On May 19, 2021, Ford and the United Auto Workers union revealed something brand new for one of the oldest vehicle brands in America: the F-150 Lightning. An all-electric pickup truck.
“An electric truck that can match the ambitions of this nation,” said a recorded voiceover at the truck’s reveal.
President Biden, who has championed a switch to all-electric cars since his election, got a sneak preview on Tuesday that included a spin around the test track at Ford’s Rouge complex in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ford is hoping for the F-150 Lightning to appeal to a demographic of people who have so far been resistant to electric vehicles for a variety of reasons – the rural, blue collar consumer. The truck is priced to appeal to them. At just under $40,000 for the basic package, it comes in well under the average price for gas-powered pickups of the same size, which is over $50,000. It also qualifies buyers for a federal tax credit meant to promote low-footprint vehicles. After the credit, it’s so far the cheapest electric pickup available.
It’s no slouch in performance, either. Ford is selling the Lightning with two battery options, with ranges of 230 or 300 miles respectively between charges. It’s rated high for towing capacity and acceleration.
But Ford is also heavily advertising what this new electric truck can do without ever leaving its garage: it can power your home.
All electric vehicles are massive batteries. The F-150 Lightning and its charging station are designed to allow a bidirectional flow of power, meaning that in case of a power outage, the charged-up truck can return that power, keeping lights on and fridges cold.
“There’s a lot at stake here, not just for Ford, but really for the country,” said Darren Palmer, Ford’s head of battery electric vehicles. “This could be the point when people really notice electric [vehicles].”