Somewhere, Thomas Edison is smiling down on the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pick-up. It probably reminds him of his very early work to justify electric trucks. No doubt it would also remind the great inventor of the life-long friendship he enjoyed with Henry Ford.
Ford executives claim the F-150 Lightning will be a true pickup truck designed for commercial work. The truck is a competitor to the much advertised Tesla Cybertruck, and shares similar specs on size, range, and towing capacity.
Designed and built to anchor Ford’s projected $42 billion truck market, this vehicle will cost from $40,000 to $90,000 with top end options. It’s powered by two electric motors and a battery pack instead of a traditional gas engine. It will be offered in two battery options with targeted ranges of 230 miles or 300 miles. It’s all about progress toward a zero-emissions, digitally connected future.
A fascinating feature of the F-150 involves an at-home charger and an inverter that would automatically draw power from the truck when it’s plugged in — enough to power an entire home or critical products during a power outage.
The hunt for an economical electric-powered car started much before the recent efforts of Ford and other modern companies. Just four years after the introduction of the gas-powered car, Edison led an effort to develop a storage battery that would be suitable for cars in 1899.
He worked to develop an alkaline battery that was more durable and less hazardous than his existing lead-acid battery, but battled the challenges of its heavy weight, high cost, and short running time. The average consumer actually preferred Ford’s Model T that was released just one year after Edison had perfected his battery, as explained in the biography, Edison: A Life of Invention. However, many companies who saw the savings over time did, in fact, use electric delivery trucks powered by Edison’s batteries.
Car engineers of today continue to be challenged with the same difficulties that Edison identified with these batteries. However, consumers are much more eager to test electric cars today than they were in Edison’s time. In a survey of nearly 30,000 people, Piplsay found that 57% were excited about the Ford F-150 Lightning and a majority were the most impressed by Ford’s electric pick-up truck over the ones from Tesla, Chevy, and GMC.
With the Ford F-150 lightning, Tesla cybertruck, Chevrolet Silverado, and GMC Hummer all on the horizon, it is clear that electric trucks have come a long way from their pre-1920’s start. Surely Edison would agree!