UAW vote results: Change coming to top leadership ranks

Ford's forthcoming battery-electric truck to be called 'F-150 Lightning'

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co.'s battery-electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck is coming — and now it has a name.

The Blue Oval revealed Monday that the truck will be dubbed "F-150 Lightning." The vehicle itself will be unveiled May 19 via a livestreamed event from Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn.

Ford Motor Co. on Monday revealed that the battery-electric version of the F-150 will be called F-150 Lightning.

F-150 Lightning is part of Ford's initial portfolio of electric vehicles that includes the Mustang Mach-E, which launched at the end of last year, and the forthcoming electric version of the Transit van. The automaker recently has accelerated its transition to electrified vehicles, including with the announcement in February that it would increase its investment in EV development to $22 billion through 2025 and the news that Ford plans to build a $185 million global battery development center somewhere in southeast Michigan.

The electric F-150 is slated to launch in mid-2022. Ford said Monday that production is scheduled to begin next spring at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, a brand-new facility recently built between Dearborn Truck Plant's assembly and paint plants in Ford's Rouge complex.

A screen being installed on the south side of Ford World Headquarters is visible on Monday.

“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,” Ford CEO Jim Farley said in a statement. “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."

F-Series trucks are the best-selling vehicle in America, and Ford's profit engine. The automaker also recently debuted a redesigned version of the gasoline-powered F-150 for model year 2021. 

F-150 Lightning, meanwhile, "will be built with quality and a commitment to sustainability by Ford-UAW workers at the Ford Rouge Complex — the cathedral of American manufacturing and our most advanced plant," Farley added.

Some 500 workers will be based at the approximately 500,000-square-foot EV facility. Construction of the facility was announced in September, when Ford said it would invest some $700 million in the Rouge complex to support production of the F-150 lineup. The gasoline-powered version of the F-150 is built right next door, and the new EV center will be connected via conveyor belt to the plant's paint shop.

The 9:30 p.m. EDT event May 19 will be broadcast live with more than 30 ways to view it, including Ford's Facebook and YouTube channels, and Twitter. The automaker said the reveal also would include "key national publications" and 18 "impactful out-of-home locations such as Times Square in New York City and Las Vegas Boulevard."

Workers erect a screen over the south side of the Ford Motor Company World Headquarters, in Dearborn, May 10, 2021.

Meanwhile, passersby might have observed some work being done on the facade of Ford World Headquarters in recent days. A projection screen can be seen on the south side of the Glass House that faces Michigan Avenue. With the F-150 Lightning reveal scheduled at the headquarters building next week, the project likely is tied to the event — but Ford has not confirmed that.

"There is nothing to share today, but there will be details soon," spokesman Ian Thibodeau said in a statement Monday. "Watch this space."

The Blue Oval has been here before. After the automaker acquired the historic Michigan Central Depot in 2018 to anchor plans for a tech and mobility hub in Detroit, Ford partially draped the station in a giant projector screen that it used to share images with the Corktown neighborhood.

A quote from the Detroit Tribune in 1913 projected onto the front of the Michigan Central Depot in Detroit on June 15, 2018.

Twitter: @JGrzelewski