Many believe the tipping point for EVs in the US will occur when a selection of electric pickup trucks hits the market. Now Ford, the prime purveyor of pickups, has announced that it is moving ahead with its plans to produce an electric version of the F-150, the nation’s bestselling vehicle.
The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford plans to build a new 500,000-square-foot, $700-million plant at its historic Rouge complex. The new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center will support battery assembly and production of the F-150 PowerBoost hybrid and fully electric F-150, and will add 300 jobs.
Ford Chief Manufacturing Officer Gary Johnson told reporters flexibility is the reason for a separate EV-building facility. “We will use the current body and paint shop” in conjunction with the new building. He declined to specify manufacturing capacity, saying that demand will drive production volume.
“The building—it’s going up,” Johnson said. “Expectation is we’ll have the building completed sometime next summer. We’ll start doing our early prototype builds as part of our launch plans.”
“The electric F-150, which is undergoing tens of thousands of hours of torture testing and targeting millions of simulated, laboratory and real-world test miles, will be more powerful than any F-150 available today,” Ford said.
“This is the truck that’s going to lead Ford and the entire industry into a new era,” said Ford’s incoming CEO Jim Farley. “Simply put, this isn’t a gimmick. It’s a workhorse, not a show horse destined for a shiny garage filled with four other luxury cars. It’s not for ‘never nevers’ (never tow, never haul) it’s for serious truck owners.”
Kumar Galhotra, President of Ford’s Americas & International Markets Group, told the press that the new EV will be for the “work customer.” “They want the ability to “seriously power a work site for their tools.” Ford’s e-pickup will have “a giant frunk,” and “bidirectional power transfer, so you can…use the power for powering your home or the work site.”
It will also be “the fastest F-150 ever” in terms of 0-60 time, and “the most powerful. With the battery and the electric motors, it will have most torque of any F-150 we’ve ever built, and the torque will be instantaneous,” said Galhotra. “It totally changes the driving dynamics.”
Ford has released a new video that shows the prototype electric F-150 indulging in some rollicking off-road activity, and sprinting up a 60% grade.
The electric F-150 is to start rolling off the production line in Dearborn in mid-2022.