Ford broke ground on a new manufacturing plant outside of Dearborn, Michigan, where it will build an electric version of its extremely popular pickup truck, the F-150. The new facility, located within the automaker’s historic Rouge Complex, will be completed in time to start production on the new electric truck, slated for mid-2022.
That release date means the F-150 EV will likely hit the road after electric pickups from a number of Ford’s rivals. Tesla’s Cybertruck and General Motors’ electric Hummer pickup are slated to be released in late 2021. EV startup Rivian is aiming to ship its first electric pickup trucks in early 2021 (alongside an electric SUV) after production was delayed by COVID-19.
Ford is spending $700 million to build the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, which, in addition to the electric F-150, will also host production for the F-150 Power Boost hybrid. The automaker says the new facility will support 300 new jobs in battery assembly and production of the F-150 Power Boost hybrid and fully electric F-150.
Ford also released some new details about the battery-powered F-150:
The Rouge Complex upgrade is just the latest news on Ford’s effort to add more EVs to its lineup. Like all automakers, Ford is engaged in a costly project to boost its high-tech offerings, including EVs, partial and fully autonomous vehicles, connected-car services, and shared vehicles like electric scooters. The company has said it will spend $11.5 billion to produce over a dozen electrified models (which includes EVs and hybrids) by 2022.
The electric and hybrid F-150s are just one piece of Ford’s push into electric vehicles. The Mustang Mach-E electric SUV is being released at the end of this year. Ford has also invested more than $500 million into electric truck startup Rivian and is working with the company on an electric vehicle for Lincoln. (Another project involving the three brands has already been canceled due to COVID-19.) Ford has also entered into a partnership with Volkswagen that will see the US automaker use the German giant’s battery tech in an electric car slated for the European market in 2023.
The new version of the regular gas-powered F-150 will also come brimming with new tech features, including an optional hands-free driving mode, over-the-air software updates, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Ford has been teasing the electric F-150 for years. In 2019, the company showed off a video of a prototype version of the truck pulling 10 double-decker train cars over 1,000 feet.