Ford has seen over 100,000 reservations of its F-150 Lightning, its all-electric pickup, as the automaker looks ahead to what might come next in its big EV strategy. Announced last month, the 2022 F-150 Lightning takes what’s Ford’s best-selling model and reworks it with a dual-motor electric drivetrain, promising up to an estimated 300 miles of range.
It’s a bold strategy, following Ford’s adoption of the Mustang brand for its Mustang Mach-E electric crossover. As with the electric F-150, it has proved somewhat contentious among long-time fans of the two models, though Ford has put the F-150 Lightning on a charm offensive with worksite-friendly features like mobile power station use.
Despite any controversy, the initial response was warm. Ford passed 20,000 reservations – which require a refundable $100 deposit – in under half a day, the automaker announced, and only a couple of days after that it had more than doubled that figure. Four days later, the figure had risen to 70,000 and now, CEO Jim Farley has confirmed, Ford has passed the 100,000 reservation point.
Reservations, of course, aren’t the same as finalized orders, though they’ve gained traction in the auto industry in recent years in no small part thanks to Tesla. Elon Musk’s company has made a routine of announcing upcoming models several years before production is due to begin, allowing would-be owners to secure a place in line with a refundable deposit. The Tesla Cybertruck, the automaker’s EV pickup announced in late 2019, has several hundred thousand reservations at least, though production isn’t expected to begin until later this year and actual sales of the truck have not begun yet.
Farley announced the Lightning milestone in an interview with the New York Times, as well as dropping some hints about what comes next on Ford’s EV roadmap. In addition to the electric F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E, Ford is also bringing an electric version of its Transit van to market later in the year.
Likely to be next is an electric Explorer SUV, Farley confirmed. So far, that’s the company’s most popular SUV in the US this year, with over 108,000 sold as of May 2021. Ford currently offers an Explorer Hybrid, from around $45,000, which pairs a 3.3-liter gas engine with electric motors and is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds.
Beyond that, though, Ford is already looking to more electrification in its pickups. The automaker announced the 2022 Maverick earlier this week, its smallest and most affordable truck, and one which targets an audience which might traditionally have looked to crossovers or SUVs instead. In addition to a starting price of around $20k, the new Maverick features a hybrid engine as standard and uses a significant proportion of recycled or otherwise eco-friendly materials, as Ford attempts to upend assumptions that trucks must be less economical or efficient than sedans or other body styles.
Farley said that he could envision an electric Maverick, which would presumably be either a plug-in hybrid or all-electric rather than the regular hybrid in the current version of the pickup. By 2030, Ford has said, around 40-percent of its models should be electric, as it attempts to rebuild momentum in the EV segment.