SAN ANTONIO — Ford Motor’s new F-150 Lightning is an electric pickup truck. That could seem apparent given it appears to be like like a truck and has electric motors and a battery pack as an alternative of an engine, nevertheless it must be stated.
Why? Because a profitable battery-powered pickup is a vital step in the EV transition, for Ford and the trade at giant.
While trade chief Tesla has confirmed customers will buy electric automobiles and Rivian Automotive has proven there’s demand for electric life-style automobiles, the F-150 is essentially the most vital check to date as as to whether EVs can transfer from compliance automobiles and area of interest vans to a product that can entice extra mainstream consumers.
The electric pickup market, although nonetheless largely unproven, goes to be necessary for traders to look at in the approaching years. Trucks historically have fats revenue margins and account for about 20% of automobiles bought in the U.S., in keeping with auto intelligence agency Edmunds.
LMC Automotive expects the U.S. electric pickup market to extend from about 25,000 automobiles this year to 1 million or so by 2030. There are anticipated to be 5 electric pickup fashions out there on the market this year, and that is anticipated to leap to 21 over the following decade.
Ford’s F-150 Lightning is the primary conventional pickup truck to go electric. It’s not a GMC Hummer EV “supertruck.” It’s not a Tesla “Cybertruck.” It’s not a Rivian R1T “adventure vehicle.” It’s a pickup truck, electrified.
The advantages of the F-150 Lightning are just like the Hummer EV and Rivian R1T, however these electric pickups — the one ones being bought at present in the U.S. — should not created equal. The three drive in another way, and can enchantment to completely different consumers as soon as gross sales transfer previous early adopters into extra common, EV-curious consumers.
The Lightning lives up to the F-150 title in each operate and type, performing as a bridge between the standard pickup individuals know and a brand new EV. It shares a lot of its design and elements with its conventional sibling, except for the powertrains, some design tweaks and an non-compulsory 15.5-inch management display screen.
It’s additionally priced like a conventional pickup, starting from about $40,000 to greater than $90,000. That’s just like Ford’s present lineup of enormous four-door pickups and in line with common costs of about $61,000 for a full-size pickup, in keeping with Cox Automotive.
An electric pickup for the lots is one thing Ford was in a novel position to deliver to market. Its F-Series lineup, together with the F-150, has been the best-selling car in America for 40 years and the highest truck for 45 years.
The company got down to make an electric model of the F-150 pickup truck, and it succeeded. The car operates as a full-size truck. But the electrification brings added advantages of basically instantaneous torque, elevated storage via a large entrance trunk, or “frunk,” the place an engine would historically be — and it removes the burden of getting to fill up on fuel.
The Lightning drives like an F-150 ought to, and that is not a nasty factor. Ford and different automakers have more and more reworked pickups from harsh-riding work vans to snug automobiles able to navigating easily on and off highway.
The car’s giant battery gives for an excellent higher experience, because it retains the car extra grounded and gives a better 50-50 weight ratio for higher stability. On high of that, it gives an excellent towing expertise as a result of EVs do not require transmission gear adjustments, that are particularly noticeable when towing cargo.
While the Lightning is able to scaling hills or perhaps a little tough terrain, it would not match up to the Hummer or R1T in that regard — however that is by design. This is a truck meant for mainstream consumers, not a distinct segment section. Ford sooner or later could supply such a hardier car, however this is not it.
The F-150 Lightning is able to up to 580 horsepower and 775 foot-pounds of torque. Consumer fashions with its top-end 131-kWh battery begin at about $72,500 and have a range of up to 320 miles on a single cost. Its towing capability is up to 10,000 kilos —between that of the Hummer and R1T. Vehicles with smaller batteries and a range of 230 miles are cheaper but additionally supply much less efficiency.
Electric Ford F-150 Lightning
Andrew Evers / CNBC
One of the Lightning’s most unusual benefits over the Hummer and R1T is its capabilities for on-board energy technology. Ford loaded the car with retailers and a bi-directional charging system that may energy a piece website or a house in the occasion of a blackout for up to 10 days, relying on vitality utilization.
Ford began transport the F-150 Lightning earlier this month for choose fleet consumers and greater than 200,000 reservation holders. The company has not introduced when it is going to reopen its order financial institution, because it plans to ramp up manufacturing to 150,000 automobiles by mid-2023.
The Rivian R1T has a little bit of first-mover benefit in the electric pickup market; manufacturing started final fall however is ramping up slowly. The R1T is succesful in each efficiency and off-roading, going 0-60 mph in about three seconds like a sports activities automobile, however it could scale rocks or giant hills like a Jeep SUV.
Its inside and exterior styling, with vegan leather-based and actual wooden, are extra Tesla-like stylish than off-road brute. It’s additionally a a lot smaller car — about 16 inches shorter, in truth — than the F-150 Lightning, making it extra similar to a Ford Ranger or Jeep Gladiator.
That speaks to how Rivian is positioning its merchandise as “adventure vehicles.” It’s how Jeep has described its SUVs for years, making Rivian extra of a risk to the Stellantis SUV model than the F-150.
For now, Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe agrees, telling CNBC throughout a current interview that the three pickups are every “pretty different products.” Cross-shopping between the Rivian R1T, the Hummer and the F-150, he stated, are extraordinarily low: “Clearly the objective and goals are different.”
Edmunds stories buyers trying on the R1T most frequently comparability store the Ford Mustang Mach-E crossover and different EVs, somewhat than different pickups.
However, Scaringe has alluded to plans for a full lineup of automobiles at Rivian, which theoretically might embody a bigger truck.
Rivian R1T electric pickup truck
Starting pricing for the R1T ranges from $67,500 to $85,000. Vehicles at present out there have up to 314 miles of range on a single cost with a 128.9-kWh “large” battery. Performance variations with 4 motors mix to provide 835 horsepower and 908 foot-pounds of torque. The car can tow up to 11,000 kilos — an necessary metric for a lot of pickup homeowners.
There’s a cause GM resurrected Hummer, a model infamously standard in the Nineties and 2000s for its extreme, gas-guzzling automobiles. Whether you really liked Hummers or hated them, you knew them. That means GM had model consciousness baked in so long as the brand new EV stayed true to type for the model, and it does.
The Hummer EV pickup appears to be like like a modernized model of its descendants. It’s giant, flamboyant and very succesful.
Instead of guzzling fuel, it drains a number of vitality. The electric Hummer is reportedly the least environment friendly electric truck of the three at 47 MPGe, an electric car range equal for miles per gallon. That compares to 70 MPGe for each the R1T and F-150 Lightning. But once more, it is Hummer, so what did you anticipate?
The Hummer’s off-road functionality additionally stands out in contrast with the opposite two pickups, which helps clarify its decrease effectivity and greater than 9,000-pound weight.
This Hummer can scale rock climbs with ease, whereas additionally proving a easy on-road expertise and distinctive hands-free freeway driving with GM’s Super Cruise system. It additionally options removing roof panels that may match into the car’s frunk and plenty of different particular and hidden options, together with a “crab walk” mode and sooner charging than the opposite vans.
GM threw every little thing it had and extra into the Hummer in phrases of off-road and efficiency elements. Its $110,000 beginning value is a testomony to that, forward of lower-priced variants anticipated in the years forward that might begin at $79,995.
GMC Hummer EV Edition 1
Michael Wayland / CNBC
The present top-end Hummer, regardless of its weight, can obtain 0-60 mph in about three seconds with its “Watts to Freedom,” or “WTF” mode. It’s able to up to 1,000 horsepower and 1,200 foot-pounds of motor torque. Its range on a single cost is up to 329 miles with a 212.7-kWh battery pack (of which 205 is usable, GM says). It can tow up to 7,500 kilos, the bottom raise of the three electric pickups.
Unlike with the Rivian pickup, Edmunds stories some notable cross-shopping between the electric Hummer and its much less rugged opponents. Buyers in the Hummer take a look at the R1T and the Lightning for comparability greater than some other fashions.
That crossover, although, nonetheless solely represents about 9% of these truck seekers.