I wish I hadn’t bought the story.
Ford, the pickup truck gorilla, was going to take over the electric pick up market which was going to crush the gas and diesel portion over the next few years.
Ford knows the pickup business like nobody else. The Japanese and Koreans know new cars, but trucks are a mystery for them. The Germans can spell BMW, but for hauling a boat or a jalopy, “nein.”
So when Ford brought in new management, a swami from Apple, and committed at least five years of earnings to building lithium ion batteries and the vehicle to put them in, I figured they were going to win the gold medal.
They had Tesla, GM, and upstart Rivian to beat. Elon had an Andy Warhol design, but it looked like it would have big trouble hauling gladiolas.
GM, well, it had Mary Barra talking trash on Bloomberg, but if it couldn’t be Ford in gas and Diesel trucks, how was it going to finish first in electric pickups?
Rivian was a novice, parked in the old Mitsubishi plant in Bloomington, Illinois, and Ford owned 12% of the stock, so they had an Insider’s view of their progress–or lack of it.
They held four 10s in the pickup poker game for domination. I was waiting for the Lightning to strike and the stock would reach for Tesla heights.
Then stuff started to go wrong. Everything was delayed because the computer chips were stuck in Long Beach or Shanghai, and the Chinese Communists were quarantining the workers because they were paranoid about COVID. I wonder why?
Lithium was in short supply and the battery plants were sluggish in pulling things together. Everything was going up in price, so Ford kept raising their prices on F-150 Lightnings, which were late to the dealers.
Finally they put a few sexy Lightnings on the street and people started towing things. After all, these vehicles were not Tesla Y models for the country club luncheons. They were theoretically supposed to pull things and get dirty before they ran out of juice in the forest.
Real people started pulling awkward, ugly stuff, not the nicely designed magazine tests where Ford was a big advertiser. Instead of getting 250 miles before a recharge was needed, they struggled to pass 100 miles before drivers started sweating.
Ford’s tests were usually in mild weather on fairly flat surfaces. But then Joe Public videoed some of their tests and put them on YouTube. Don’t you hate that if you are Ford?
GM and Rivian got similar results. Elon Musk was still cracking the whip, but he was also trying to save Ukraine and figure out his Twitter fiasco.
Ford stock is down almost 40% from its euphoria of nine months ago. Their $35,000 pickup is now $50,000, and it is breathing heavily, carrying a backpack uphill. Folks who would love the thrill of pulling a boat with their electric are having second thoughts.
Life is tough when you are trying to do something that hasn’t been done.
Question: What would an electric truck have to be able to pull for you to purchase one?
Anyone with a D (or higher) grade in high school psychics and a basic understanding of batteries and electricity should not be surprised by this end result. No free lunch, and no free energy. My interest level would begin when the electric was comparable to a gas version.
Ford – a world leader in design – caught into the scheme that electric cars and trucks are ready for the main stream. They forgot a huge part of their trucks use is in rural areas, pulling all kinds of things. Then you throw in hot weather & cold weather – ie rancher in SD may need to have reliable vehicle during cold weather spells long distances from their home. Reality caught up with them – performance and cost of the electric trucks, the lack of a proper electrical grid, the poor performance of batteries, the lack of lithium & other components – then lets consider the upfront costs, the depreciation and where all the heavy metals in the trucks go once their life is over. The cart is way in front of the horse. Our government, media and the green new deal folks have no idea what happens when you try to push new technology into a place it might not be very viable for the end user at this time. Driving around the city for short periods of time is not what many end users do in their everyday working lives.
Seems there is a long way to go before this would an effective Farm truck
They aren’t ready for prime time yet. Early adopters and people who use their truck for a car can probably work with it. Those of us who drag a boat or a couple sleds up north are going to be disappointed until the range is improved and the ability to charge is improved.
Using a truck for what it was built for changes the whole consumption dynamic, but you put up with it because you expect to drive through 6″ of snow with the heater on and a trailer with 4 sleds on it that weighs 4000 pounds or more plus gear and 4 people inside. A stop at the gas station for a fill up and a case of beer is routine, and it takes 15 minutes at 10 at night with 100+ more miles to go. Waiting 2 hours for an electric “charge” every 100 (or even 200) miles just isn’t going to work on a Friday night trip to the UP. If you can find a charging station at all….
Then, we can talk about that 8000-pound boat getting blown around by everything that passes it. Going to need a Lightning 250 for that, or 350 if you want to do it right.
I guess in the electric vehicle world that is trying to get rammed down our collective throats, you just can’t do that any more.
I hope I will be retired when I have to drive my electric service truck to a job and use my portable electric welder to repair a electric farm tractor. but that just me.
When will corporations serve the shareholders, and not the politicians and special interests?
The fools pushing this agenda are not affected. They don’t build things or make things work.
They only tear things down and create misery with their idea of utopia…
They dream about a world existing on unicorn farts…
I will be all in for an electric vehicle when the president’s “Beast” and Air Force One is all electric!
Until then I will have gas and oil heat, gas and diesel vehicles, a propane BBQ, and gas powered generators for when it all falls apart!
As Scottie said in Star Trek: Captain, YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE LAWS OF PHYSICS!
The issue should be well known to anyone who is familiar with electric motors: the more load you put on them, the more current they draw. Often a lot more. This isn’t much issue when said current is coming from a 4400hp diesel engine hauling many thousands of tons of freight on steel rails, as the systems of a locomotive can maintain the max current level they can handle/generate as long as they have fuel and don’t overheat the electrics. But even these can’t escape entirely that at low speeds and under heavy loads, electric motors draw enormous amounts of current – engine less locomotives known as “slugs” are sometimes needed on steep, long grades to spread the current over multiple powered axles to keep the motors themselves happy. (Loco gensets will happily produce more current at low speeds than the motors will handle,)
So, attach a heavy load to a battery, and see how hot it gets…which, of course, reduces its efficiency…and throw in wildly changing loads, braking reclamation…and the fact the motors themselves get worse as they get hotter…it becomes a recipe for bye-bye voltage in a hurry. Nevermind that if left unlimited a battery will happily supply current until it self-destructs, and you get a recipe for heavy load=bye-bye range.
This could likely be improved with multi-speed or continuously variable transmissions, keeping the motors in a range of load/speed where they’d draw less current and be happy. Ask the guy at work who races electric RC cars what happens when he gears up or down. But EV manufacturers seem allergic to the idea. Wonder why.
For those interested…real life comparison test when towing a trailer.
My 8500 pound boat with the ease my diesel GMC does.
I will be waiting a while
Not so much how much it will pull but how FAR it will pull. My daughter rents her camper out occasionally. On this particular day a guy pulled up in a new Rivian. had been waiting 3 years for it. Was so proud of it. I believe he said it would pull 9000#. They were going to go about 180 miles round trip for the weekend. When he brought it back on Sunday, he was pulling it with his Jeep. I asked where the EV was. He said he watched the mileage to go as he was pulling the camper home. He decided he did not want to risk getting “stranded” and needing a charge so the took the Jeep. For a perspective on the camper, my daughter pulls it with her 2018 Honda Pilot with no special equipment and her Pilot was no where near the $78K he paid for his Rivian. Can buy a LOT of gas for the difference and never have to worry about getting stranded. EV will have their place and their day and improve each year but will be a while in my opinion before they outnumber good old gasoline or diesel engines. Imagine trying to pull your camper to Florida for the winter with an EV.
I can pull 9000LBS 250+ miles before stopping to fuel up, it takes about 10 minutes to do that if you include bathroom and snacks! The first pick-to match that for under $90,000 might be considered.