Ford F-150 Lightning

Last week the Ford Motor Company unveiled what might be the most significant new product since the Apple Computer. If you think climate change is important.

It’s a pick-up truck.

The all-electric F-150 Lightning.

Why is the BayBuzz editor gushing over this vehicle? I’ll get to that.

But to put it in context, today the far and away top-selling vehicle in the US is Ford’s current petrol F-150 pick-up. The F-line sold 896,526 vehicles in 2020.

[By the way, the best-selling vehicle in NZ happens to be the Ford Ranger!]

The next two best-sellers were also pick-up trucks, together winning 1,150,351 sales. That’s how dominant Ford’s trucks have been.

The next two in sales were SUVs from Toyota and Honda.

Only at position #6 do you get to what you and I might regard as a ‘normal’ passenger car … the Toyota Camry, coasting in with a ‘puny’ 294,348 sales.

So, the significance?

Ford has bet the house on electric, leading with its best-selling vehicle. Indeed, its best-seller for 44 years! In fact, the most sold truck on the planet.

And this is not a ‘statement’ EV for the rich and famous.

It will retail at entry level for US$39,974 (about NZ$55,500), which makes it an accessible middle-class vehicle, before the Government-provided tax rebates for EVs, which can add up to US$7,500 per vehicle.

It’s a car to be used – all-wheel drive at all times, 230 mile (370kms) and 300 mile (482kms) battery options, full charge overnight, tows 10,000 pounds (4.5 tonnes), hits 96km/hr in 4.5 seconds.

And it includes a ‘Frunk’ — a trunk (OK, a Fronnet) in the front.

But the single thing that most impresses me? This truck is a power plant! It can provide full-home power for up to three days on a fully charged battery (and that’s US-style electricity consumption!) and ten days if you’re rationing your use. Throw away your diesel generator! And it has 8 power outlets for normal on-the job use.

Here’s the website if you’re not sold yet (unfortunately, no commissions for me).

Better still, here’s the launch video – folks here’s what a world-class product launch looks like. I didn’t intend to, but I watched the entire 33 minutes. Yikes!

So BayBuzz is excited. Why, really?

This is a monumental move by a world-leading auto company. Among other things demonstrating once again that the most conscientious businesses are leaving governments in the dust when it comes to addressing climate change.

One after another global auto company has announced terminal dates for their internal combustion (ICE) vehicles … and those dates aren’t far off. Cars are easy. What Ford has done is a death blow to ICE utility trucks … the mother’s milk of the ‘car’ industry.

Here in NZ, our Government struggles with mandating fuel-efficiency standards, with one of the reasons from opponents being “We need our grunty utes and trucks.”

Cowpies. This truck is good enough for New Zealand. Order one Jacinda! It tows much more than a Ford Ranger.

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  1. Although EVs might be small part of the “answer” initially, they are problematic in that they lock in car culture and come with lots of negative environmental and social consequences, particularly in connection with the mining of the rare minerals used in the batteries. As with any “miracle solution” which largely allows us to continue Business As Usual there are always downsides and unintended consequences. Any proposed solution/fix needs to be assessed taking into account the whole story – use of resources, embedded energy & waste throughout the life of the solution, social consequences etc.

  2. To reduce emissions requires far more than an increased EV take up.

    Consider California – a very large market – where in-state electricity generation accounted for 68% of CA’s demand in 2018; of which 47 % was Natural gas, the remaining 32% was imported – including from Utah and Nevada, primarily coal fired.

    The net effect of adding new Ford EV pickups into the CA market will simply be a substantial increase in emissions.

    Marginal load increments in any power market are serviced by the marginal generator – in CA’s case that is thermal.

    We need to ensure we apply systems thinking to NZ’s EV initiatives before embarking on simplistic feebates and similar market distorting subsidies.

  3. Agreed. Currently in NZ any additional electricity supply requires coal (or diesel generators). Hydro electricity from more dams is environmentally damaging and few (no?) economic sites are left.
    Therefore every additional requirement for electricity in NZ will require more coal. So until NZ has far more expensive wind and solar generation, each EV burns more GHG than a petrol or diesel vehicle. IF we opt for only EV’s as a way forward large parts of the electricity supply system will need upgrading – unless wind and solar generation sites can be supplied throughout NZ. Very unlikely.

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