What are the two most important stories in today’s automotive world? Electrification and pickup trucks. The former represents a developing trend that’s going to disrupt and completely rearrange the industry. The second isn’t a news story, but it is the most popular product the industry has ever produced (at least in the US), a vehicle that has been called the most successful consumer product in history.
So far however, EVs and pickups have existed at two opposite poles of the automotive continuum. None of the attempts to produce a plug-in pickup has gained much traction as yet (although Workhorse, Bollinger and Rivian are worth watching), and even as the popularity of EVs has grown, sales of pickups have grown more. The unstoppable march of the noisy, exhaust-spewing giants has cancelled out all the reductions in air pollution that EVs have delivered, many times over.
When these two technological concepts finally meet, it will be like the coming together of matter and antimatter, a cosmic event with world-shattering consequences – at least for the automotive industry.
Recently there have been rumblings. Last October, Ford confirmed plans for a 2020 F-150 Hybrid, and in January, the company hinted at plans for an all-electric version of the F-Series pickup. Now an intrepid photographer has released some spy shots that show what appears to be a prototype of an electrified F-150.
“Although we were only able to get a single angle (due to where the vehicle was parked), we can easily confirm that this is an F-150 EV (*note that this is likely an early test bed for the electric powertrain, and the F-150 EV that comes to market will be significantly different),” Brian Williams told InsideEVs.
Ford’s electrification efforts vis a vis pickups remain top secret, so there’s no way to confirm what we’re seeing in these photos, but Williams is convinced that it’s a plug-in pickup: “First, we can see that the vehicle is plugged into a charger via a charging port located on the lower front portion of front bumper (we don’t believe this location will make it to production though). And second, we can clearly see that the body of the F-150 sits slightly higher due to batteries being located underneath the cab. There is an exhaust tip on the back of the truck, but we believe that it’s just a clever disguise to throw off the untrained eye.”