DEARBORN, May 20 — Ford officially unveiled the all-electric version of its bestselling F-150 truck on Wednesday, in an eco-friendly reinvention of a flagship American car brand.
The battery-powered Ford F-150 “Lightning” is part of a US$22 billion (RM91 billion) campaign by the US auto giant to ramp up its electric vehicle offerings by 2025.
Ford is already selling an all-electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E sport utility vehicle, but the Lightning will be the first battery-powered incarnation of the F-150.
The F-150, first launched by Ford in 1948, has long been the top-selling US vehicle and a showcase brand for the 118-year-old firm.
Bill Ford, the great-grandson of the car giant’s founder and current chairman of its board of directors, hailed a “pivotal moment” in the company’s history.
The F-150 Lightning is the “smartest, cleanest” model in the lineup, he said. “And it’s pretty powerful.”
In the event of a power cut, the vehicle will be able to supply electricity to a house for about three days, Ford has said.
And for professionals using the truck on construction sites for example, the vehicle’s electrical outlets can serve as a source of energy for the tools.
Ford avoided releasing details about the car ahead of the official launch at 9:30pm Wednesday local time.
But President Biden revealed Tuesday that the Lightning can hit 0-60 mph in about 4.4 seconds, during a visit to Ford’s Michigan operation to build support for a US$2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes US$174 billion for electric vehicle development.
“This sucker’s quick,” Biden said Tuesday afternoon following a spin in the pickup at the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan, describing the new technology as critical in the fight to save the planet from global warming.
‘The future is electric’
Chief Executive Jim Farley touted the car at the company’s annual meeting earlier this month, telling shareholders the firm is “electrifying some of the most iconic nameplates at Ford” as part of its growth strategy.
“We will not cede ground in the EVs to others in vehicle segments where millions of customers rely on us and Ford as the established leader,” he said. “This is our home turf.”
Production of the new F-150 electric model will begin in Dearborn by spring 2022.
It will face stiff competition: start-up Rivian plans to start selling its R1T electric pickup this summer, while General Motors aims to sell its own version, the GMC Hummer EV, from this fall.
“The future of the auto industry is electric,” said Biden on Tuesday from the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
“The question is whether we’ll lead or we’ll fall behind in the race to the future.” — AFP