New Ford electric F-150s roll out in Sacramento, nationwide

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With its new F-150 Lightning, Ford is turning America’s most popular electric vehicle — and hoping to bring pickup truck drivers into the EV market.

The shiny new Ford F-150 youook to Sacramento’s streets Monday, rolling past the Tower Bridge and into Old Sacramento, drawing attention from drivers and passersby.

Orville Thomas, a midtown resident and former F-150 owner who test drove the truck, said pickup drivers have long been wary of the push toward zero emissions, often represented by flashy Teslas or cars clearly meant for city driving.

Thomas said any Ford F-150 driver would feel right at home in the new electric.

“[F-150 drivers] would know everything. The shifter is the same, the wheel is the same, the body is the same,” Thomas said.

The F-150 Lightning may look the same as its gas equivalent, but it is missing one main feature — the engine. Where a typical large gas engine would be, the Lightning has an added front truck, or “frunk.”

The Lightning boasts 320 miles of range on one charge, and can go from 0-60 in four seconds.

The new electric truck rollout comes at a particularly popular moment for electric vehicles. Gas prices are soaring nationwide — reaching an average of $6.40 per gallon of regular in California on Monday, according to the American Automobile Association — and California state policy says that all new vehicles must be zero-emission by 2035.

But while electric sedans such as Teslas have become a common sight on California roads, the market for electric pickup trucks has remained small. The first electric truck, a Rivian, rolled out in September 2021. It starts at $67,500, according to Kelly Blue Book.

Ford’s new Lightnings start at $39,974.

Cary Tinker, an Elk Grove resident who saw the truck while walking in Old Sacramento Monday morning, remarked that the truck seemed made for him, as he had recently switched from a standard F-150 to a Tesla. He said he would definitely consider an electric truck in the future.

“Once you have an electric vehicle, you never want to go back,” Tinker said.

Bob Mabunga, a West Sacramento resident, said the electric F-150s seem to be filling a gap in the market.

Mabunga said that he needs a truck for various house projects, but he has been hoping to make the switch fully to electric. An electric truck “would be the goal,” he said.

For Thomas, the new trucks would represent a return to the familiar. The F-150 was his first ever truck in 2001, and the change in the last 20 years has been “incredible,” he said.

Thomas has test driven the Rivian electric truck as well, but said he was more excited about the new Lightnings.

Ford spokespeople said Monday that the new electric truck is meant to be an option for longtime F-150 and other pickup truck drivers looking to go electric, but also for those used to sedans who are looking for a new electric options.

“The Ford F-150 has been running now for 45 years straight as a number one vehicle, so it’s an easy slide-in, to actually capture a large market,” said Ford spokesman Keith Ellison.

With Ford pledging to become carbon neutral by 2050, and investing $50 billion in electric vehicles through 2026, it is likely that the public could soon see more electric versions of iconic Ford models, Ellison said.

For now, the Lightnings are being delivered to those with reservations, but the waiting list is open to anyone.

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Amelia Davidson is a summer reporting intern for The Sacramento Bee. Originally from Maryland, she is a junior at Yale University where she majors in American studies and serves as the university editor of the Yale Daily News.

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