Several electric pickup trucks are about to hit the market, and a Ford F-150 EV will be one of them. But as the F-150 EV’s release date approaches, there’s still a lot we don’t know for certain. Not least of which is what Ford plans on calling its F-150 electric truck. One recent rumor, though, suggests the Blue Oval is resurrecting a beloved nameplate for the job. And if it’s true, that means the Ford Lightning will ride again.
The original Ford Lightning was the fast F-150 Raptor of the ‘90s and early 2000s
There’s no shortage of high-performance pickup trucks on the market today, like the F-150 Raptor and Ram 1500 TRX. And these trucks owe their existence to the high-performance pickups of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and early 2000s. GM had the GMC Syclone and the Chevrolet 454SS, for example. Before Ram had the TRX, it had the Ram SRT-10. And before there was an F-150 Raptor, there was the Ford Lightning.
The Ford Lightning—or to give its proper name, the SVT Lightning—debuted in 1993, just as the 454SS was exiting the market, Hagerty reports. Compared to the contemporary F-150, the 1993-1995 Ford Lightning rides 2.5” lower on upgraded Monroe shocks and aluminum wheels. It also comes with larger brakes as well as thicker sway bars.
Plus, it has a heavily upgraded version of the F-250’s engine, a 5.8-liter V8 rated at 240 hp and 340 lb-ft, Hagerty and MotorTrend report. So, despite using a four-speed automatic, the first-gen SVT Lightning goes 0-60 mph in 7.2 seconds, MT reports. That’s not necessarily fast today, but it was back then, especially for a pickup.
The next-gen Ford Lightning, though, was even faster. Instead of a 5.8-liter V8, the 1999-2004 SVT Lightning has a supercharged 5.4-liter V8, Hagerty reports. Initially, the supercharged V8 made 360 hp and 440 lb-ft, and let the RWD truck go 0-60 mph in 5.5 seconds, MT reports. But in 2001, the Ford Lightning got an output bump to 380 hp and 460 lb-ft, TruckTrend reports. This dropped the 0-60 mph time to 5.2 seconds and made it the world’s fastest production truck, MT reports.
The Ford Lightning name could return on the upcoming F-150 electric truck
Unfortunately, after 2004 the Ford F-150 became too heavy to make the Lightning viable, Road & Track explains. That’s why it, along with its related SVT cousin, the Thunder, was canceled and the F-150 Raptor took over. And while there were rumors the nameplate would return, the upcoming F-150 Raptor R seemed to be the final nail in the coffin.
However, that might not be the case after all. Earlier leaks suggested the upcoming F-150 electric truck would be called ‘E-150.’ But according to Ford documents obtained by Car and Driver, the F-150 EV will bear the Lightning name instead. The electric Ford F-150 truck will also reportedly be the fastest and most powerful model in the F-150 lineup. And that includes the upcoming Raptor R, R&T points out.
As of this writing, we don’t know exactly how much horsepower or torque the hypothetical electric Lightning will offer. Car and Driver estimates an output of over 450 hp and a 0-60 mph time under 5.0 seconds. But we do know that, unlike the V8-powered models, the electric F-150 will have dual motors and AWD.
What we still don’t know
As of this writing, Ford has neither confirmed nor denied the Lightning rumors for its upcoming F-150 electric truck. Speaking to Car and Driver, a company spokesperson said, “‘we’re excited to introduce the all-electric F-150 very soon, but we don’t comment on speculation about future products.'”
Besides the horsepower and torque ratings, we also don’t know what kind of range the Lightning could offer. However, The Drive points out that Ford recently patented a removable range extender that could theoretically give the electric truck over 300 miles of range. And if Ford offers larger optional battery packs, the electric F-150 could travel up to 400 miles on a charge, Motor1 reports.
Also, we don’t have an exact release date for the electric Ford F-150 beyond ‘mid-2022.’ But if the Lightning returns, it’s likely fan anticipation will be even higher.
UPDATE 5/10/2021: It’s official: the electric Ford F-150 is using the Lightning name.
Follow more updates from MotorBiscuit on our Facebook page.