Ford F150 Electric might have the potential to become the best-selling electric pickup truck in the U.S., suggests the findings of a Cox Automotive research. According to the study, 60% of consumers find the F-150 Electric more appealing than the GMC Hummer EV, the Rivian R1T, and the Tesla Cybertruck.

Cox Automotive conducted an online survey of 155 prospective customers of pickup trucks, 60 of whom wanted to buy an electric pickup truck. 59% of the participants found the Ford F150 Electric the most attractive. 45% of the respondents said that they would consider this electric pickup truck over the other three once its details are out. You can read more about the study on coxautoinc.com.

Meanwhile, Carsdirect has reported that Ford dealers that wish to sell the brand’s upcoming EVs in the United States will have to pay to become eligible. As per a letter that the company sent its dealers, and Carsdirect accessed, the retailers have to invest USD 35,000 to get what Ford bills as the “next-generation” EV certification. The website does not list out what the investment is for, but it could cover the cost of installing the EV chargers and the workshop equipment to service electric vehicles.

Price

In the Q3 2020 earnings call conference, Farley said that the Transit and the F150 Electric would be positioned at accessible price points. He said that the productivity, capability, and cost of ownership would be very compelling for customers backed by what he terms an “unmatched dealer base” to provide service or great uptime for users.

Ford F150 Electric Release Date

The Ford F150 Electric (Ford F-150 EV) will be launched in the first quarter of 2022. That confirmation is coming straight from Ford, and it connotes that the Blue Oval could start taking orders in early 2022.

During a conference call to discuss Q4 2020 and full year 2020 results with J.P. Morgan Securities, Hau Thai-Tang, Chief Product Platform & Operations Officer, Ford, talked about its upcoming EV launches. Thai-Tang said that the e-Transit is “going to be launching in Q4 (2021).” “And then in Q1 of next year, it’ll be the F-150 BEV.” In September last year, the company had announced the production of the all-electric F-150 is scheduled to commence by mid-2022, meaning even early birds have to spend a few months waiting for delivery of their new truck.

On February 10, 2021, the US International Trade Commission imposed a 10-year ban on SK Innovation for the sale, production, and importation of EV batteries within the United States because of intellectual property theft from LG Chem. The U.S. ITC had allowed SK Innovation to import components for four years, though.

On April 11, 2021, the legal disputes between LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation came to an end. Both companies have agreed to withdraw all pending legal disputes in the USA and South Korea and a ten-year non-assertion. Moreover, as part of the settlement, SK Innovation will pay LG Energy Solution KRW 2 trillion, which converts to USD 1.8 billion.

LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation dropping their legal battles clear the road for the Ford F-150 electric and other future Ford EVs that employ SK Innovation’s battery packs.

No Ford Super Duty Electric

In November 2020, Ford confirmed no plans for a Ford Super Duty electric pickup truck in the current scenario when the market is at a nascent stage. In other words, a GMC Hummer EV rival is not something the Blue Oval is considering today.

“At the moment, we do not have any plans to go into heavy-duty with battery-electric vehicles,” Kumar Galhotra, President, Ford (Americas & International Markets Group), said during a fireside chat hosted by Credit Suisse to discuss the company’s Q3 2020 results on November 2, 2020. “Our goal is to build a profitable electric vehicle portfolio,” John Lawler, CFO, Ford, said during the same event, emphasizing that the learning from the F-150 EV would shape the contour of its future launches.

Meanwhile, arch-rival GM is going full-throttle developing its F-150 electric rival, so far referred to as the Chevrolet BET Truck project. The company has confirmed that this model will be the first-ever Chevrolet Silverado electric and can deliver a range of more than 400 miles (internal estimate). The company plans to manufacture it in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan (USA), and it is expected to launch around the time the F-150 EV is deployed (mid-2022).

Ford F150 Electric (Ford F150 Lightning) FAQs

What is the Ford F150 Electric release date?

Mid-2022 is when the Ford F150 Electric deliveries begin. The product launch is set for early 2022, Ford confirms.

Which pickups would be considered Ford F150 Electric rivals?

The Ford F-150 Electric will challenge the Chevrolet Silverado Electric that will offer a range of 400+ miles.

What is the estimated Ford F150 Electric price?

The price of the base Ford F150 Electric could fall between $55,000 and $60,000.

Featured image: Rendering of the Ford F-150 Lightning by TopElectricSUV