As F-150 goes electric, a look at F-Series milestones through the years

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. launched full production of the F-150 Lightning Tuesday, a battery-electric version of America's best-selling truck and Ford's profit driver. Here's a look back at some of the other milestones in the F-Series truck lineup. Ted Ryan, archives and heritage brand manager at Ford, provided historical information and photos in an interview with The Detroit News.

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• 1948: Ford launched the F-Series pickup as its first all-new vehicle after World War II. Early buyers were mostly farmers, manufacturers and small business owners, according to Ford. The lineup went up to the extra heavy duty F-7 and F-8 trucks.

• 1953: F-Series was redesigned for Ford's 50th anniversary. The truck line's numbering system switched from single digits (F-1) to hundreds (F-100).

• 1959: The first factory-produced 4x4 F-100 and F-250 were introduced. Up to that point, they were only available with two-wheel drive.

1975 Ford F-150 Ranger XLT pickup truck.

• 1974-1975: In 1974, Ford introduced the SuperCab, and in 1975 it debuted the F-150. "The one-two punch in '74-'75 is where Ford trucks as we know them today were really born," said Ryan. "Suddenly your cabs have gotten bigger. They're becoming more comfortable. The trucks are becoming more like cars that have a bed on them."

1977: F-series became the best-selling pickup in the U.S., a title it's held on to ever since. 

• 1982: F-Series became the best-selling vehicle overall in the U.S.

• 1997: Ford introduced redesigned F-150 and F-250 models with more comfortable interiors and dual airbags. At that time, a standard three-door SuperCab was added, marking an industry first for a full-size pickup.

• 2014: The F-150 was redesigned for model year 2015. That changeover included the introduction of a military-grade aluminum alloy body.

• 2020: Ford debuted the 14th generation F-150, redesigned for model year 2021. The latest version of the truck is available with a hybrid powertrain.

• 2022: F-150 Lightning, the first all-electric version of America's most popular truck, launches.

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Twitter: @JGrzelewski