Ford has announced plans to make its iconic F-150 truck electric. At a press conference on Wednesday, Ford President, Jim Farley revealed the big news but left fans without detail. The F-150 has been the most popular truck in the United States for the last 40 years.
The truck is the core of Ford’s business, and it comes in a variety of versions. However, in recent years truck sales have been declined across the nation. Ford’s intention to make the typically fuel-guzzling vehicle into electric is likely part of a plan to get buyers back.
The truck will be tough for towing
Ford says their engineers have been working on ways for the truck to be as powerful if not more powerful than its fossil-fuel dependent colleagues.
The shift to electric was initially slow to reach the commercial and truck sector, but as more and more cities bring in emission sanctions the need for electric vehicles is on the rise. Ford will also move into more hybrid SUVs.
The American automaker shared details of the hybrid version of its new 2020 Explorer SUV during the Detroit auto show this week.
"We have learned a lot, and our bet going forward is different," Ford Executive Vice President Jim Farley said at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
"We think customers want to pay not just for the fuel efficiency and the carbon footprint of hybrid, they want performance."
Ford imagines F-150 as a giant generator
The planned electric F-150 won’t just save money on fuel, maintenance, and emissions. Ford says they also plan to design the truck so it can be used as a portable generator for construction sites.
"With the F-150 electric, you don't have to have an expensive generator on site now," he said.
"You can just plug your tools into your truck and that electric powertrain will run all the tools on the job site. Customers will pay for that because now they don't have to buy an expensive $10,000 generator."
Ford will test the market with its hybrid Explorer. While many SUV customers are skeptical of hybrids because their batteries are heavy and take up considerable weight, Ford has thought around these problems by designing a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery that fits into the Explorer's chassis below the second row of seats to save space. It has an impressive 500 miles per tank of gas.
"It gets great gas mileage and great range," he said.
"But it tows 5,000 pounds, it goes off-road, unlike our competitors. We want a hybrid, whether is it is in a pickup like F-150, or Explorer, to be built Ford tough. We want to bring that capability."