Why Ford’s Recent Announcement is a Watershed Moment for the EV Market
With the introduction to the all-electric F-150 Lightning, Ford announces Detroit’s first serious attempt for mass-market electric vehicle (EV) adoption. (Market research reveals only one person was asking for an electric Hummer. And he also played the Terminator.) For the rest of us, this announcement is a gamechanger, exciting EV experts and truck enthusiasts alike.
Here are a few reasons why this announcement will prove the linchpin for bringing electric vehicles to the masses.
Going for the Jugular
The F-150 Lightning nearly identically resembles the F-150 truck model that Americans so dearly love. Selling over 900,000 models annually, Ford’s flagship model remains a best seller in North America for the past 40 years.
With 230 to 300 miles of range, the new F-150 Lightning is Detroit’s first serious attempt at making an electric vehicle the mass market would actually drive. In other words, an EV that doesn’t look like a hippie spacecraft or dystopian battle bot.
Turns out the formula for selling EVs people want to drive is designing a good-looking car people can see themselves in. (See: Tesla)
Power for Your People
Like all EVs, the Lightning is essentially a huge battery on wheels. In partnership with Sunrun, a national residential solar and battery installer, Ford will offer owners the option to power their home with their truck during electric grid blackouts by installing a smart charging station in their garage. Ford hasn’t announced a charger install price, but the partnership with Sunrun also provides homeowners with an ideal opportunity to slap some solar panels on their roof to offset the added cost of Lightning juice.
While on the road, the Lightning can also power small appliances with ten 120V outlets located throughout the vehicle and one 240V outlet in the bed. This amenity offers a practical advantage over traditional gas-powered trucks, eliminating the need for noisy, gas-guzzling generators to power auxiliary equipment.
Wait, did you just say “frunk”?
What the Frunk?
That’s right. Instead of a bulky gas-powered engine, discrete electric motors free up extra space under the hood, hence the “frunk” (see picture). In addition to four 120V outlets, there’s room for over 400 pounds of secure, locked storage to transport toys the job site, campsite, or across town.
Show Me the Money
The most compelling feature of the Lightning is the dollar savings potential. The F-150 electric model isn’t only faster, cleaner, and more practical for most use-cases. At a $40k base price (before federal and state tax incentives), going electric will save drivers some serious cash compared with operating a gas-powered equivalent.
For example, consider that the average American drives 13,500 miles each year. The all-electric F-150 Lightning will save over $1,200 per year in fuel costs over the gasoline-powered F-150 (based on national average gasoline and electricity prices).
In addition to fuel savings, Consumer Reports calculates that EV owners experience an average maintenance savings of $4,600 over the vehicle lifetime.
For those worried about range limitations, Consumer Report research indicates homeowners who own a 250-mile EV can charge from home 92% of the time. That means only six trips to charge outside of the house each year. Think of all the avoided trips to the gas station, not to mention avoiding those $75 fill-ups.
Setting the Bar
So whether your a current pick-up owner, a fleet manager, or a driver who’s interested in saving money and avoiding the pump, Ford’s F-150 Lightning announcement is a watershed moment in accelerating the transition to widespread transportation electrification adoption in the US.
Ford has set the bar in the light-duty truck market by introducing a practical, mass-appealing electric truck. Will other automakers follow suit, or will they find themselves locked in a dark frunk?
About the Author: Alex Kaufman is a science communicator, clean energy specialist, sustainability nerd, professional engineer, travel enthusiast, and resident of San Diego, California. When not helping clients, you can usually find him cycling, hiking, reading, spending time with loved ones, or planning the next big adventure. He is open to speaking engagements. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.