Only the President of the United States gets advanced information from Ford Motor Company about a product launch. Yesterday, President Biden toured the Ford Rouge Vehicle Center and saw generations of Ford F-Series pickup trucks including the soon-to-be-revealed F-150 Lightning.
The F-150 Lightning is set to be revealed live tonight on Ford’s social media network. Here’s where to watch the reveal tonight, May 19 at 9:30 p.m.
Some quick information we can glean from Biden’s trip to Dearborn yesterday showed us a tiny bit of the all-electric F-150. We saw a closed off grille, which is to be expected for an EV. Also the front lights are different a long horizontal light connecting the two sides. Ford already teased this as well (see below).
President Biden, with Secret Service in the passenger seat, took the F-150 Lightning on a quick jaunt and at launch he proclaimed: “This sucker’s fast.” He estimated that it seemed to go 0-60 in around 4.4 seconds. Ford’s PR team wouldn’t confirm that until tonight’s launch.
What We Know About the F-150 Lightning
It will be assembled in the United States at the all-new Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. It’s believed it will come out next year, as a 2023 model year.
The F-150 Lightning will be Ford’s first-ever all-electric truck.
“Every so often, a new vehicle comes along that disrupts the status quo and changes the game … Model T, Mustang, Prius, Model 3. Now comes the F-150 Lightning,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. “America’s favorite vehicle for nearly half a century is going digital and fully electric. F-150 Lightning can 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.”
Added Farley: “The truck of the future will be built with quality and a commitment to sustainability by Ford-UAW workers at the Ford Rouge Complex -- the cathedral of American manufacturing and our most advanced plant.”
There’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding this all-too-important truck. Farley already alluded to the truck having the 720 kW Pro-OnBoard Generator that’s found in the hybrid F-150 when he said it could “power your home during an outage.”
We already know the PowerBoost F-150 has that capability, so it sounds like it will translate over to the F-150 Lightning too.
Also, the F-150 will have its own platform, rather than sharing the F-150 one. This will allow it to have true EV characteristics, rather than being just a swapped out F-150. The F-150 Lightning will have a dual-motor so that will mean all-wheel drive is standard. Having a true electric-specific platform for the Lightning is a big deal.
Four Things We Hope To See From the F-150 Lightning
• Range over 500+ miles. Trucks get driven a lot. A big, hefty truck like this will need a lot of range. The 300+ range of the extended range Mustang Mach-E won’t be enough for most truck owners.
• Insane towing numbers. Ford teased last year the then-unnamed EV F-150 pulling one million pounds worth of F-150s on a freight chain. While this was a publicity stunt it showed that you can expect unbelievable towing ability from the F-150. Likely, best-ever offered towing range from an F-150.
Now just how much the towing and payload impacts the range will be something I’m paying close attention too. What good is long range and a lot of towing if it drains down the battery quickly.
• Two-door iteration. All spy shots have only shown a four-door version, but I hope to hear that, at least in the future a two-door version will be available as a work-like truck to help foremen and those type of businesses that rely on F-150. The regular consumer will want the four-door version, but I hope Ford doesn’t forget the working class with the F-150 Lightning.
• Affordable price. Affordable is a subjective term, but with GM announcing the all-electric Hummer at a six-figure pricepoint, it would be a major mistake for Ford to make the F-150 Lightning super expensive. If the price doesn’t stay under $60,000, I’m afraid this will keep it from having mass consumer appeal.
Related story: Ford partners with Amazon Alexa for more technology in F-150.
We will have more on the F-150 Lighting right here at Torque News. I’ll be planted in front of my computer for the reveal.
Whether you like EVs or not, this is an exciting time and a monumental moment for Ford Motor Company. The F-150 is the company’s biggest asset and cash cow. Showing dedication to electrifying a vehicle that sells so well is a gamble, but also shows Ford’s commitment to an electrified future as the competition heats up for EVs and and even EV trucks.
President Biden said it best: “The future of the auto industry is electric, there’s no turning back.”
This is the thing that rubs so many the wrong way. All we’ve known is the internal combustion engine. We love it. We are comfortable with it, even with rising gas prices. So the gripes and complaints about an EV are mostly a fear of change more than anything.
If, and that’s a big if, Ford can get it right with the F-150 Lightning, then it can really win over a very uncertain consumer. We will know more after 9:30 tonight how that will go. I for one can’t wait.
What are your thoughts on the F-150 Lightning? Will you be tuning in tonight? Leave me your comments below.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.