We'll find out if he's right soon enough.
Next week could potentially change Ford forever. The automaker is set to unveil the 2022 F-150 Lightning, the all-electric version of its decades-long best-selling truck. Already available with a hybrid powertrain, much of the F-150's devout base has acknowledged this electrified setup is excellent thanks to its 430 horsepower, 570 lb-ft of torque output and 12,700 pounds towing capacity. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 and electric motor combo make for one highly capable truck. Having around a 20 percent fuel economy improvement over the regular 3.5 V6 is even more icing on the cake.
But how will consumers react to the all-electric model? Ford CEO Jim Farley is convinced "the revenue pool is enormous."
Speaking to Motor Trend, Farley pointed out the F-150 customer base is perfectly suited for full-on electrification because there are "commercial customers with regular fixed routes, happy with depot charging, who need a vehicle with low cost of ownership and 100 percent uptime, as well as features. The second is retail customers with plenty of vehicles for long trips, and they want to drive a pickup that's electrified with software functionality you can't get in a non-electrified vehicle."
One of the F-150's best qualities is that it attracts many first-time truck buyers. These people don't necessarily require a truck on a daily basis but want the comfort of knowing they have its seemingly endless list of capabilities and conveniences on hand at any time.
Farley promises the F-150 Lightning is "built Ford tough," which should satisfy those who bring their trucks to places like construction sites and off-roading excursions. In what's definitely a dig at Tesla, Ford's top employee noted they've "seen some strange designs of fully electric pickup trucks" which he believes won't be able to handle the rigors of getting dirty.
Ford knows how to build trucks. There's no question about that. But going the all-electric route is new territory and the Blue Oval knows it has to get this right. There's just too much at stake. We'll have a complete rundown of the 2022 F-150 Lightning next Wednesday.