The future is most likely going to be electric, and Ford Motor Company isn’t going to get left behind. While the internal combustion engine isn’t going anywhere soon, electric vehicles are quickly becoming a normal part of our automotive landscape. Most of the electrical vehicles we've seen have been cars, but a fully electric pickup hasn't been done on a large scale. Ford plans to change that.
Electric F-150 Spotted With Independent Rear Suspension
More images of the F-150 EV have surfaced, showing off the electric truck's new independent rear suspension. This new suspension, along with its electrification, could be a sneak peek into the future of the F-series trucks as a whole.
Thanks to Ford Authority, these updated spy shots show the same basic truck we saw before. The same dummy tailpipe, the same standard F-150 grille, headlights, taillights, and other exterior elements, and the same front-mounted charging port. All in all, the only thing of note from this batch of spy shots is the independent rear suspension. Ditching the solid rear axle that has been the go-to rear suspension set up for trucks is a big move, and it certainly could change the whole feel of the F-series if it is adopted en masse.
As opposed to a solid rear axle, an independent rear suspension will noticeably smoothen out the driving experience. When coupled with an electric powerplant, which not only is smooth and predictable in its own right but entirely silent, the F-150 EV could have an entirely different feel overall. Instead of being a rough and grumbling powerhouse, the electric F-150 will probably feel like it's gliding by comparison.
Additionally, this preview of an F-series truck with independent rear suspension might indicate that the next generation of gas and diesel-powered trucks will have the same setup. Given the news that the Raptor is being given a 700hp supercharged V8 (the same one used in the Shelby GT500), it seems like Ford is pivoting towards a new generation of F-series trucks. A Raptor with such a tremendous amount of power is the perfect send-off for the current generation of F-series trucks. It seems reasonable to believe that Ford would incorporate the F-150 EV in with the next generation of F-150's. If that is the case, then it stands to reason that the IRS set up that we can see in these spy shots will be used across the entire line of trucks.
This is still speculation, however, as the new suspensions set up could be warranted by the weight and placement of the many batteries that have to power the truck in the first place. The F-150 EV could be the only F-series truck to ever use this type of suspension. It's still early, and there is still a lot left to learn about this truck. The range of the electric Ford F-150, its 0-60 time, or even its starting price are all still questions left unanswered.
Electric F-150 Test Vehicle Spied
Thanks to a spy photographer from Autoblog, we now have our first glimpse of an electrified F-150. Even though it’s done up in camouflage, and sports a tailpipe that may or may not be real, that charger doesn’t lie. Besides the charging port sneakily tucked away on the driver’s side bumper, the rest of the vehicle looks just like a standard F-150. Same vehicle, just a different fuel source.
It’s not clear yet if this is the plug-in hybrid F-150 or the fully electric model. Yes, a tailpipe does point to it being the plug-in hybrid, but for a car already covered in camo, it doesn’t seem too farfetched for that tailpipe to be a misdirection. Regardless, there isn’t any reason to believe either the F-150 EV or the F-150 hybrid will look drastically different than these spy shots.
There are some more clues lurking in this image, however. The recessed running boards are attached to a protruding block underneath the vehicle. Although it’s really hard to see from this image, this very well could be where the batteries of the vehicle are stored. It’s common practice to keep the batteries of electric vehicles under the frame like this, so that could explain the slightly different running board position.
Hybrid and Fully Electric F-150 Confirmed
According to Jim Farley, the president of Ford Motor Co.’s global markets, a fully electric and a hybrid F-series
truck is definitely in the works. There are no images, specs, or even an official release timeline yet. He remarked that “Whether they’re gas, diesel, or hybrid
-or, when the time comes, fully electric - they will power the world in a sustainable way and remain built Ford
tough.” That sounds like this electric truck is definitely happening.
This isn’t the first time Ford has made an electric truck. From 1997-2002, Ford made a limited
run series of fully electric Ranger trucks. While these were more designed to be fleet vehicles, it’s still a proof of concept. These vehicles could only go around 60 miles and reach a top speed of 75mph. Ford also experimented with a small electric vehicle called the Th!nk that wasn't really much more than golf kart with aspirations. Some of the problems with both of these early electric vehicles were both the range and charging time. Besides those complications, they performed quite well. Now, the battery-powered vehicles are becoming viable, with greater range, performance and quicker charging times, Ford is willing to throw their hat back in the ring.
Sure, there will be some resistance to an electric F-150 (as there will be for a four-door Mustang), but that’s to be
expected. Trust hasn’t grown with electric vehicles yet, and that will change as the technology continues to improve. Electricity is actually quite an amazing power source for trucks. Already, several start-ups are racing to make the first electric pickup. Both Rivian and Bollinger have teased some rather impressive truck EV concepts, and the electric behemoth, Tesla, is in the process of developing electric trucks as well.
How Would An Electric F-150 Perform?
Unlike internal combustion engines, electric vehicles have a flat torque curve. This is helpful for towing, as
the engine doesn’t have to build up power to create low-end torque, it is just right there at the driver’s disposal
at all times. This, in turn, means that the truck won’t have to rely on increasingly larger transmissions in order
to keep in the engine in the optimal power band, the electric motor does all of that on its own.
The leap to electric is oddly reminiscent of Ford’s embrace of aluminum for the F-150’s body. While other truck
manufacturers (I’m looking at you Chevy) chided Ford for this move, it ended up being entirely justified by the F-150’s
stellar performance. This change ended up dropping the weight of the F-150s by 700 pounds, increasing towing capability by 900 lbs. and its payload by 1,030 lbs. At the end of the day, the F-series trucks are synonymous with performance. The move to
electric isn’t necessarily ideological, but rather, it is pragmatic. With electricity, the F-150 could continue to
perform just as well, if not better, without needing a single drop of gas.
Additionally, there are a few synergies with electric energy and an F-150. For one, it would be a portable and
powerful generator. Nearly every construction site across the world has a truck in it. Instead of having to rent
out a loud generator, workers could simply plug their power tools into the F-150 EV and work from there.
Tailgating would be made much simpler, with all of the electricity you need for music, televisions, and maybe
even a refrigerator right there in the bed. There are hundreds of more examples of how an electric truck could be
Here's another thing to keep in mind. There initially was some pushback against the EcoBoost engine being used in the F-150 and Mustang since it's a smaller engine than most would expect for either vehicle. More cylinders do generally mean more power, but that plucky V6 has exceeded our expectations. If Ford has proved anything, it's that going green doesn't always mean going slow.
Electric F-150 Release Information
The hybrid F-150 is expected to be released officially in 2020, and the F-150 EV’s release is still TBD. Both of these electrified trucks will likely be released in close conjunction, so a 2021 release estimate isn't entirely unfounded. This is an exciting development, given that the F-series is the best selling line of trucks in America. We can only wait patiently to get an idea of the F-150 EV's torque and horsepower ratings.
Sources: Autonews | Jalopnik | Ford Authority Images : Wikimedia | Ford Authority | Autoblog