Ford doesn't want you to forget that an all-electric F-150 is also in the works, even while Michigan-based EV-startup Rivian is forging ahead and stealing headlines with its R1T EV pickup. (Full disclosure: Ford and Rivian are partners in EV crime, collaborating on a vehicle unrelated to the forthcoming Mustang-based crossover and electric F-150.) Wise to the fact that actions speak louder than words in the truck world, Ford grabbed the latest EV F-150 prototype, headed for the train yard and hitched the rig to 10 double-decker rail cars loaded with 42 2019 Ford F-150 pickups. You can see the the whole operation in the video below.
To make sure the message hit the demographic, Ford rounded up a cross-section of stereotypical hard-working, F-150–loving Americans for some impromptu color commentary. After giving the assembled crew the lowdown, Ford F-150 chief engineer Linda Zhang first flat-tows the 42 trucks, to the amazement of onlookers. Then her team loads the 42 trucks on 10 rail cars and repeats the stunt for dramatic effect. One wonders what type of space-age material the tow strap is made of.
This is a bit ironic, since most modern "diesel" locomotives themselves rely on electric motors for propulsion. The massive diesel engine simply drives a generator that transforms that energy into electrical power to feed to the locomotive's electric motors. This not only takes advantage of the on-demand torque capabilities of an electric motor, but also permits smooth modulation of said torque through throughout the speed range, and for trains of varying lengths and loads.
The mighty grunt displayed by the F-150 EV prototype is not too surprising; one of the primary advantages of an electric motor over an internal-combustion engine is its ability to deliver instant torque in a smooth fashion right from a standstill. The problem, in terms of utilizing them for automotive use, is energy storage. As the battery capability, energy storage, and efficiency ramp up, so does the amount of range between charge cycles. For what it's worth, there's generally no shortage of industrial generators on construction sites, which might be advantageous to an enterprising owner of an EV pickup.
When, specifically, the electric F-150 will come to market is a question Ford is not yet prepared to answer, only stating that it has "confirmed it is bringing an electric F-150 to market."