As Ford Moves Forward With Electric F-150 Preparations, Online Chatter Leaves It in the Dust

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

The hottest vehicle segment that doesn’t yet exist — full-size electric pickups — continues to arouse interest online, though the nature of that buzz can’t be directly translated into future sales.

Lofty promises of future product may send investors and tech geeks into mouth-frothing displays of overreaction, but established automakers, regardless of what Silicon Valley disciples claim, stand a better chance of having their wares on the market before the upstarts. Ford’s upcoming F-150 EV is one of those products. Scheduled to arrive in the middle of 2022, the automaker is preparing a plant overhaul designed to slot the new variant into its next-generation truck’s assembly operation.

As reported by Bloomberg, Ford plans to idle its Dearborn, Michigan truck plant on September 7th to retool ahead of 2021 F-150 production, with the same work occurring at Kansas City Assembly come October. In addition to this work, the automaker plans to begin construction on an adjacent facility in Dearborn to handle the F-150 EV. The first prototypes should begin rolling out of that plant in 2021.

Pressure is high for Ford to bring the next-gen F-150 to market with none of the hiccups that plagued the botched roll-out of the 2020 Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator — a manufacturing, quality, and PR blunder that cost Ford’s former head of automotive, Joe Hinrichs, his job.

The downtime at both plants will also cost Ford vital F-150 output, so the push is on to pad pandemic-depleted inventories ahead of the work.

“We have good inventory of the current model F-150 and we’re building at a higher-than-normal rate to ensure our stocks remain high to continue to meet customer demand,” the automaker told Bloomberg.

But what about that online chatter mentioned earlier? Seems someone’s been doing some snooping. The Detroit Free Press, citing geocached July Twitter mentions, revealed just where the public’s buzz lies. The associated map shows which EV pickup people in each U.S. state talked about most last month, with General Motors and Ford failing to appear as any state’s number one. Go figure.

The five pickups that were mentioned include the Rivian R1T, Tesla Cybertruck, Bollinger B2, Nikola Badger, and Lordstown Endurance. None of these trucks are in series production yet; one (Bollinger) is a luxury model that reeks of bespoke construction, another doesn’t yet have a factory (Tesla), one has a factory but first needs cash to get off the ground (Lordstown), and yet another is a distant future promise dependent on the help of a unnamed, and likely undiscovered, established automaker for assembly (Nikola).

Ford, GM, and Rivian have plants and cash. Online interest is fickle, as the map shows. The home of GM and Ford, Michigan, shows the Rivian pickup as No. 1. At least the company has its headquarters there, with a plant in Illinois (which also ranked the company tops in Twitter traffic). Indeed, with the exception of a patriotic Ohio, Lordstown’s home base, and Pennsylvania, all states bordering the Great Lakes gravitated to Rivian.

Texas, where Tesla’s Cybertruck will be built, was more interested in Nikola. California, at least, saw the most interest go to Tesla’s upcoming wedge-with-a-bed. Tesla being headquartered there, and all. A small handful of states seemed to pine most for Bollinger, among them Louisiana, Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland.

The significance of all this? Who knows. Online buzz, as previously stated, doesn’t necessarily translate into sales, and Ford has been quietest of all when it comes to that company’s future EV pickup. No wonder’s there’s radio silence. And so what if people are jawing about a ghost product online? It could make the company a hell of a lot more valuable by juicing its stock, but buzz is of limited value if that future product stands to be preceded by numerous other products of similar form and capability.

[Image: Ford, Tesla]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Polka King Polka King on Aug 25, 2020

    Let's talk about this electric thing. They're saying load-carrying (probably not) trailer towing (probably not) trucks are going to be electric? They can't even make an mp3 player that runs for an 8-hour work day. I'd love a quiet lawnmower. It would have to be maybe four or five horsepower to spin the blade and the drive wheels. At about 750 watts per horse that's 3000 watts. For four hours' mowing that's 12 kW/hr. Can they do that? I don't think they can.

    • See 10 previous
    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Aug 26, 2020

      @jack4x The real appeal is not having to drag out the extension cord or cutting it with the hedge trimmers. Batteries have progressed to the point that for most homes not sitting on a ton of land, they are just easier. My last non battery holdout is my 85 John Deere lawn tractor with a Kawasaki motor. I can't imagine it needing replacement anytime soon.

  • Harwester Harwester on Sep 18, 2021

    Kobalt is a very good brand. Thank you so much for this cool post.

  • DS No for 2 reasons. 1-Every new car pipelines data back to the manufacturer; I don't like it with domestic, Japanese and Euro companies and won't put up with it going to Chinese companies that are part financed by their government. 2-People have already mentioned Vinfast, but there's also the case of Hyundai. Their cars were absolutely miserable for years before they learned enough about the US market
  • Theflyersfan Well, if you're on a Samsung phone, (noticing all of the shipping boxes are half Vietnamese), you're using a Vietnam-built phone. Apple? Most of ours in the warehouse say China, but they are trying to spread out to other countries because putting all eggs in the Chinese basket right now is not wise. I'm asking Apple users here (the point of above) - if you're OK using an expensive iPhone, where is your Made in China line in the sand? Can't stress this enough - not being confrontational. I am curious, that's all. Is it because Apple is California-based that manufacturing location doesn't matter, vs a company in a Beijing skyscraper? We have all weekend to hopefully have a civil discussion about how much is too much when it comes to supporting companies being HQ-ed in adversarial countries. I, for one, can't pull the trigger on a Chinese car. All kinds of reasons - political, human rights, war mongering and land grabbing - my morality is ruling my decisions with them.
  • Jbltg Ford AND VAG. What could possibly go wrong?
  • Leonard Ostrander We own a 2017 Buick Envision built in China. It has been very reliable and meets our needs perfectly. Of course Henry Ford was a fervent anti-semite and staunch nazi sympathizer so that rules out Ford products.
  • Ravenuer I would not.