Market Trends

A Huge Step to Normalize EVs

Though the all-new F-150 Lightning was a predictable action for Ford, it was made in a way that manages to help all electric cars

Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum

There is no denying that electric cars are on the rise. The industry is making motors more powerful and batteries more capable. In many countries, the government is doing its part by relieving taxes and encouraging companies to make their production local. However, there was still an issue which hindered their market performance.

Combustion and electric powertrains have very different design requirements. After focusing on the former for decades, they became the norm; components such as the front grilles became essential and the industry is now struggling to make EVs attractive while respecting their standards. But things have come a long way since the 1990s.

First of all, there were blob-shaped cars like the first Honda Insight and Toyota Prius. Years later, the Mitsubishi i MiEV and the Toyota iQ attempted to start a market niche but failed. In the early 2010s, models such as Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf showed that automakers started to get things right. Now, the story is getting a new chapter.

Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum

What exactly is that story?

While it was necessary for EVs to go through an experimental phase, that very phase threw them into a vicious circle: low efficiency and questionable design prevented them from selling well and the resulting low revenue slowed down any investment that could bring them the necessary improvement. That circle took long to be broken.

People know that switching to EVs is the latest right thing to do, but things get different when it comes to actually buying them: they will resist anything that requires too many concessions. Abandoning fossil fuels is not enough to make them buy ugly, expensive or impractical cars, for example. It was necessary to work on their image as well.

Ford’s latest release gains importance in this context because, as this article’s title states, it helps normalize electric vehicles. We already know it is good to buy them and they are already reaching a high technical level; even prices are becoming more interesting. Now, it was time to directly work on making them truly desirable to everyone.

Ford F-150 Lightning XLT

How can that be done?

Instead of creating a whole new model with unknown market reception, Ford worked on a proven one — more specifically, the best-selling automobile in the U.S. for almost four decades. As if it was not enough, it gave a new meaning to the Lightning name: it was originally applied on a performance version made available in the mid-1990s.

Externally, the Lightning only differs from the regular F-150s at the full-width LED lines that connect both headlights and both tail lights; the front grille was replaced by a visually similar cover and the wheels have smaller openings, but none of that stands out and that’s the good thing: choosing the electric model should not be a public issue.

Ford followed up with this plan by offering the electric powertrain on multiple trims including the work-oriented Pro. By encouraging all types of consumers to use it in all typical contexts of pickup trucks, the company is giving it a real chance to prosper in the market just like any of the other trim and powertrain options currently offered.

Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

What can we expect now?

Every now and then, the government of one more country decides to enforce tougher emission regulations in the near future, so it was a matter of time for the electric propulsion to become the new standard. Models such as the F-150 Lightning are simply something automakers can do to embrace that tendency and eventually profit from it.

Now that motors are more powerful and batteries are more capable than ever, they can be applied to pretty much any model without limiting its capabilities. Such exposure to so many applications will give automakers a lot of feedback and help them make EVs as generally reliable as any current car powered by a internal-combustion engine.

Over time, we can also expect automakers to switch their generalist platforms to electric powertrain in order to cut production costs even further. Diesel and gasoline engines will be limited to commercial and high-performance models, respectively, although we are already seeing important advancements of EVs in those segments as well.

After adopting the all-aluminum body, the F-150 is challenging the status quo once again by offering an all-electric variation in one of the most conservative market segments. Do you think that Ford’s release will make electric cars even more popular around the world or is it still ahead of its time? Share your ideas using the button below!

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Danillo Almeida

Danillo Almeida

Content writer and engineer-to-be who aspires to work in car design. If you like cars but not the stereotypes that surround them, give my articles a try.