The Ford F-150 Lightning pickup is officially coming to compete with Tesla.
We have been tracking interest in Ford's flagship electric pickup projects and have watched reservations and consumer interest pick up over the last year.
Now, it looks the pickup is finally ready to hit the road - and Elon Musk's Cybertruck, its most obvious competition, is still nowhere to be found.
Ford executives have said the new pickup is going to be worth the wait. Linda Zhang, chief engineer on the project, told Bloomberg: “We were dealing with a ton of skepticism internally. It couldn’t just be a battery on wheels. We wanted it to be a real American truck that does work.”
This meant Ford had to create features that "hand't been invented yet," Zhang said. The truck's "frunk", for example, can hold 400 pounds of cargo and is comprised of 14 cubic feet of space.
In selling an electric pickup, Ford is beginning to convert its extremely popular F-Series, which sells about 900,000 trucks a year, to electric.
“Does it keep us up at night? You betcha,” CEO Jim Farley told Bloomberg. “It’s America’s most popular vehicle, and there is no more trusted brand in our industry. It feels a lot like the Model A launch in 1928.”
While conducting research on electric vehicles with truck owners in Texas, Ford got mixed responses to the idea of an electric pickup.
Darren Palmer, vice president for Ford’s global EV programs, said during market research they asked Texans if EVs were a dog, which breed would they be?
Palmer recalls: “This huge, burly Texan scoffs and says, ‘It would be one of those little Chihuahuas.' Then we said, ‘OK, what kind of drink would it be?’ And he scoffs again and says, ‘Pink Champagne.’ ”
But Ford thinks it has gotten the Lightning right. The Lightning goes on sale in late April with a price that starts around $40,000.
Ford currently has nearly 200,000 reservations and has been "overwhelmed" by the demand for the truck. The automaker has had to quadruple capacity at the factory where they are making the truck.
In addition to the non-existent Cybertruck, the Lightning will be competing against Rivian's R1T truck and GMC's electric Hummer. They cost $80,000 and $112,595, respectively.