Ford’s quest for electrification has forced the Dearborn-based auto giant to make some key moves to not only draw attention but show just how flexible the firm’s green technology can be. The 2021 Mustang Mach-E proved that the Mustang nameplate could indeed go beyond the established muscle car mold. But what if you’re looking for something more utility-focused, something that can go and do truck stuff? Ford might have just the answer, with the company confirming that the iconic Lightning nameplate will be making its return on the upcoming F-150 Lightning.
An Old Classic But With A Twist
Last seen on the 2004 F-150 Lightning, the nameplate signified the F-150’s halo adorned cousin and also served to warn rivals that there was indeed a thunderstorm brewing under the hood. Back then, the Lightning was all about tapping into the performance truck market and while the first generation Lightning was more of a mild performance special with extra styling. The 1999-2004 Lightning turned up the noise with a supercharged 5.4 liter V8 being show-horned into the engine bay. While the large eight-cylinder was not very fuel-efficient, it was very good at making the F-150 go really fast in a straight line. The party was brief, though, with the F-150 Lightning being retired in 2004 to make way for the Raptor, which would take its place a few years later.
It appears that it will largely be business as usual regarding the reborn Lightning’s mission, with Ford claiming the truck will be the most powerful F-150 yet with the model capable of receiving over-the-air updates (OTA). The biggest change, of course, is that there will be no V8 here with this iteration of the F-150 Lightning being powered by an all-electric powertrain.
“Every so often, a new vehicle comes along that disrupts the status quo and changes the game … Model T, Mustang, Prius, Model 3. Now comes the F-150 Lightning,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. “America’s favorite vehicle for nearly half a century is going digital and fully electric. F-150 Lightning can power your home during an outage; it’s even quicker than the original F-150 Lightning performance truck, and it will constantly improve through over-the-air updates.”
When Will We See The F-150 Lightning?
Ford didn’t reveal too many details in today’s release, with a glimpse of the badge being our only peek at the truck for now. However, the company did confirm that the truck will be making its debut via a virtual event on May 19th, when the F-150 Lightning will be unveiled at Ford’s world headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The stream will be available on all of Ford’s social media channels, and the company claims that interested buyers will have 30 plus ways of seeing the event.
The truck will then go into full production at Ford’s Rouge assembly plant, with the first production units launched in mid-2022. We look forward to hearing more formal performance numbers when that date comes and how it will stand out on its own from the gasoline-powered F-150. In the meantime, the re-emergence of the Lightning nameplate is worth celebrating, and it will be good to see the F-150 Lightning prowl the streets once again.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.