With the unveiling of the Electric F-150 Lighting last Wednesday, Ford is placing its bet that electric vehicles will start mainstream for Americans. At the same time, Ford wants the return to prominence of American-made vehicles.
Electric F-150 Lightning Will Set The Automotive Industry’s Direction
Ford sees the Electric F-150 Lightning as its strategic bet that’s poised to pay off big. The Lightning can symbolize what President Joe Biden’s vision of the next-generation American automobile looks like.
The Lightning is American-made and designed for both blue-collar and tech workers. It’s electric-powered but performs the same as the big bad pickups found across America.
During the launch, Ford asked Biden to check out the vehicle. The president gladly visited the Rouge complex to take a closer look. He even climbed aboard a unit for a test drive.
The launch foreshadows a challenge for the American auto industry. The International Energy Agency said that the energy sector is targeting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050. To do so, electric vehicles need to capture at least 60% of global car sales by 2031. By 2035, all new cars must run on electricity.
Ford’s Rivals Also Scrambling to Sell Electric Cars
Other automakers such as General Motors and Volvo are also looking to contribute their share to zero emissions by 2050. However, the transformation faces a lot of challenges.
Charging stations need building, supply chains need securing, and factories need adjusting. These changes do not address a fundamental question: Do consumers even want an electric car?
Ford hopes the F-150 Lightning is that EV that they want. Darren Palmer, Ford’s head of battery electric vehicles said it’s more than just Ford.
“There’s a lot at stake here, not just for Ford, but really for the country. This could be the point when people really notice electric [vehicles].”
There’s A Market For American EVs
In fact, there is already a growing legion of would-be buyers who prefer big old American cars like Ford or GM. Instead of a Tesla or a Nissan Leaf, they want electric versions of their pickups or muscle cars.
“That vehicle is going to come in and fill a void. And if it’s affordable, I mean, it’s going to be a game-changer,” noted Shelley Francis, co-founder of EVHybridNoire. The group is a network of electric vehicle fans.
“It’s the No. 1-selling vehicle in the country just across the board. It’s also the No. 1-selling vehicle among African American communities.
Then when you think about rural communities … there’s an opportunity for this community to be part of this conversation,” Francis added.
Incoming Flood of Electric Pickups
Ford’s F-150 Lightning is just the start of an incoming barrage of electric pickups for sale. This includes a spate of startups like Rivian’s $75,000 truck.
Rivian is targeting deliveries next month and capture the distinction as the first E-pickup to market. Lordstown Motors is also unveiling a pickup marketed to businesses.
Then, there’s Tesla’s vaunted Cybertruck, the futuristic pickup that offers a lower-priced model.
Meanwhile, GM is reintroducing the Hummer back as a premium electric pickup, with an initial price tag of more than $100,000. Chevrolet is coming out with an electric Silverado, while a battery-powered Ram will eventually come out.
Challenge For The Electric F-150 Lightning
The F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle for over 40 years. Ford sells more than 1 million F-series trucks per year and earns raking in more than $40 billion annually. This is more money than what McDonald’s or Nike earns in a year.
However, it doesn’t automatically mean Ford owners will automatically jump at the driver’s seat of an electric vehicle. Surveys report that more than half of pickup owners are not interested in going electric.
Palmer hopes that vehicle owners follow the cordless drill analogy. Switching to a better tool isn’t hard if the new technology is better. “The functionality difference…was better. Everybody wanted the best tool. It’s the same thing,” Palmer said.
Watch the Ford Motor Company promotional video featuring the All-Electric F-150 Lightning: Turning Electric Into Lightning:
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