Speaking during Ford's livestream kickoff event for F-150 Lightning production, CEO Jim Farley let slip a rather tantalizing sentence regarding the near future for electric Blue Oval trucks. In short, you can expect a different F-Series out of Ford's new Tennessee manufacturing facility. Are we talking about a new off-roader? An HD model? Something else? Let's plug in some variables and see where the road leads.
First of all, let's look at exactly what Farley said. Towards the end of the 42-minute presentation, the CEO was talking about Ford's electric ambitions and the Tennessee plant, which is so new it's still being built.
"I wish we could bring you all down there but, we’re already pushing dirt down in BlueOval City in Tennessee for another electric pickup that’s different than this one."
We have the video embedded below to start shortly before his statement. We include it because it's not just what Farley said, but how he said it that captured our attention. His emphasis and tone certainly open the door for interpretation of exactly what different means here.
Could it be an all-electric Maverick or Ranger?
Announced in September 2021, Ford's new Tennessee facility (officially called BlueOval City) will be the manufacturing plant for the next-generation electric F-Series trucks, as well as advanced batteries. Ford specifically states F-Series production here, not Ranger, Maverick, or any other electric vehicle. However, it may not be an F-150 either. A Ford spokesperson confirmed to Motor1.com that it will be a next-generation electric truck. Any mention of F-150 or heavy-duty pickups is conspicuously absent in this discussion.
Gallery: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
Could it be an off-roader?
Directionally, the F-150 Lightning is a performance-oriented pickup truck for the street. Ford certainly advertises the new Lightning as capable off-road, but you won't find any FX4 or Tremor packages available in the configurator. Electrified competition, notably from Jeep and Rivian, offer glimpses into the advantages of electric power in an off-road setting. Furthermore, the success of the F-150 Raptor has shown that truck buyers love burly pickups. An expansion of fullsize electric trucks into off-road territory would certainly be on-trend.
Could it be a radically different F-Series truck?
When the Chevrolet Silverado EV goes on sale in 2024, it will be a significant departure from the rest of the combustion-powered Silverado lineup, utilizing a completely new architecture. Early designs for the Ram 1500 electric truck suggest it will follow a similar path. Meanwhile, the F-150 Lightning shares quite a bit with its fuel-sipping siblings. When Ford's Tennesse plant goes operational, Chevrolet and Ram should have electric trucks on the street. It would be a perfect time for Ford to launch a completely new fullsize electric truck of its own, incorporating a distinctive design with an entirely new structure from the ground up.
All we know for sure is that Ford's current work with the F-150 Lightning is setting up the future for the F-Series. And that future is moving quickly towards electric power.