Ford has confirmed production plans are underway, a new “Built for America” ad campaign has been crafted, and we have a few new, vague details about the electric F-150.
The pure battery-powered F-150 would be in addition to the 2021 Ford F-150 hybrid that has been added to the lineup as part of the truck’s latest redesign. The best-selling truck will continue to be offered with a raft of available gasoline and diesel engines, as well.
New Plant for 2022 Ford F-150 Electric Pickup
Ford officials say they have broken ground on a new facility in the Rouge complex and will add 300 jobs to build the electric F-150 there, along with battery assembly for both the EV and the F-150 PowerBoost hybrid. The most advanced Ford plant to date, the new facility will use smart tools, collaborative robots, and autonomous guided vehicles, said Gary Johnson, chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer.
The Dearborn Truck Plant has already been retooled for the conventional 2021 Ford F-150, which is now in production. Trucks will start arriving in dealerships in November. This, along with the new EV plant, is part of the $700 million overall investment to update and expand the F-150 lineup. That includes retooling the Kansas City, Missouri, truck plant this fall—the other assembly plant that will make the redesigned F-150.
This is a big deal. Ford sells almost 900,000 F-Series pickup trucks a year- generating about $42 billion in revenue last year—and has led the segment in sales for decades.
Keeping Up With Tesla, Rivian and GMC
With news erupting about electric pickups from Tesla, Rivian, and crosstown rival General Motors, Ford broke its silence and said it would have an electric F-150 before 2022. That has since been pushed back to June 2022.
But that is presupposing the competition stays on schedule. Rivian initially hoped to be in production in December 2020 but that has been pushed to June 2021. The former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Illinois, that Rivian purchased is rolling drivable prototypes for testing off the line now, making its timeline seem plausible.
Tesla said it would release the single-motor, rear-drive Cybertruck in late 2021 with the dual-motor all-wheel-drive model and the tri-motor version to follow in late 2022. Tesla is notorious for delaying launch schedules so this timing could easily change.
GM has insisted, throughout the pandemic, that the Hummer is on schedule for sale in fall 2021. While other programs have been delayed, this was among the priorities and all efforts have been made to keep it on course.
Horsepower, Towing, Technology Boasts
We have received a few scant details from Ford about its forthcoming truck. The EV will be the most powerful F-150 to date, said Kumar Galhotra, President of Ford North America. The dual electric motors will deliver more horsepower and torque, provide the quickest acceleration, and be able to pull heavy loads, the company claims. But we don’t have the specs yet.
The F-150 will compete with the Cybertruck that uses Tesla’s “Raven” powertrain with a MotorTrend estimated 690 hp and 824 lb-ft of torque. Raven utilizes the largest Tesla Model 3 motor up front and a Tesla Model S performance motor on the rear axle, which Tesla says will make its steel truck go from 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds.
Rivian’s estimates for the top-of-the-line R1T are “up to 750 hp” and 829 lb-ft of torque, with motors on each wheel to catapult it to 60 in under 3.0 seconds.
Can Ford F-150 Compete With Tesla on Range?
Tesla has said the Cybertruck will vary from around 250 to 500 miles of range, depending on the battery chosen. Rivian estimates range from 230 to 400 miles with the top-of-the-line R1T.
Ford expects more 200 miles of range for its electric F-150, but how high that figure grows may be limited by the ability to package batteries in a modified version of the standard F-150’s frame. The electric truck will also act as a mobile generator that can power tools on the job site, gadgets on the campsite, and even help power the home if needed.
Pickup Owners Gotta Tow
The towing specification for most of these trucks have not been finalized, but Tesla says the Cybertruck should be able to tow a maximum of 14,000 pounds, while Rivian estimates the R1T will have a max towing capacity of 11,000 pounds. Max payload capacities for the Rivian and Tesla are a claimed 1,760 pounds and 3,350 pounds, respectively.
We expect the pure electric F-150 to at least match the hybrid half-ton pickup’s stated 12,000-pound-plus tow rating.
Ford executives promise the electric F-150 will debut new technology, be capable of receiving over-the-air updates, and feature a huge trunk in the front that can carry hundreds of pounds of gear.
The Rivian R1T is going to start at around $69,000. Tesla undercuts that massively, claiming the Cybertruck will start at $39,900, and go up to $69,900. GMC and Ford will likely price themselves closer to the Tesla.
Galhotra said the F-150 EV will cost less to operate; owners will see a 40 percent savings in maintenance costs compared with other F-Series over the lifetime of the vehicle.
“Simply put, this isn’t a gimmick. It’s a workhorse, not a showhorse destined for a shiny garage filled with four other luxury cars. It’s not for “never-nevers”—never tow, never haul—it’s for serious truck owners,” said Jim Farley, Ford chief operating officer and the man who will take over as CEO on Oct. 1.