Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

2019 Ford F-150 Raptor

American buyers can’t get enough of the Ford F-Series. The Dearborn-based firm sold over a million pickup trucks in 2018, so it’s understandably worried about what will happen to that number if customers one day flock to smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles. To hedge its bets, Ford has announced it will add the F-150 to its portfolio of electrified vehicles.

“We’re going to be electrifying the F-Series — battery electric and hybrid,” Jim Farley, Ford’s president of global markets, revealed during a presentation made on the sidelines of the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. We’ve known about the gasoline-electric F-150 for a while, but Ford has never talked about a pure electric model before.

Technical details, like much else, remain under wraps for the time being. The project remains at the embryonic stage of development so Ford hasn’t floated horsepower and torque specifications or a range figure. We don’t know where the electric F-150 will be positioned in the lineup, though it’s reasonably safe to assume the truck won’t go electric-only in the near future. The gasoline- and diesel-powered variants will stick around in the foreseeable future.

Ford will shift its electrification offensive into high gear in the coming years, and the hybrid model will arrive in showrooms as a 2020 model, but it hasn’t revealed precisely when it will introduce the first battery-electric F-150. Odds are it won’t be based on the current-generation model (pictured), however, which suggests it won’t arrive until after the turn of the next decade. When it goes on sale, it will face competition from a growing number of rivals. Most are startups looking to capitalize on the increasing popularity of electric cars.

As it stands, it looks like the Blue Oval’s most serious competitor will be Rivian. The firm introduced a concept car named R1T at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show that’s entirely electric, rugged, shockingly fast, and boasts 400 miles of range. It’s due out in late 2020. Another, even lesser-known company named Atlis emerged from stealth mode in early 2019, and Tesla co-founder Elon Musk previously said he’s dying to build a pickup truck. General Motors and Ram (Ford’s arch rivals) haven’t announced their own electric truck, but our crystal ball tells us it’s only a matter of time.

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