Your locomotive in the shop? No problem. Or so it might seem if you can get your hands on one of Ford’s prototype all-electric pickups.
While the truck is still several years away from production, the Detroit automaker is demonstrating off its potential muscle with a video showing a prototype pulling 10 double-decker rail cars and 42 conventional F-150 pickups – a load of more than 1 million pounds.
“The all-electric F-150 will be a new and exciting kind of ‘Built Ford Tough,’” said Ted Cannis, Ford’s director of electrification, in a blog post. “We’re aiming to blow away truck customers with new capabilities that they never saw coming.”
That said, don’t expect to actually see the eventual production version of Ford’s all-electric pickup roll out of the factory with the capacity to tow a million-pound load. As a disclaimer added to the Ford press release points out, “The all-electric F-150 prototype is towing far beyond any production truck’s published capacity in a one-time short event demonstration.”
With towing one of the most important attributes for pickup buyers, it’s no surprise to see Ford stage the stunt to promote the all-electric truck it is developing. We’ve seen plenty of automakers go to similar efforts.
Last January, GMC revealed its new Sierra HD line at the harbor in San Diego where it towed a 225,000-pound yacht and boat lift. A Toyota Tundra was used to move the retired, 292,000-pound Endeavor space shuttle to the Los Angeles Science Center several years back. Manufacturers have used this trick even for SUVs and, in one case, a Mini, the all-electric version recently used to pull a specially equipped Boeing 777.
The fact is that electric motors can develop incredible amounts of torque almost instantly, something that really does enhance towing capabilities, even under normal conditions. Rivian claims its upcoming R1T pickup will be able to handle a load of up to 11,000 pounds when it comes to market sometime in late 2020.
We’ll have to wait to see what Ford’s all-electric pickup will deliver.
The automaker has yet to announce timing for that version, but it has already confirmed that a hybrid F-150 is on the way and will go into production next year.
General Motors has also announced plans to come up with a battery-powered Chevrolet Silverado and, most likely, a GMC version, as well. While Fiat Chrysler has not discussed its options, new global powertrain chief Micky Bly recently told TheDetroitBureau.com that the automaker has “a lot of (battery-based) product coming,” It has already launched a mild hybrid versions of the Jeep Wrangler and is expected to add that technology to its pickups. Full, and even plug-in hybrids could follow, as well as an all-electric model.
The question is whether these electrified trucks, once in production, will come close to matching the towing muscle of today’s conventionally powered trucks. That won’t be as easy bogey. The current record-holder is the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado HD with the Duramax Diesel package that can haul a load of up to 35,500 pounds.