By on August 25, 2020

ford

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]

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45 Comments on “As Ford Moves Forward With Electric F-150 Preparations, Online Chatter Leaves It in the Dust...”


  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    The quirky “upstarts” get the attention because they are new and aren’t mainstream. People showing interest in those products are no different than the “cheap manual transmission brown “station-wagon”(or small truck)crowd. They make a lot of internet noise but aren’t going to buy anything.

    I’d consider a Ford EV pickup if and only if the range is comparable to my current truck with 136 litre fuel tank.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I am among the “They make a lot of internet noise…) who actually put money down to reserve a Rivian truck last year but have yet to receive any firm confirmation or delivery date.

      I think it is vaporware. A ploy to raise money for the manufacturer.

      I’m seriously thinking of gifting my paid-for reservation to my youngest brother in Biloxi since he likes EVs and even owned a Leaf for awhile while he lived in Manhattan, NY, NY.

      I had something similar happen in 1987 when I ordered a 1988 ExtCab Silverado with the 350 and THM 350 with a Blue Cloth interior. I didn’t take delivery until Oct 1988!

      I understand why “Online Chatter Leaves It In The Dust…”

      Vaporware.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “established automakers, regardless of what Silicon Valley disciples claim, stand a better chance of having their wares on the market before the upstarts”

    That’s true; Tesla will likely have its truck on the road before Ford.

    Ford’s radio silence is intended to protect its bread-and-butter F-150. A poorly-received F-150 EV would be pretty embarrassing.

  • avatar
    Luke42

    I picked up a one of the GM 2-mode hybrid trucks.

    This is the fourth pickup truck I’ve owned, and it’s the first pickup truck I’ve actually enjoyed driving. The smoothness and control provided by the hybrid system is hard to beat.

    The traditionalists will stick with their V8s. But It’s hybrids, PHEVs, and EVs for me from here on out.

    I’m likely to choose the Tesla CT over the F150 EV, but I’ll give the F150 a fair shake. The big advantage of the F150 EV is that it’s likely to be compatible with the F150 aftermarket, which matters if you’re adding contractor racks or a work-bed. But, I’m looking for a suburban towbeast instead of a rolling toolbox, so the CT is likely to be a better fit for me personally.

    I like my 2-mode hybrid much better than a straight V8. The more powerful the electric components in the system become, the more I’m going to like it — so the F150-EV and the Tesla CT are the endgame for me.

    In the meantime, my 2-Mode GMT900 will do just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Luke42 – was that 2-Mode GMT900 hard to find? I’ve seen maybe 3 of them in my entire life.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        @Lou_BC: “was that 2-Mode GMT900 hard to find? I’ve seen maybe 3 of them in my entire life.”

        Yes, it was hard to find. Especially in the higher trim-levels.

        It’s a rare truck.

        I’ve owned four pickup trucks, and this one is the first one I’ll drive voluntarily.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      Don’t the GM 2-mode rigs have a V8?

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Yes. The drivetrain schematic is:
        gasoline -> 6L V8 -> eCVT + battery -> 4-speed auto -> 4×4 tranfer case -> wheels

        It’s a V8, but it is a lot less annoying than a straight V8 because it shuts down when it’s not needed. The fuel-sucking noisemaker doesn’t make you go “ow, my wallet” while you wait at a stoplight or when you’re manouvering in a parking lot — but it certainly does kicks in and screams like a Corvette if you mash the go-pedal.

        It’s also very smooth at low speeds, and the A/C can run independently of the engine, which are both very useful for my hobbies.

        I’d be willing to own a PHEV or EV pickup truck after this, but going back to a regular V8 would be an unwelcome regression.

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          Probably screams like a Corvette because of the 6.0 under the hood that shares its architecture with a Corvette. The 6.0 is a great motor in its own right. I’m going to pull one at the u-pull-it if it ever quits raining for a future project.

  • avatar
    TimK

    These EV pickups all have one thing in common — huge batteries. That means a Level 2 charger is needed for any practical use case. How many potential private owners are willing or able to make that happen? For business owners with a fleet, L2 chargers are a big capital expense, do the numbers pencil-out in these days of slim to no profits?

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      Lots of people are willing to install the equipment for the EV sedans so I don’t see that pickup owners will be less willing to do so. Plus buying a home is what many people use to justify why they need a to buy their first pickup.

      For fleets of significant size there will be a significant investment, not in the actual service equipment but in getting power to the parking lot and having an electrical system for the 10, 20, 30 or more units they’ll need.

      Still I expect gov’t fleets that have alternative fuel mandates will be buying them like they are going out of style, as will utility companies.

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @TimK: “For business owners with a fleet, L2 chargers are a big capital expense”

      Huh?? $300 is a huge capital expense??

      https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electrical-Renewable-Energy-EV-Chargers/Level-2/N-5yc1vZc3gjZ1z0mhhr

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @mcs – that’s assuming someone is living in a more modern home with up to date electrical services.
        Back in the 90’s when I was house hunting, I looked at a home that was older and at the time it was built was outside the city limits. It needed electrical upgrades. My buddy who is an electrician told me not to touch it since the rural building standards of the era were sketchy and no one would legally touch a place like that unless it was completely rewired.

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        It is not the equipment, nor the installation of the equipment that will be a big expense. It is getting circuits to the parking lot and having a distribution system with room for a dedicated circuit for each unit, and sufficient capacity.

        Sure 2 or 3 hanging on the building would be relatively cheap, but 30 spots out in what is now a gravel lot with no power at a building that has no other significant electrical demands could get real expensive.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          @ScoutDude:
          “Sure 2 or 3 hanging on the building would be relatively cheap, but 30 spots out in what is now a gravel lot with no power at a building that has no other significant electrical demands could get real expensive.”

          These trucks don’t need to be all things to all people to be a success.

          If 1/3rd of the pickup truck fleet becomes fuel-agnostic by running on electricity most of the time, that would be a huge win.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            I never said they had to be everything to everyone, just pointing out that for a large fleet operation it would be a big investment in the charging infrastructure.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          “…real expensive…” compared to what? Are we still talking about $100K pickups?

          If you can’t spread it out over 84 payments, it’s a nogo?

          Perhaps it’s time to upgrade to energy efficient appliances, boiler, and LED. Or do those first. god forbid solar panels on the roof.

          It not nearly as expensive as you think and why rewire the entire house when just the garage needs more juice?

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            You probably won’t need to “rewire” the entire house, but if you need a new panel for the increased draw then that gets expensive and I don’t think changing out lightbulbs is going to help much there.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            If you have a 200-amp panel it is usually not a problem to add the breakers. But if you have a 100-amp panel, it could overwhelm the main breakers.

            OTOH, I know of people running a 30-amp cable from the Electrical Clothes Dryer to charge their EV in El Paso, TX.

            But that is an either/or situation; either charge the EV or run the dryer. Never both at the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Most get frightened when it comes to electrical, but it’s just common parts and dumb math.
            I’ve got a rental trailer that’s 200 amp wired and only 100 amps (drop) service at the pole. It’s not a problem and hasn’t been for the last 40+ years.

            Only 60 amps are pulled from the main box and it’s been fine for the countless families/renters that have come and gone. Of course the original/factory electric range, central heat and dryer were swapped out for gas units from the start.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            When I added my charger, the run was about 3 feet from the panel to a NEMA 14-50 outlet. The big upgrade to the panel and from the pole to the house happened with the mega-kitchen upgrade. I even have computers that can give the level 2 a run for its money.

            I’d assume that if we’re talking fleets (which is what I was replying to, not homes), I’d assume it’s a larger commercial building, it’s probably going to have a larger panel that can handle a few 30 amp breakers for the chargers. Most commercial multi-charger setups I’ve seen have a separate panel outside for the chargers anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It’s all relative but commercial power is on a whole other scope. Residential is just single phase, two legs.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            “I even have computers that can give the level 2 a run for its money.”

            @mcs – I knew a Doctor that was really into home entertainment and had a massive system in his house. Everything he had drew so much electricity he got searched by the cops thinking he was running a marijuana grow-op.

        • 0 avatar
          Old_WRX

          There would be a horrible spike in demand right around 8:00 AM.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        In 2012, I installed my home charger using a double 40 breaker and 25′ of 8 AWG wire, attached to my 1967 150A service. It’s the equivalent of installing another electric range, which I already have.

        The charger has never once been a problem with our electrical service, but we also have a gas furnace, dryer, and HW tank. If I replace our 18-year-old HW tank with an electric version, I may need to upgrade to 200A service.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @TimK Fleet managers are cost fanatics. Keep spreadsheets of fuel use, perishable maintenance items, and other operating costs. The owner of the company has shown his fleet manager the costs of installing chargers for the fleet. Bye-by gas cards and oil changes and even R32 these days. It all comes down to how much it’ll cost. One Ford Transit Connect? Probably not. A dozen Ford Transit Connects? Probably so.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    What the twitterverse has to say about electric pickups is pretty irrelevant since I’m betting the majority of actual truck buyers don’t tweet.

  • avatar
    phxmotor

    Does anyone have stock in Tums?
    As much love as people have toward Tesla it seems only oblivious contrarian techno nerds think Tesla’s pickup is attractive.

    For the rest of us it is the most repulsive looking creation since Quasimodo’s appearance at the debutant ball.

    Just thinking about it makes normsl oeipke want to wretch. I’m sitting in Reno right now. My nephew is on his way to work at the huge Tesla factory where he just got a big promotion.
    Our devotion to Tesla is real. Our confusion about why anyone thinks the pickup is attractive or practical is equally real.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Tesla’s CT is ugly AF.

      It’s ugly like a Jeep, but it’s still ugly.

      With the stainless steel body and rumored million-mile battery, it will be exactly as ugly in 20 years as it is on day one.

      I’m in to substance over looks, so I find this rather compelling. I want to be about 100,000th in line for mine, to make sure that my guesses above are true.

    • 0 avatar
      el scotto

      @phxmotor No cab corners or wheel arches to rust out! No one has ever asked or commented but do Tesla frames rust out? Full disclosure: My Tacoma was a bad body/good frame frankentruck marriage.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Teslas are made out of a variety of materials.

        The three and Y are made out of conventional steel, though the Y is including some unusually large castings as part of the frame.

        The S and X are made mostly of aluminum.

        The CT will be made from stainless steel.

        There’s a reason so few vehicles are made from stainless steel: you can’t stamp it, and you can’t easily paint it. The flip side is that stainless steel should weather well over the years. As a result, any vehicle made out of stainless steel will probably look a lot like the CT.

        Tesla made the stainless steel design work engineering+design+marketing work by going all in on the whole post-apocalyptic cyberpunk theme.

        The stainless steel body is part of the truck’s value. It should be impervious to rust and weather over the coming decades. That’s something I value.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Yeah thank goodness Tesla came up with the idea of building a truck out of a material that won’t rust in those spots. Wonder why nobody else has thought of constructing the body out of a metal that won’t rust. Strange.

  • avatar
    Polka King

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      For 4 hrs mowing maybe not in a walk behind, but for smaller yards a battery operated mower is great.

      Last fall I was at Lowes looking for something else and when I walked in the main isle was stacked high with Craftsman battery lawn mowers, marked down considerably since it was near the end of the season. I didn’t bite, but then I made it over to the main yard equipment section and specifically where they put the units that have been returned. Low and behold there was one of the same model that looked like it mowed 10sq ft of grass for ~50% of the already significantly marked down price. So I bit and it works great for our yard where it doesn’t even get discharged to 50% mowing the entire yard, and yes it is much quieter and is so much lighter that I don’t miss the self propelled at all.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      If you’re talking about a self-propelled walk-behind lawnmower, they already exist. I have one (not self-propelled) in my garage (Lowes Kobalt 80V), and it makes do with about 0.5 kWh, which can go for about 2 hours. I love it; I finally got sick of stinking mowers that don’t start in the spring.

      If you’re talking about a riding mower, the battery would weigh about 100 lbs, which doesn’t seems like a big adder when you’re replacing a gas tank and a heavy engine with an electric motor and battery.

      Full-load towing kills the range of an EV by 50-60%, and probably worse if cold. So the mfrs are planning on enormous batteries to make up for it. It will be interesting to watch.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      electric power tools seem hit-and-miss:
      0. electric power washers are way weaker, to the point that they are pretty much just car washers, although in their defense they are rated at lower spec.
      1. electric chain saws are weaker, but again they don’t hide that.
      2. electric blower is about the same.
      3. electric string trimmer is weaker but can generally get the job done.
      4. I can’t quite do my entire yard (about .65 acre) in a single charge on an electric mower but the power is about equal to my mid-tier Husqvarna.

      The big appeal on electric tools is that they are much quieter and require less fuss.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      I should add that on many walk behinds the battery is removeable, so it is possible to have more than one battery and keep going.

      I went to battery powered blower and string trimmer a couple of years ago and in that case went with Milwaukee M18 since I already had a number of other M18 tools and batteries. So while I do drain the batteries, I’ve always had another charged and ready to go and if I did make it through all of them, the first one to be drained would be ready to go again if it was put in the charger.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I have the 80v Kobalt blower and string trimmer. Those use a 2.5ah battery. The 80V Kobalt mower uses a 6.0ah battery, so I’m thinking I’d need to buy a second 6.0ah battery to make a mid-job swap out effective. The problem is that the price of a second mower battery (with any brand it seems) pushes the price of things up into Honda HRX territory, which is an extremely good gas powered machine.

        I don’t particularly love my current Husqvarna but aside from fuel, a spark plug, and a new blade it was free. So that’s hard to pass up.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      I have battery-powered electric lawnmower.

      I even replaced the SLA batteries with a (very carefully selected) lithium-ion e-bike battery. (I had to match volts, amps, amp-hours, and the physical dimensions.)

      This mower is much better for my particular yard-size than the gasoline mower I used to own.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        My electric mower runs on about 500 watts sustained (36V with 15 amp wiring), but it bogs down less than the gas mower I used to have.

        It may be maintains its torque when it slows down, I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          jack4x

          The real appeal of electric yard tools is avoiding gummed carbs and/or 40:1 2 cycle fuel.

          My yard is too big to mow effectively with an electric but I’ve switched to battery chainsaw and trimmer and won’t go back.

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            What pushed me over to an electric mower was my then-pregnant-and-nauseous wife complaining about the exhaust smell when I went by a window.

            What keeps me with the electric mower is that the total lifecycle of yard maintenance is just easier.

            Gas mowers are the right tool for bigger lawns — my dad had one of those when I was a kid, and it’s a different job which requires a different tool. If everyone used the right tool for the right job, though, we’d save tons of gas — and my neighborhood would be quieter!

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            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.

        • 0 avatar
          Scoutdude

          Actually on an electric motor the torque increases as the rpm drops. On the ICE they usually govern them around peak torque meaning that torque falls with RPM. So the electric gives you the boost when you need it most.

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