Watch the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup release here

Ford’s electric pickup is ready to launch, and no model has been as important for EVs

Ford F-150 Lightning
(Image credit: Ford)

The Ford F-150 EV is set to launch tonight and, when it does, motoring in the US will change forever. This sounds like the kind of big statement you’d expect in Ford’s marketing materials, but I believe it’s true for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the Ford F-150 is not just the best-selling truck in the US, it’s the best-selling vehicle, full stop. According to Car and Driver, in 2020 it sold 787,422 units – 200,000 more than its closest rival, the Chevrolet Silverado (also a pickup). Interestingly, it's only second place globally, too. So, when a vehicle that sells such huge numbers goes electric – or at least, offers an electric version – it’s going to be a big thing.

Secondly, it’s a pickup. This is the vehicle of choice for farmers, construction workers, boat owners, tailgaters and pretty much anyone who lives outside of a big city. It’s not generally considered to be the choice of those worried about the environment. So while getting owners of small economic sedans to buy an electric is a natural step, an electric pickup is a change of mindset. 

And yes, it will be competing with the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck and Hummer EV pickup but neither are likely to sell in the same kind of numbers as the Ford. 

You can watch the live reveal of the Ford F-150 on the video below, starting May 19 at 8.30pm CT /6.30pm PT / 9.30pm ET / 2.30am BST (20th) / 11.30am ACT (20th).

Watch the Ford F-150 Lightning reveal

Ford F-150 Lightning

The Ford F-150 EV will use the Lightning brand name

(Image credit: Ford)

Ford drivers aren't going to be buying the EV version just because it’s electric (not most of them anyway). They will buy it if it offers a saving on gas prices, lots of torque, all the latest tech and, of course, a decent price. If the F-150 can do all this, it will be huge, and from what we know so far, it will.

The new Ford F-150 Lightning gets its full release next week but there have been drips of information that have surfaced over the last few years. Most recently is its name. Lightning is a name that has been used on Ford trucks before (back in the early 90s) but does seem fitting for an EV.

We also know that this truck will have some serious torque. Back in 2019 a prototype F-150 electric was shown towing over one million pounds of freight train. Obviously, this is well beyond what the recommended towing capacity will be but demonstrates one of the big advantages of an electric engine – and one that is likely to appeal to the pickup audience.

Ford F-150 Lightning

The prototype F-150 EV – the new model is likely to look a bit different though

(Image credit: Ford)

It is also due to have the most horsepower and fastest acceleration of any Ford F-150, which means it will be more than 450hp with less than a 5 second 0-60 time. With all-wheel drive, there will be two electric motors delivering the power. And based on what we’ve seen in the Mustang Mach-E, the range will be over 300 miles.

Like Tesla, Ford plans to deliver updates to the F150 Lightning (and its other EVS) over the air. The Ford Power-UP software updates will allow for regular vehicle enhancements. This includes BlueCruise hands-free highway driving technology, which is level 2 automation for Hands-Free Blue Zones that will cover more than 100,000 miles of roads across the US. It also uses an infra-red sensor on the steering wheel to ensure the driver's eyes stay on the road.  

Though the Ford Lightning is being launched this week, it won’t go on sale until Spring 2022. Price is another unknown right now but I expect that it will come in similar to some of the more premium F-150 models currently on sale, so roughly $60k to 70k (roughly £43-45k/AU$77-90k). However, I’d love to see one come in closer to the entry price of $29k (£21k/AU$37k).

Mat Gallagher

As T3's Editor-in-Chief, Mat Gallagher has his finger on the pulse for the latest advances in technology. He has written about technology since 2003 and after stints in Beijing, Hong Kong and Chicago is now based in the UK. He’s a true lover of gadgets, but especially anything that involves cameras, Apple, electric cars, musical instruments or travel.