Last weekend, I published an article arguing that the US auto industry needs a push to transition its biggest segment, trucks, to being powered by batteries and Tesla unveiling its all-electric pickup truck could be that needed push.
Interestingly, a few days later, Ford made a rare comment on a possible all-electric pickup truck.
As we previously reported, Ford announced earlier this year that they plan to introduce a hybrid powertrain in the F-150 in 2020. We are not talking about a plug-in powertrain here, it would still be completely reliant on gas and that is still 3 years down the road.
This week, Business Insider talked to Raj Nair, Ford’s chief technology officer, and asked him about making an all-electric version of the F-150 instead. He insisted that a hybrid version makes more sense right now, but he kept the door open for a battery-powered only version:
“I would never rule out anything like that,”
Ford is instead planning for its first all-electric vehicle built from the ground up to be a crossover utility vehicle (CUV) and Nair says that is because they don’t have to worry about capacity:
“In a CUV, you aren’t too worried about payload or towing, but it’s very different for a truck. And when you put that number of cells and that much weight into the vehicle, it does cut into payload and towing,”
That’s fair, but Tesla is already fitting today 100 kWh battery packs into a sedan like the Model S and Lucid Motors claims that it can fit a 130 kWh pack in the even smaller Lucid Air.
Those energy capacities could offer some great payload or towing performance in a pickup and while it is currently expensive, it will be much less even by the time Ford comes up with a hybrid version in 2020. And we haven’t even considered the gas savings either, which would be even greater in that segment.
At the current rate of energy density and cost improvement for batteries, a HEV powertrain in 2020 will likely feel like old technology.
What do you think? Should Ford start working right now on a BEV F-150? Let us know what you think in the comment section below.