F-150 Lightning: Why Fords Future Hinges on This Electric Pickup Truck | WSJ

Ford has a lot riding on the electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck. WSJ’s Nora Eckert visited Ford’s Experience Center outside Detroit for an exclusive ride in the F-150 Lightning to see how the automaker aims to win over both early adopters and more of its gas pickup drivers.

So here you can punch it a bit more oh my gosh it feels like it is so responsive this is the new f-150 lightning an electric version affords iconic f-150 pickup truck the f-150 has been the best selling vehicle in america for about four decades and today facing increasing competition from both new and old rivals ford is looking to the f-150 lightning to stay ahead

Of the pack with so much riding on the success of the lightning i met the woman who spearheaded its development it is a really big risk in a way to electrify such an iconic vehicle despite fierce competition from other automakers the f-series has long dominated america’s truck market but according to ford many lightning buyers are new ford customers so the next

Challenge will be convincing its die hard pickup drivers to go electric to understand what’s at stake for one of the nation’s oldest automakers i took a test drive my myself oh my gosh accelerates so quickly i feel like this is too fun to be doing on a wednesday afternoon on the highway but this is a 1980 occurs the mountain with the best gas mileage and it’s

Built forward jump ford introduced its f-series trucks in 1948. since then there have been 14 generations of f-series the f-150 didn’t appear until 1975 as part of the sixth generation of f-series today american drivers continue to favor the f series over its competitors making the f-150 the most popular vehicle in the country earlier this year ford launched

Its first electric pickup the f-150 lightning this moment is every bit as important to this company and to this country is when the model t first started rolling off the assembly line one of the first things that stood out to me about the lightning is its appearance the design of the lightning is quite similar in a lot of ways to the original f-150 tell me

About the decision making around keeping that design sort of similar so when we were doing some early discussions with customers it became very clear to us that we really wanted to maintain that f-150 dna in a way from an appearance perspective one of the customers told us if my kid was going to go draw this truck it needs to look like a truck from the outside the

Lightning is roughly the same size shape and height as other crew cab 4x4s with a short cargo box particularly with the box it was something that we wanted to make sure that we kept literally identical to our gas truck to be able to again help that customer transition if they’re bringing accessories right over from their gas truck into an electric truck the inside

Of the lightning will also be familiar to f-series owners although the truck features some updated tech like the 15.5 inch display screen available on certain models it’s so quiet i forget that it’s on that’s one of the best things about the ev silence is golden in the race to develop their evs automakers had different visions ford prioritized speed by taking its

Existing gas powered f-150 and retrofitting it with battery power ford beat gm to market gm on the other hand focused on creating an all-new set of battery cells and motors that can be used as a base for future ev models gm says that building up its platform has taken more time but the company says laying this foundation will allow them to more quickly produce evs

In the future and your strategy is different from many of your competitors and that you started with the f-150 platform and work from there instead of building a new platform tell me about that decision making process the vehicle is actually completely ground up it’s an all new frame it’s an all-new battery all new motors all new rear suspensions so really in a

Way that underpinning of the vehicle is completely designed specifically for this electric truck what’s similar at least from an appearance perspective is the cab and the box of the truck but actually the inside the guts what makes it a truck is actually completely ground up since ford prioritized getting to market first the lightning beat most of its rivals when

It hit dealer lots this spring but competition is heating up gm silverado ev and tesla cyber truck are expected to be released next year in 2024 stalantis is planning to release its ram ev what is the 0 to 60 it’s as fast as any race car 0 to 60 in less than four seconds what were your range goals for the lightning and how did you meet them we talked to a lot of

Commercial customers early on and kind of found that 200 miles is a really good target for them for the retail customer the magic number was really around 300. the lightning comes with two battery options a standard range battery which can go about 240 miles or an extended range model which can travel up to 320 miles and can recharge in 41 minutes some of ford’s

Competitors are advertising future models with longer ranges than the lightning both the chevy silverado ev and the gmc sierra ev are expected to have a range of 400 miles tesla said its cyber truck will feature a range between 250 to 500 miles and rivien said their r1t will likely have a range between 260 to 400 miles ford said it wants to be selling 2 million

Evs around the globe each year by 2026 in august and september the lightning was one of the quickest ford models to move off dealer lots sitting on average for just eight days before being sold we had actually cut off our reservations last year at about 200 000 units so we’re working very quickly right now to get our capacity up to a running rate of 150 000 by the

End of next year although ford sales have outpaced its competitors in recent months the company has encountered supply chain challenges most recently ford experienced a shortage of its blue oval badges which has impacted the f-series line even though ford has taken an early lead in the ev race the veteran automaker is not getting comfortable and has its eye on the

Wave of competitors about to hit the market your crosstown rival gm has said if you fast forward a year in the ev race they’re going to be winning because they’ve spent more time on their platforms now where do you think ford stands in the long term ev race part of what we’ve tried to do is really take the best of both worlds from that truck and taking what already

Works and then adding to it some of the new elements for electrification i do think that we spent a really good amount of time in terms of thinking through how we can get to market fast we will also be learning this whole time with this truck out in terms of how to make the product even better for our customers so when our next generation comes out we’ll probably still be ahead

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F-150 Lightning: Why Ford’s Future Hinges on This Electric Pickup Truck | WSJ By Wall Street Journal