You Don’t Have to Wait for an Electric F-150 Anymore
Ford’s all-electric F-150 is coming…eventually. Although the automaker is working with Rivian, who is making its own electric pickup, the electric F-Series might not arrive until 2021. Maybe in 2020, if development goes smoothly. By then, the Rivian R1T and Bollinger B2 will have debuted, too, leaving Ford with a fight on its hands. But it may be possible to get an electric F-150 sooner than that. If you’re willing to sacrifice a bit of range, Canadian firm Ecotuned can electrify your F-150 today.
How Ecotuned create an electric Ford F-150
Ecotuned, as Green Car Reports detailed, isn’t aiming to be a full automaker. Rather, the Montreal-based company wants to be the top North American electric vehicle converter. And that’s exactly what Ecotuned has done to create its electric F-150.
Taking an old truck nearing or after the end of its powertrain warranty, Ecotuned strip away the drivetrain. Engine, transmission, fuel system, exhaust: all gone. In their place is an electric motor, two-speed transmission, and all the necessary batteries and electronic controls. The company even replaces the fuel gauge with a charge indicator.
All the components are off-the-shelf, but they’re not cheap knock-offs. The electric motor is made by Borg-Warner and develops 214 hp and 295 lb-ft. Not as much as the F-150’s V8 or EcoBoost V6, but still good for 106 mph and a 12-second 0-60. But it’s the transmission that really helps the F-150 along. Made by racing-component firm Bert, it lets the Ecotuned truck tow up to 18,000 lbs. That’s more than even the Max Trailer Tow package allows.
The batteries—which can be placed anywhere, even under the hood—range in capacity from 43-86 kWh. In 48-kWh form, Ecotuned spokesperson Pierre Gladu claims to have traveled up to 124 miles at once, though official range is quoted as 87 miles. The 86-kWh version can allegedly go up to 99 miles on a charge while towing 14,500 lbs. With onboard Level 2 charging, the truck can recharge in 6 hours.
Apart from the electric-propulsion components, the rest of the truck stays stock. The batteries and electronics hook up to the standard radiator for cooling. The F-150’s weight only increases by about 4% (roughly 200 lbs), so the suspension, 4WD system, and even ABS also remain unchanged.
How the Ecotuned truck compares to other electric pickup trucks
In terms of speed, power, and range, the Ecotuned F-150 is down compared to the Tesla Cybertruck, R1T, B2, and even Ford’s own electric F-150. The cheapest Cybertruck will max out at 110 mph and have a claimed range of 250 miles.
The R1T’s smallest battery pack will come in at 105-kWh, although that won’t be available until late 2021. But it will give the R1T 230 miles of range, and can allegedly regain 200 miles in less than 30 minutes of charging. And with four motors, the Rivian pickup will develop 750 hp and 829 lb-ft, with a 125-mph top speed and a 3-second 0-60. The Bollinger B2 only has two motors, making 614 hp and 668 lb-ft, but with a 120-kWh battery pack, it’ll go 200 miles on a charge. Top speed is lower than the Ecotuned F-150, at 100 mph, but the B2 will charge in 75 minutes.
However, the Ecotuned F-150 does beat them all out when it comes to towing and affordability. Even the $69,900 tri-motor Tesla Cybertruck will only tow up to 14,000 lbs. The $69,000 Rivian R1T maxes out at 11,000 lbs and the $125k Bollinger B2 at 7,500 lbs. And as we’ve shown, the electric F-150 can really only tow one million pounds under special circumstances.
The Ecotuned F-150, meanwhile, currently costs approximately $23,000-$30,000 depending on the battery capacity. But Ecotuned hopes that, with enough development time and orders, the price of a turn-key electric F-150 conversion can get down to $19,000.
Why does this electric F-150 kit matter?
Most importantly, affordability. Even at the current price, the Ecotuned kit makes owning an electric truck very affordable. While a single-motor Cybertruck will have a longer range, it will also be almost twice as expensive. Plus, it won’t offer 4WD. One of the biggest things holding wide-spread EV adoption is cost.
The turn-key, bolt-on design also means any F-150 can become an electric one. Even ones without an engine can be recycled for use. Have an old F-Series in the garage with an engine on its last legs? Turn it into an electric truck. It takes two days for a two-mechanic team to do it.
Arguably, this might be the best way to minimize truck-based emissions. Old trucks find a second life—which means less new ones might have to be made—with a cleaner, more efficient energy source. Ecotuned also claims the converted trucks will be able to run for 600,000 miles: fleet managers are going to save a bundle on oil changes and engine maintenance.