How the F-150 Lightning and Rivian R1T electric pickups stack up

The Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Rivian R1T and Ford F-150 Lightning.

  • Slowly but surely, electric pickups are set to start hitting streets in coming months.
  • The Rivian R1T is already in production, and the F-150 Lightning comes in spring 2022.
  • Here’s how the two e-trucks stack up across range, capability, pricing, and more.

The electric-pickup wars are heating up.

Electric-vehicle startup Rivian began producing its debut model, the outdoorsy R1T, in September. And Ford recently started building preproduction F-150 Lightning pickups ahead of the truck’s spring 2022 launch.

One could argue that these trucks are aimed at completely different buyers. The F-150 is a familiar, work-ready truck from an industry heavyweight, while the R1T is a feature-packed lifestyle vehicle from an exciting upstart.

But seeing as these will be the two main options for electric truck buyers for the time-being, there’s bound to be some overlap. Here’s how they stack up:

Range

The Rivian R1T has an estimated range of 314 miles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The company says a 400-plus-mile battery is on the way.

The Rivian R1T.
The 2022 Rivian R1T.

Ford says the base F-150 Lightning will be able to travel 230 miles on a full battery, while an optional larger pack will deliver 300 miles of range.

Price

Like Tesla, Rivian is aiming for the luxury end of the market. The base Explore model starts at $67,500, while a fancier Adventure trim will run you $73,000. A bigger battery pack is a $10,000 add-on.

The F-150 Lightning starts at around $40,000 for a basic work truck (the Pro trim). However, like other F-150s, the Lightning can get considerably fancier and more expensive when you start looking at options and higher trim levels.

A fully loaded Lightning will cost around $90,000, roughly the same as an R1T will all the bells and whistles.

Size

The F-150 Lightning is the bigger truck of the two. It’s 232.7 inches long, compared with the R1T’s 217.1 inches. They’re about the same width with the mirrors folded in.

Ford F-150 Lightning with a trailer
Ford F-150 Lightning.

Much of that extra length comes by way of the Lightning’s bed, which measures 5.5 feet. The R1T’s bed is a foot shorter, but it’s meant more for hauling camping equipment than lumber.

Performance and Capability

Both trucks offer silent, forceful acceleration and excellent handling thanks to powerful electric motors and a low center of gravity.

In terms of the numbers, the R1T promises more than 800 horsepower and over 900 pound-feet of torque from its four motors – one at each wheel. The F-150 Lightning’s pair of electric motors put out 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque when mated to the larger battery pack, Ford says.

[EMBARGO 9/28 DNP] Rivian R1T
The 2022 Rivian R1T.

The R1T also performs tremendously well off-road, thanks to an advanced four-wheel-drive setup and adjustable air suspension.

Towing and Payload Capacity

The R1T’s maximum towing capacity and payload rating are 11,000 pounds and 1,760 pounds, respectively. For the Lightning it’s 10,000 pounds and 2,000 pounds.

Features

Both pickups offer interesting features you can’t get in a gas-powered vehicle. Both have spacious front trunks, though the F-150’s is the roomier of the two. The R1T sports a Gear Tunnel – a horizontal storage cubby behind the rear seats – that’s one of a kind.

The Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck.
The Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck.

The Lightning offers up to 9.6 kw of power through outlets in the frunk and bed. And thanks to its Intelligent Backup Power feature, it can power your house in the event of a blackout.

Interior

Like Tesla before it, Rivian gave the R1T a sleek and minimal interior with barely any physical buttons. A giant central touchscreen controls pretty much every vehicle feature.

The Lightning’s cab is mostly shared with Ford’s gas-powered F-150s. While it isn’t quite as tech-heavy as the Rivian, it gets a big central touchscreen as well. Both vehicles can receive over-the-air software updates.

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The chip crisis is helping automakers and dealers do something they’ve been wanted for decades: quit offering incentives and deals

Mustang Mach E GT Performance Edition 03
Mustang Mach-E GT Performance Edition.

  • With fewer new vehicles to sell, car companies are getting more money for the ones they make.
  • One consultant told Bloomberg that US automakers are receiving up to $10,000 more on trucks and SUVs.
  • Ford’s CEO previously said the pricing power is “breathtaking” and is changing production strategy.

The most elementary tenet of economics is the relationship between supply, demand, and prices. If there’s suddenly less of something that a lot of people want, it’s going to get more expensive.

At the same time, having competition in the marketplace encourages suppliers to increase supply and lower prices in order to win a larger share of buyers in the market.

Indeed, that is the game that Ford, General Motors, and the predecessors of Stellantis have been locked in for decades, with each making as many cars as they could hope to sell and cutting prices with incentives and deals to attract customers.

This year’s shortage of semiconductor chips turned all of that on its head.

Faced with very real constraints on this necessary component, automakers were forced to make fewer vehicles with the chips they did have. Naturally they chose to prioritize those models that had the highest demand and made them the most money.

At the same time, the reduction in the supply from all brands meant that dealers could make a sale without the traditional haggling over the vehicle’s sticker price. The result has been a boon for automakers.

Mark Wakefield, a consultant with AlixPartners in Detroit, told Bloomberg that US car companies are now making $3,000 more per car than average, and up to $10,000 more on certain pickups and SUVs.

One dealer who sells upgraded pickups in Ohio told Morning Brew that his dealership recently closed a deal in 52 minutes that would have taken four hours before the chip shortage.

“The surprising part is the average selling price on those trucks is close to $100,000, and the consumer demand has still been sky-high,” the dealer said.

Ford CEO Jim Farley said in June this new pricing power was “breathtaking” and indicated that the company wouldn’t be returning to the days of guessing over how many cars it should produce and then marking them down until they sell. GM CEO Mary Barra has also said that customer orders will play a larger role in her company’s production strategy.

Kevin Tynan, an autos analyst for Bloomberg, told Insider earlier this year that the industry has been trying to get off of the incentives and discounting model for decades.

“They don’t totally hate this,” he said, referring to the shortages. “Moving forward you’re probably going to get more an industry more like what we’re seeing now, where supply is a little bit more managed and incentives are not as aggressive as they’ve been.”

In order for inventory to remain low and prices high after the the chip-supply problems are resolved, the automakers will be bound up in a version of one of economists’ favorite games, “The Prisoners Dilemma,” forced to cooperate, Wakefield says.

Once that ends, the first company to sacrifice profits to gain market share will likely cause others to follow suit and they’ll be right back where they were before the pandemic. (As a reminder, Federal law prohibits the companies from organizing to coordinate their strategies.)

Tynan expects the better margins automakers are enjoying this year will convince them to leave the old model in the past.

That may be good news for automakers and investors, but that also means consumers can expect to continue to see fewer options, higher prices, and a tighter used vehicle market going forward.

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Biden calls Ford’s new electric F-150 ‘a big boy’ while promoting his infrastructure plan in Michigan

Biden F 150   Photo by NICHOLAS KAMM:AFP via Getty Images
President Joe Biden drives the Ford’s new all-electric F-150 Lightning in Dearborn, Michigan

  • President Biden called Ford’s new electric F-150 truck as a “big boy” while speaking in Michigan.
  • Biden took the truck for a test drive in a visit to Ford’s Dearborn development center in May.
  • The $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill includes grants for electric vehicle charging stations.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden praised Ford’s relatively new electric F0rd F-150 as “a big boy” and “a big one” during a Tuesday afternoon speech in Michigan to promote his infrastructure agenda in Congress.

“I got to drive that sucker,” Biden said. “It’s quick, zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds. And it’s a big boy, it’s a big one.”

Biden, who has a well-known love of cars, took the electric truck out for a spin during a visit to the Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan in May.

“It feels great,” Biden said when asked by a reporter how it felt to be behind the wheel of a car. He also requested that one of the assembled crowd use a stopwatch to time how long it takes for the truck to go from zero to 60 miles per hour.

When a reporter asked if she could ask him a foreign policy question before he floored the gas, Biden joked, “No you can’t, not unless you get in front of the car before I step on it. I’m only teasing.”

Biden is now attempting to steer the passage of his ambitious economic and infrastructure agenda through Congress, often finding himself on a collision course with Republicans and even some members of his own party.

The White House is both trying to maneuver a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill through the US House of Representatives, and pass of a larger, Democrat-only economic and social spending bill through both chambers of Congress by the end of Biden’s first year.

But, much like parallel parking into a tight spot on a city street, Biden has little room for error with a narrow majority in the House and a Senate equally divided between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans.

Biden focused much of his speech on Tuesday on countering China’s dominance in certain areas of technological development including in the electric vehicle space.

The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes $7.5 billion in grants to create a network of electric vehicle charging stations in rural and low-income areas, among other clean energy-related measures.

“The whole world knows that the future of the auto industry is electric, and we need to make sure that America builds that future instead of falling behind,” Biden said in his speech Tuesday. “I want those jobs in Michigan, not halfway across the board.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

14 easy-to-miss details that set the F-150 Lightning apart from Ford’s gas pickups

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

  • I got to check out Ford’s upcoming electric pickup truck: the F-150 Lightning.
  • It looks a lot like a gas-powered F-150, but with some key differences.
  • The Lightning has a front trunk, a new hood, a giant touchscreen, and power outlets galore.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Across a crowded parking lot, you might mistake the upcoming F-150 Lightning for just another gas-drinking Ford truck.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

But once you dig deeper, the traits that set apart Ford’s electric pickup become clearer.

F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

Up front, you’ve got a textured black panel instead of a grille – a tell-tale sign that there’s no engine under that hood.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

The headlights and taillights have been redesigned with a more angular look.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

The Lightning also gets an LED light bar spanning the entire width of the truck in front.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

There’s a matching LED strip running across the rear.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Lightning badging can be found on the sides of the bed…

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Along with a more subtle logo out back.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

The charging port is under this little door on the front fender.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford redesigned the front fenders, hood, bed sides, and running boards for aerodynamics and to fit the new lights and charging door.

Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

But that’s pretty much it for exterior changes.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Under the hood, the F-150 Lightning has a roomy front trunk dubbed the Mega Power Frunk.

Ford F-150 Lightning frunk.
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s frunk.

Read More: The Ford F-150 Lightning’s massive frunk is packed with useful features — take a closer look

It has a handful of power outlets…

The Ford F-150 Lightning's frunk.
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s frunk.

An extra storage cubby under the floor…

The Ford F-150 Lightning's frunk.
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s frunk.

… And a removable panel you can use as a storage divider.

The Ford F-150 Lightning's frunk.
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s frunk.

Stepping inside the Lightning, you can’t help but notice the 15.5-inch touchscreen that dominates the dashboard.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

It’s just like the one in the Mustang Mach-E EV and has an actual volume knob embedded in it.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Other than that, the cab is pretty much the same as a conventional F-150.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

The Lightning has all the options you can get in Ford’s other trucks, like a fold-out work surface and seats that recline 180 degrees.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

That’s one of the most notable features of the Lightning – just how much it shares with the F-150s people are already familiar with.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford went through a lot of trouble to give the Lightning’s bed the exact same dimensions as other F-150s, despite the giant battery hidden underneath the floor.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

That way, F-150 owners can use their existing racks and other accessories on their new EV.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

The Lightning’s tailgate has the same built-in work surface found in other 2021 F-150s.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

It also has the same tie-down points that double as bottle openers on either side of the tailgate.

The Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

The preproduction Lightning I checked out also had an optional step that folds out from the tailgate.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

The EV’s bed does have one thing you won’t find in other pickups (except the hybrid F-150): 7.2 kilowatts of power available through several outlets.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Preproduction of the F-150 Lightning started in September and deliveries are set to begin in Spring 2022.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Pricing starts at around $40,000 for a basic work truck but can stretch to $90,000 for a Lightning with a bigger battery and all the bells and whistles.

The Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning

Read the original article on Business Insider

Rivian wants to raise up to $8 billion in its hotly anticipated 4th-quarter IPO, report says

rivian r1s
Rivian R1S.

  • Rivian is looking to raise as much as $8 billion in its upcoming IPO, CNBC reported.
  • The electric truck maker is backed by big names including Amazon and Ford.
  • The company has a lineup of electric SUVs and pickups, and has partnered with Amazon for electric delivery vans.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Electric truck maker Rivian is gearing up to go public in the fourth quarter and is looking to raise as much as $8 billion in its IPO, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The company, which is backed by Amazon and has garnered additional investment from Ford and T. Rowe Price, filed documents last month indicating its intent to go public. A raise of $8 billion would make Rivian’s the fourth largest IPO of the last 10 years, according to Reuters, just behind Uber’s public debut in 2019.

The company’s EV lineup include an electric SUV and an electric pickup truck, with plans to begin fulfilling pre-order deliveries later this year. It has also partnered with Amazon to manufacture electric delivery vans for the online retail giant.

Rivian has raised $10 billion since 2019, making it one of the most well-funded startups. Its IPO would allow it to expand operations, with plans to add additional manufacturing capacity beyond its current factor located in Normal, Illinois, Reuters said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

See inside the cutting-edge new factory where Ford will build the electric F-150 Lightning

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

  • Ford’s first electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, is coming in spring 2022.
  • The Blue Oval is building a brand-new facility to assemble the EV in Dearborn, Michigan.
  • The plant is packed with new tech like autonomous vehicle carriers, robots, and charging plugs.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Ford is almost done building out a brand-new, state-of-the-art plant where it will assemble the electric F-150 Lightning.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
The Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

The Blue Oval is still putting the finishing touches on the facility, but I got an early look inside.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

The clean-sheet Rouge Electric Vehicle Center comes as part of Ford’s $700 million investment in its Rouge Complex, where it also manufactures gas-powered F-Series trucks.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center Rendering
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center Rendering

The 500,000-square-foot plant will start pumping out F-150 Lightnings closer to the EV’s official delivery date of spring 2022.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

For now, Ford is testing out equipment and fine-tuning the manufacturing process.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

The truck’s frame and body will get built nearby, and its battery packs will come from another yet-to-be-announced location. This shiny new building is where all those parts will come together into F-150 Lightnings.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

F-150 cabs and pickup beds will arrive by conveyor belt with a fresh coat of paint.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

From there, they’ll make their way to different stations where workers will add on all the interior and exterior bits that turn these hunks of metal into working trucks.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

This big open area will eventually become the staging area for parts.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Partly-built vehicles will move through the factory floor on autonomous electric sleds.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

The sleds follow a magnetic track glued into the floor and can sense when a person crosses in front of them.

F-150 Lightning Factory.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Each sled has a built-in lift to bring parts to a comfortable height for any given worker or task.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

When the sleds are stopped at a station, they gather energy through charging points scattered along their route.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

In a conventional plant, the entire assembly line is connected and moves at the same speed. But these sleds can move at different speeds, allowing for more flexibility, Ford says.

F-150 assembly line.
The traditional F-150 assembly line.

Each station has a computer that knows what configuration of truck is up next and tells the worker what they need to do. The vehicle won’t move down the line until the right bolts are fastened and other tasks are completed.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

That screen will also notify workers of any changes to production or other updates.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

The plant is outfitted with electric tools that sense not only torque, but also strip-outs and cross-threads.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Some more advanced pieces of equipment can shoot in multiple bolts at once, saving workers time and helping them get to hard-to-reach spots, like inside the bed.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

What you immediately notice about the plant is that it feels open and airy since so much equipment is up off the ground.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

On the other side of the building from where the bodies arrive is the chassis shop, where frames are built up with suspension and other components.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

These giant robots pick up a frame and a battery pack and put them together.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Later on, a massive scissor lift drops down, picks up a cab and bed, and plops it down onto a chassis. From there, the nearly completed truck moves onto the final stages of assembly.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Some of the last things to go on and in the vehicle are the wheels and fluids.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

This tool tightens down all of a wheel’s lug nuts at once.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

At this station, a robotic arm presses down on the truck.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

This is how Ford calibrates the truck’s onboard scales, which will measure how much is in the bed for more accurate estimates of battery range.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

At the end of the line, a truck rolls through a series of final quality checks.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

There’s an automated vehicle inspection booth that uses dozens of cameras to check for any missing or incorrect parts.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Then workers do a visual inspection under bright lights.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Here’s where the water tests happen.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Then there’s one final visual inspection.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

The pickups will make one last stop at a charging station to fill up their batteries before heading out the door.

Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where it will build the F-150 Lightning EV.
Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

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Nio falls as the EV maker plans biggest US stock sale by a Chinese company since Didi IPO

Nio

Electric-vehicle maker Nio slid as much as 6.8% on Wednesday after it announced plans to sell up to $2 billion in US-based shares, the biggest such offering since Didi’s IPO.

NYSE-listed shares in Nio fell as low as $37.81 on Wednesday from the previous day’s close of $40.59.

Shanghai-based Nio had previously signaled it would pursue a second listing in Hong Kong, following the lead of rivals like XPeng, which did so in June.

Analysts cited by Bloomberg disagreed on whether the $2 billion in US shares indicated further hurdles in the Hong Kong listing process. Deutsche Bank’s Edison Yu said delays in Hong Kong might’ve spurred the company to turn to American markets. But Bloomberg Intelligence’s Steve Man differed, saying the most likely rationale is curbing the company’s debt costs.

The $2 billion dollar share sale would be the biggest US offering by a Chinese company since Didi Global raised $4.4 billion from US investors in June – just days before its share price tanked.

Nio’s fundraising push comes as the auto industry continues to feel the squeeze of the global chip shortage. Last week, Nio announced vehicle deliveries had fallen around 25% from July to August thanks to the “uncertainty and volatility of semiconductor supply.” XPeng reported a similar drop – although Li Auto, another Chinese EV rival, saw 10% month-over-month delivery growth.

Also last week, Ford slashed production of its flagship F-150 pickup truck, blaming a lack of chip components, while Elon Musk said the next-gen Tesla Roadster would likely be pushed back to 2023.

Nio shares closed at $38.15 on Wednesday, falling 6% on the day.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Ford hires the longtime Tesla executive who led Apple’s secretive electric car project

Ford F-150 Lightning
  • Ford hired a longtime Apple and Tesla executive.
  • Doug Field will help develop parts of Ford’s new software products and connected car services.
  • Field ran Apple’s secretive electric car project and oversaw the development of the Tesla Model 3.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ford on Tuesday announced it had hired Doug Field, a longtime executive at Apple and Tesla, as its new chief advanced technology and embedded systems officer.

Field most recently served as vice president of special projects at Apple, where he oversaw the company’s secretive electric car program, code-named Project Titan. From 2013 to 2018, Field held various positions at Tesla, including senior vice president of engineering.

He led the development of the popular Tesla Model 3, before leaving the company in 2018. Before his time at Tesla, Field had worked a five-year stint in engineering and design at Apple.

Field will lead Ford’s development of what it calls Blue Oval Intelligence, a new range of software services for consumers and commercial customers. That includes things like wireless vehicle updates, infotainment software, and driver-assistance technology.

The move could be a setback for Apple’s electric vehicle project, which launched in 2014. The tech giant wants to start production on a self-driving Apple-branded EV by 2024, Reuters reported in December.

Apple has reportedly met with a handful of potential manufacturing partners, including South Korea’s Hyundai, but no concrete production plans have been announced.

Read the original article on Business Insider

I got an early ride in the electric Ford F-150 Lightning. No truck has any business being this quick.

F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

  • I rode in the F-150 Lightning, Ford’s first electric pickup truck.
  • The Lightning delivers ridiculous acceleration and handling for a boxy, 6,500-pound truck.
  • Ford says the F-150 Lightning hits 60 mph in 4-5 seconds and boasts up to 563 horsepower.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

From afar, the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning looks like nothing special.

If you weren’t looking for them, you might not notice the truck’s LED light bars, enclosed grille, and subtle bodywork changes that signal it isn’t just another of the millions of gas-fueled Ford pickups seen rumbling down US roadways daily.

Stepping inside the truck, there’s nothing that screams “electric” or “futuristic” either. Unlike some other new EVs coming to market, it’s not overly sleek or techy looking. The Lightning gets a giant central touchscreen but its interior is, by and large, shared with the rest of the F-150 lineup.

F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

Once the Lightning gets moving, however, it becomes abundantly clear that it’s no ordinary truck, something I learned riding shotgun in the new vehicle around Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan test track.

Creeping around a parking lot, the Lightning was silent, unassuming. But all that subtlety vanished the instant the Lightning’s chief engineer, Linda Zhang, floored it onto one of the track’s straightaways.

From a stop, the Lightning blasted forward with breathtaking force, throwing me back into my seat. We were at 90 mph before I knew it. Getting up to highway speeds in a conventional truck means waiting for gears to shift as the engine revs to higher RPMs. There’s none of that hesitation in the F-150 Lightning – it takes off with all its might immediately, and it just keeps hauling.

You can experience roughly this sort of instant, powerful acceleration in any EV, from a commuter Kia to a high-performance Audi. But the sensation is so much more surreal in a bulky pickup like the Lightning, a truck that, by the looks of it, has no business smoking sports cars in a straight line.

None of this should’ve come as a surprise. Ford promises the all-wheel-drive Lightning will produce 775 pound-feet of torque and up to 563 horsepower. It pegs 0-60 mph at between four and five seconds, making the Lightning the quickest Ford truck ever. Even knowing all this, hurtling around the track so effortlessly in something so large felt bizarre. The way the Lightning zips around silently, without the familiar groan of an engine or even much wind noise, made the experience even stranger.

Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

A beast of a vehicle, the 6,500-pound Lightning weighs over 1,000 pounds more than a standard F-150 due to its 1,800-pound battery pack. But you wouldn’t know it riding shotgun. The Lightning felt oddly light and feathery as Zhang flicked it around the track.

Through sharp turns, the truck was remarkably planted. There was practically none of the body roll you’d expect from a high-riding vehicle that’s some six feet tall. This is largely thanks to its hefty battery pack, which sits beneath the truck’s floor and lowers its center of gravity, helping with handling.

Parked in a lot at the track after a too-brief test ride, the Lightning could, at a glance, blend in with the other F-150s milling about. And that was kind of the point. Ford aimed to make an electric truck that’s familiar, yet brings capabilities to the table that you just can’t get in a conventional pickup.

The absurd performance I experienced during my test ride is one perk that Zhang hopes will draw buyers in.

“The performance, the ride, the capability of being able to tow, to haul, and really just move quickly – I think is a big why-buy for this truck,” Zhang said. “It’s one of those vehicles that once you get into it you’re just like, ‘Wow, I don’t think I can go back.'”

Read the original article on Business Insider

I spent a week with the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E. These are my favorite features.

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

  • I spent a week living with and driving the 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
  • The crossover is Ford’s first mass-market electric vehicle.
  • Ford packed it full of cool and useful features, like a waterproof frunk and a 360-degree camera.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I spent a week with the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, Ford’s first mass-market electric vehicle.

Although my first EV road trip hit some snags, the Mach-E was overall a joy to drive and packed plenty of cool features. Here are my favorites:

Frunk

Mustang Mach-E frunk
The Mustang Mach-E’s frunk.

Front trunks – frunks – used to be reserved for high-end, mid-engined exotics. Now they’re becoming more prevalent as EVs, which don’t have engines taking up space under the hood, grow in popularity.

I reckon that’s a good thing, because who doesn’t want more storage?

On my recent trip, the Mach-E’s frunk proved super useful for stowing away soggy camping equipment and muddy shoes I’d hesitate to throw in the SUV’s cabin. The frunk is made of hard plastic that’s impossible to stain and has a drain plug so you can hose it out when needed. It’s a place you can toss your dirtiest stuff without fear.

FordPass

A map of charging stations displayed on the FordPass app.
A map of charging stations displayed on the FordPass app.

In theory, I like the idea of driving a car – or doing most things, really – without the need to fumble through an app. “OK, boomer,” you’re thinking to yourself. Point taken.

I was pleasantly surprised, however, to find that the FordPass app was intuitive and a massive help for getting places in the Mach-E. Mainly, it made charging a breeze.

The app lets you search for nearby plugs, filter for ones that deliver faster charging or are in the FordPass network, and pay seamlessly once you’re done filling up. Plus, the app displays and updates a vehicle’s current battery level and charging speed. That meant I could plug the Mach-E in, walk away, and keep tabs on it from afar.

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The app notified me whenever the Mach-E reached 80% charge, or when it had gained enough energy to continue on a pre-planned route. And when a cruel Hyundai Kona Electric owner unplugged the SUV before it was done charging, the app pinged me about that too.

Ford Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0

2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E.

The Mach-E comes standard with all manner of safety features as part of its Co-Pilot360 2.0 package, but what really blew me away was Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0, Ford’s competitor to Tesla Autopilot.

When the tech, a combination of adaptive cruise control and lane centering, is switched on, the Mach-E slows down and speeds up to maintain a set distance to the car ahead. It also automatically drives in the center of its lane and follows bends in the road. It does both of these things exceptionally well.

This doesn’t mean that the Mach-E can drive itself. No car on the market can. But it makes long stretches of boring highway driving much more tolerable. Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 was also a godsend in bumper-to-bumper traffic. When it encountered a jam, the Mach-E would slow down from highway speed and do all the tedious crawling wonderfully.

You have to keep your hands on the wheel and pay full attention to the road, but I still found that when I had Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 turned on, I ended trips way less fatigued than when I do 100% of the driving.

360-degree camera

The interior of the Ford Mustang Mach-E.
Ford Mustang Mach-E 360-degree view.

My test car came with a 360-degree camera, which is an option on some Mach-E trims and standard equipment on others.

When reversing, the Mach-E’s giant screen showed not only the typical backup camera feed, it also displayed a birds-eye view of the vehicle, including any surrounding objects within a couple of feet of it. This helped immensely when backing into tight parking spots – for instance, spaces with a charger on one side and another pricey EV on the other.

I was too proud to rely on backup cameras for far too long. But when Ford hands you a crisp 360-degree view of your SUV, you take it.

Read the original article on Business Insider