DETROIT – If anyone doubted the importance of the electric Ford F-150 Lightning to Ford Motor, they shouldn’t after the vehicle’s theatrical debut at the automaker’s world headquarters this week in Michigan.
Ford turned its 12-story home – known as the “Glass House” for its boxy, glass-clad modern design – into a 64,000 square-foot projection screen for the vehicle’s official unveiling Wednesday night. It was an over-the-top presentation that spoke to the significance of the vehicle and Ford’s pickup truck franchise, which hauls in the lion’s share of the company’s profits.
Ford Chairman Bill Ford called it a “defining moment” and “historic day” for the company. Ford CEO Jim Farley said it was a “moment of tremendous pride” and would be test whether mainstream Americans truly want electric vehicles.
Ford did everything it could to make the vehicle appealing to pickup truck customers – from its price to functionality and design. It also added some surprising features that would not be possible with a gas-powered vehicle such as an enormous front trunk, or frunk, and the ability to power a house for days.
Here’s more on those features as well as other things to know about the truck.
The pickup resembles the automaker’s current F-150 but includes new interior and exterior features. It’s powered by two electric motors and a battery pack instead of a traditional gas engine. It will be offered in two battery options with targeted ranges of 230 miles or 300 miles, Ford said.
The design and functionality of the F-150 Lightning pickup is meant to be a truck, “not a science experiment,” according to Linda Zhang, chief engineer of the vehicle.
Taking a jab at Tesla’s Cybertruck design, Jasen Turnbull, marketing manager for the Lightning, put it a different way: “Our customers told us they want something modern and advanced, but did not want their truck to look like a doorstop or a spaceship,” he said. “They wanted something distinct but not different.”
Tesla’s upcoming Cybertruck has a unique and polarizing design that was inspired by the films “Blade Runner” and “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
It can power a house
The F-150 Lightning is available with 11 outlet plugs, including four in the frunk and one 240-volt in the pickup box for heavy-duty equipment. Using the vehicle’s battery, the truck also works as an electric generator. Depending on the amount of electricity being drawn, it could power a house for up to 10 days, Ford said.
Ford is partnering with solar company Sunrun to offer an at-home EV charger and an inverter that would automatically draw power from the truck when it’s plugged in — enough to power an entire home or certain critical products during a power outage. They’ll also offer solar installation for owners.
Ford unveiled its electric F-150 model — Here’s what you need to know
A current hybrid electric-gas model of the 2021 F-150 also features an electric generator but not the level of power of the EV version.
The F-150 Lightning is estimated at up to 563 horsepower and 775 pound feet of torque — about 130 horsepower and 200 pound feet of torque more than the top-rated version with an engine.
The Lightning also boasts a massive front truck, or frunk.
The frunk, located where the engine would typically be, is unique as the vehicle’s grille is integrated into the hood. It creates an open, flat area that’s easier to load and unload than a bin-type frunk found on most EVs. It adds 14.1 square cubic feet of secured storage for dry or wet items. For the latter, it also features a drain at the bottom.