The name pays homage to the old SVT-branded sport truck of the 1990s.
The all-electric Ford F-150 will officially be called Lightning, according to the automaker. In a release that also confirmed the EV’s reveal on May 19, Ford announced it would dust off its legendary sport truck nameplate for the newest F-150.
The new F-150 Lightning will likely share little but the name from its SVT-branded forebears. The 1993–1995 Lightning boasted a mighty 5.8-liter V8, while its immediate successor offered a supercharged 5.4-liter mill from 1999–2004; meanwhile, the new truck will be electric-only. It also looks like it will take on a more traditional pickup form factor based on a brief teaser Ford released at the same time as the model name announcement. The new Lightning, which we expect for 2022, appears to be a taller, truckier offering, as opposed to the lowered, single-cab shortbed stance of the original.
That teaser video also seeks to connect the F-150 EV with its internal combustion predecessors, featuring the original Model T pickup, the 1948 F-1, and both generations of SVT Lightning. The actor, walking past each of those old pickups, says that Ford will build upon its century of truck-building history to take the F-Series brand into the future and “take electric and turn it into Lightning.” It’s a clever play on the brand name, and it makes sense, even if the new Lightning won’t be quite as hardcore as its street truck forebears.
It’s also not the first time that Ford has used a historical brand for an electric product. The Mustang Mach-E, for example, has drawn its share of praise and criticism, the former for its excellent design and performance and the latter for its dubious pony-car distinction – our own Brandon Turkus says it belongs in the stable, for what it’s worth. Whether the F-150 Lightning sees the same criticism from the sport-truck faithful remains in question, but if the truck is as powerful and torquey as the Mach-E, then we doubt we’ll have much to complain about.