Hail and lightning struck Ogden
Turn off the gas: is America ready to embrace electric vehicles?
Ford unveiled its new F-150 Lightning pickup this week – but electric vehicle success in this car-loving country is far from certain Joe Biden inside the new Lightning last week. “This sucker is fast,” he said. Photograph: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images In Detroit, auto factories have been making trucks built from Motor City steel and powered by gasoline for decades. But this week’s rollout of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck offered a vision of the future in the automotive heart of the United States: aluminum-clad pickup trucks running on electric powertrains with batteries in the car. lithium. Analysts say an affordable $ 40,000 electric model of the nation’s best-selling vehicle could change the course of the auto industry and do more to advance the electrification of the transportation sector than any recent development. “Offering a well-known vehicle at a competitive price could really help advance the electric vehicle agenda in the United States,” said Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com. Meanwhile, Ford has called the introduction of the Lightning a “watershed moment,” but it also represents a major gamble. The F-150 epitomizes American ruggedness and begs the question: is the meat and potato base of the truck market ready to embrace eco-friendly electric vehicles (EVs)? This is uncharted territory, said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Autotrader. The success of the Lightning or any other electric vehicle depends on a major infrastructure construction which is far from certain. “There’s no EV collection market right now, so we just don’t know how big it might be, or what consumer acceptance will be,” she said. Consumers of trucks are generally unwilling to switch to cars just to go electric, Krebs said. So launching them on the Lightning not only opens a new market for Ford, but is a crucial step in the country’s efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, of which the transportation sector accounts for 29%. EV transition is a key part of Joe Biden’s climate plan, which calls on the country to cut emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to net zero emissions across the economy. by 2050. Although EVs only account for less than 2% of new vehicle sales in the United States, there might not be a better line to push the needle on those numbers than the F-Series. Last year, Ford generated about $ 42 billion from the sale of more than 800,000 F-Series trucks, according to data from the company and Edmunds.com. Sales of the F-150, the line’s light truck, topped 556,000. The Lightning feature that seems to get the most attention isn’t under the hood or in the cabin, but on the price tag. With the tax incentives for electric vehicles, the base model of the truck could cost around $ 32,000 – less than a $ 37,000 gasoline F-150 with a crew cab. In contrast, the GMC Hummer EV and the Rivian R1T are priced at $ 80,000 and $ 70,000, although they are slightly flashier. The Lightning also marks one of the first attempts to electrify a well-known everyday vehicle that appeals to a mass market. Previously, electric vehicles were mostly small cars of unconventional design that appealed to environmentally conscious people who made a personality statement with their vehicle, Caldwell said. The “pendulum has swung” in terms of design, she added. The range of Lightning is also remarkable. One charge will take a base Lightning 230 miles, or, for an additional $ 20,000, the extended range trim will cover 300 miles. It can carry up to 2,000 lbs of payload and tow up to 10,000 lbs. However, Ford does not offer any data on range with a heavy payload or towing, and Car And Drive has estimated it to be as little as 100 miles. It’s the kind of detail that could keep consumers away from not just Lightning, but all electric pickup trucks. On a 150kW DC fast charger, the extended range trim targets up to 54 miles of range in 10 minutes, or just under an hour on a full charge. It’s not hard to imagine a scenario in which someone who could buy a truck to tow a motorhome a long distance once or twice a year opting for a gasoline F-150 instead of being hampered by an hour-long stop to recharge every 100 miles or so, Caldwell said. But several Lightning features every now and then generate a buzz, like a drain hole in case the cabin needs watering. Its dual battery system can power tools in the field or a home for three days in the event of an outage. The F-150 Hybrid was used as a mobile generator during the recent fatal blackouts in Texas. Ford chief engineer Linda Zhang unveiled the Ford F-150 Lightning in Dearborn on Wednesday. Photograph: Carlos Osorio / AP Power of the Lightning is another selling point – it can go from 0 to 60 mph in just over four seconds, delivers 775 lb-ft of torque, and the full-range model targets 563 horsepower . That was enough to impress the president, who tested a Lightning during a stop in Michigan last week. “This sucker is fast,” he said. Among those who will need to harness the full power and transport capacity of the truck are contractors. It’s worth considering, said Dave Alder, an electrician in Detroit, especially if it could save on gas. But he worried about where he would charge it, and said it was a bit of a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” situation with his gasoline Chevy Silverado. The Lightning has the backing of the United Auto Workers union, which has at times been skeptical about electrification. The truck will be built at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, which is located just outside of Detroit and adjacent to the Dearborn Truck Plant that produces gasoline and hybrid F-150s. Lightning production is expected to start next spring, with trucks arriving on the ground in mid-2022. Building infrastructure is critical to its success, and Biden’s $ 2 billion infrastructure plan includes $ 174 billion to support the EV transition. Biden framed his argument by repeatedly claiming that the United States is in an electrification race with China. “The future of the automotive industry is electric. There is no going back, ”he said at the Lightning unveiling. “The question is whether we are going to lead or if we are going to fall behind in the race towards the future.” The auto industry’s membership could help Biden push his proposal forward to Congress, although it is uniformly opposed by the GOP. Republican leaders have highlighted the lack of infrastructure as one of the main reasons for opposing spending on the transition of EVs, but at the same time oppose funding for infrastructure construction. U.S. consumers have said they won’t buy EVs without the infrastructure in place, Krebs said, leaving the industry in a “chicken and egg” situation. “That’s the key – they have to have charging infrastructure in place or this will all go kaput,” she said.