Electric F-150 Will Be Far Cheaper to Own Than Gas Model, Claims Ford

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Ford has really been hyping the upcoming F-Series EV this week by assuring customers the new pickup will make the gas-powered one look like the unsightly substance you cough into the sink every morning. Not only with the electrified F-150 come with more power than your standard Ford truck, but it’ll also be cheaper to own and operate — once you get past the higher purchasing price, of course.

The automaker is spending a whopping $700 million to add EV production facilities at the Dearborn Truck Plant on top of the lofty cost of development, so it’s going to tell you whatever it takes to get you to buy one. It has to recoup those expenses somehow and, unless it’s a bald-faced lie, the automotive industry always seems willing to be “extremely optimistic” about a vehicle prior to launch. Unfortunately, Ford has to remain slightly more grounded than some of its peers because the electric F-150 isn’t so completely novel that the manufacturer can claim it will totally transform the driving experience or makes ludicrous suggestions about it driving itself.

We already have an F-150 and people seem to think it’s good enough to warrant nearly a million sales per year. The electric version is a spin-off Ford wants us to understand builds on those strengths.

On Thursday, Blue Oval announced the $700-million expansion of the River Rouge Complex. Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of the Americas and International Markets Group, also claimed the lifetime cost of ownership on the electric F-150 will be roughly half that of the current-generation vehicle. That’s a pretty bold claim and not one that seems to make sense when comparing most present-day EVs with their closest gas-driven analogs.

Take the Chevrolet Bolt, for example. While it’s going to save you tons in fuel (as it doesn’t require any) and possesses a fairly lax maintenance schedule, it costs substantially more than a similar-sized economy vehicle. That was true even when federal subsidies were helping take some of the pressure off. But the end result remains a car that only begins reaching financial parity with more traditional rivals after around 10 years of ownership — assuming you didn’t need to replace the battery in that time frame and failed to splurge on a home charging solutions.

Granted, the F-Series sucks down substantially more fuel than your average hatchback but Ford would still have to price the electric version quite competitively to make it cost half as much to live with. According to Automotive News, the company’s estimates are based on the e-pickup using zero gas and oil (naturally), consistently low electric charging rates, lower maintenance costs, and increased vehicle uptime.

From AN:

In addition, Galhotra said the F-150 EV, due to start production in mid-2022, will boast the fastest 0-to-60-mph time and produce the most torque and horsepower in the nameplate’s history. In the absence of an engine, Galhotra also promised a “giant” front trunk, which would mark the first time the F-150 offers significant enclosed storage space.

The new details are part of Ford’s effort to position the F-150 EV as a purpose-built work vehicle that can provide numerous benefits to fleet operators as well as traditional retail customers. The automaker has long been the leader in the lucrative full-size pickup market but will face increased competition from EV makers Tesla, Rivian, Nikola and others in the coming years.

“While other electric pickups are competing for lifestyle customers, the all-electric F-150 was designed and engineered for hardworking customers that need a truck to do a job,” Galhotra told reporters ahead of an event announcing a standalone assembly facility for the vehicle.

While we’re inclined to believe electrification can open new doors for work vehicles, Ford’s claims of increased vehicle uptime feel a little weak. Maintenance will undoubtedly be lessened but we don’t yet know what kind of range Blue Oval plans to deliver. If the electric F-Series is rocking 700 miles round trips, we’ll shut up. But if it’s closer to contemporary EVs, then we have to note that customers will need to manage their time a little more carefully around the truck’s charging schedule — something more easily handled by fleet managers than a person who might be using one as their only conveyance.

Upgrades at the Dearborn truck plant should be mostly completed by next summer, with production of the hybrid and all-electric F-Series following roughly a year later. Company bigwigs have said both versions would have distinct looks but be visually similar overall and use the same paint and body shops as gasoline-powered pickups. We’re much more interested in performance however and are dying to see how advanced Ford manages to make the new models. Maybe they really will put the internal combustion version to shame and save you a fortune, as suggested by the people who want you to buy one.

[Image: Ford Motor Co.]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 18, 2020

    @Matt, you sound skeptical about Ford's lifetime ownership cost calculation. "the company’s estimates are based on the e-pickup using zero gas and oil..., consistently low electric charging rates, lower maintenance costs, and increased vehicle uptime" Ford is also very likely factoring in: • Higher resale (for purchase) • Higher residual (for leases) They are likely doing this based on the resale values/residuals of some current EV models. They are likely correct in doing this. (The higher resale/residual would tend to offset at least part of the higher initial purchase price.)

    • See 1 previous
    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Sep 19, 2020

      @EBFlex, a) Do you believe the Ford Motor Company does not have any individuals knowledgeable enough, capable enough and engaged enough to do a realistic calculation of lifetime ownership cost from a customer perspective? b) Do you further believe no one in the management chain between those individuals and Kumar Galhotra is capable of validating said calculation before announcing it to the world? We should discuss Tesla marketing separately. (Are you tired of all the Tesla advertisements?)

  • HotPotato HotPotato on Sep 19, 2020

    Why does anyone reply to EBFlex? He's obnoxious, aggressively ignorant, and has never added an ounce of value, humor, kindness, insight, helpful advice, or anything else useful to any thread on TTAC. Not one. Anywhere. Ever. He's a troll's troll. TTAC should do us a favor and delete his account.

    • See 4 previous
    • DenverMike DenverMike on Sep 20, 2020

      @EBFlex If you do it commercially, with a staff, then yeah I'd expect better, possibly BAFO levels. But I'll bet BAFO thinks you're an embarrassment to the trade or simply a hack.

  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.