Pickups rule the US auto market, and the F-150 is the king of pickup trucks, so the fact that Ford is planning to release an electric version of America’s best-selling vehicle, which one marketing expert has called “the most successful consumer product in human history,” is a big deal.
Ford has announced that it will reveal the new EV on May 19 at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, in a livestreamed event. We’ll have to wait until then for the details—all we know so far is that the F-150 Lightning is going to have the capabilities we expect in a truck, plus the requisite EV-specific features, and that it’s going to be fast.
Ford says its new e-truck will have “the power, payload and towing capability that is the hallmark of all Built Ford Tough trucks.” It will also offer power export capability and over-the-air updates.
By reviving the Lightning name, Ford is signaling that this will be a performance vehicle, as it did when it put the revered Mustang badge on its Mach-E electric crossover. The original F-150 Lightning was a high-performance variant of the F-150 that was produced in limited quantities between 1993 and 1995, and again between 1999 and 2004. Surviving specimens are highly prized collectors’ items. Ford says the new, electric-powered Lightning is going to kick it up another notch.
“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.”
“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,” Farley added.
Production of the new F-150 Lightning is slated to begin next spring at the new Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.