On the outside, the electric version of Ford’s F-150 pickup resembles its wildly popular gas-powered version. Yet equality is deceiving. With its new battery-powered truck, Ford is making an expensive bet that buyers will adopt a vehicle that will help change the way the world drives.
The F-150 Lightning-branded, pickup will be able to travel up to 300 miles per battery charge, thanks to a frame designed to safely hold a huge lithium-ion battery that can power your home if electric. Go away. It will take just 4.5 seconds to go from zero to 60 mph (97 kilometers per hour).
With a starting price near $ 40,000 (before options), Ford has calculated that an electric version of America’s best-selling vehicle will appeal to buyers who favor a pricey pickup truck for strength and durability . If it succeeds, it could reverse the country’s transition to petroleum burners – the cornerstone of President Joe Biden’s broader effort to fight climate change.
“This is an important moment for me,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said of the electric truck, which was formally unveiled on Wednesday night. “This is a very important transition for our industry.”
To put the Biden administration on its thrust for green energy-driven manufacturing, it would need to overcome resistance as well as skepticism. Critics fear that the shift away from gasoline-powered vehicles will lead to auto industry jobs.
Because EVs are so simple, it takes fewer employees to make them. And bottleneck supply chains could reduce vehicle manufacturers with computer chips and vehicle batteries, as well as other parts, for months and perhaps years.
That said, a vehicle like Lightning is so important to Biden’s policies that even before its formal unveiling, he visited the Ford plant in Michigan, where it would be built early next year. The President also drove the truck on the test track.
“It’s sucker quick,” he announced.
For its part, Ford is taking a significant risk by dipping so much capital into the electric version of a pickup that commands a huge and loyal follower. In a typical year, Ford sells about 900,000 F-Series trucks nationally. It has been America’s best-selling car for nearly four decades.
Gas-powered F-150s are staples at job sites around the country, where employees bring equipment and materials and often do not see the need for change. So it may take several years for Ford to realize a return on its investment in the Electric F-150. This year, through April, the company has sold just 10,000 of its new gas-electric hybrid F-150s – more than 6% of the F-150’s total sales.
Ford said that by Thursday morning 20,000 people had collected $ 100 to order new trucks.
Still, offering a capable electric truck at a fairly reasonable price could be a potential success, said Evan Drury, a senior manager at Edmunds.com that draws many more people to battery-powered vehicles.
“If you’re going to pick a vehicle in the industry that’s going to do it, it’s going to be the same,” Durie said. “I hope it will be a home run, and I hope it really changes the minds of a lot of consumers.”
Also, the electric truck, scheduled to arrive in showrooms by the middle of next year, comes at a time when American drivers are reluctant to shut down gas vehicles. During April, automakers sold approximately 108,000 fully electric vehicles in the US, although this is almost double the same period last year, according to Edmunds, EVs still account for only 2% of US vehicle sales.
In addition to Lightning, however, a growing number of fully electric offerings will help increase sales numbers. The automaker is now in the U.S. Sells 18 electric models; Drew expects to have 30 by the end of the year.
To be sure, Ford will not stop manufacturing gas-powered trucks for years. They remain a huge cash cow. A Boston Consulting Group study found that the annual U.S. for F-Series automaker Produces $ 42 billion in revenue – more than entire companies like McDonald’s, Nike or Netflix.
Initially, Ford expects Lightning customers to be primarily high-income urban and suburban residents who rarely hit the road or use truck beds to haul anything heavy. But the company is planning a business version designed to make the work more efficient. Ultimately, Farley expects the sale to be equally balanced between work and individual buyers.
But Ford may have difficulty selling it to people who build homes, maintain lawns or run snow plows.
“It sounds good, but it’s not good for my type of business,” said Jimmy Williams, owner of a landscaping firm in Chicago’s South Side. They do not think the battery will have enough range to last for 12–14 hours, with their crew sometimes tasked with maintaining about 700 properties.