Ford is the undisputed king of the pickup truck market here in the United States. Leading the segment in sales for the last 43 years, the Ford F-150 team have clearly figured out their customer. With all of the news coming out recently about upcoming electric trucks from automakers like GMC, Rivian, Bollinger Motors, and Tesla, many fans have been patiently waiting for the Blue Oval to tell us about their own efforts. Just outside of the new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center early this morning, we got to learn a bit more about how the electric Ford F-150 will look.
Before you get too excited, Ford did not roll out a battery-powered F-150 for the collected journalists to gawk over. However, MC&T was given the opportunity to discuss a few details about how the truck will be produced with Ford’s Chief Manufacturing and Labor Affairs Officer Gary Johnson. And no, not that Gary Johnson.
According to Johnson, the electric Ford F-150 will begin its journey down the production line alongside other gasoline-powered F-150 pickup trucks, before the incomplete vehicle is sent to the new facility for powertrain installation and finishing. This makes a lot of sense, considering Ford built this new complex adjacent to the F-150’s main-line facility. From a cost standpoint, it would have been unlikely for Ford to develop an entirely new platform to underpin one variant of their best selling product.
While we can’t say which parts the trucks will share at this point, there are a couple of assumptions we can make based on this info.
On the line at River Rouge, the body and the chassis don’t meet up until quite a ways into the process. This is because the powertrain has to be fitted to the chassis before the painted body can be dropped over it. Without the need for a gas engine, Ford will likely pull these chassis off the line earlier to get their electric powertrain installed at the new facility. CNBC reports that Ford’s President of the Americas and International Markets Kumar Galhotra said that the electric F-150 will look “different” than the traditional model, but it will retain the overall characteristics of the truck. Considering that fascias and other final details are installed after the chassis and bodywork meet, Ford could make the electric F-150 distinct from the rest of the lineup in these stages without dramatically changing the design. Since there’s no engine behind the grille that would require cooling, it’s easy to imagine the front fascia being completely sealed off, as observed with other electric vehicles.
While the electric Ford F-150 isn’t slated to arrive until mid-2022 – after the Rivian R1T, Tesla Cybertruck and Hummer EV – don’t expect people’s excitement to fade in the interim. Ford has claimed that they are building an electric truck for truck customers, not for those chasing a lifestyle brand experience. While other EV manufacturers continue to push towards that path, we wouldn’t bet against the F-150.