Ford Finally Does What Others Should Have Regarding Electric Vehicles

Interesting little commercial showcasing the USP of all-electric in a way no other major manufacturer has to date. I can’t believe we’ve had all/hybrid-electrics on the market for so long, and no one has done this previously. I mean, it’s really nifty that “ludicrous mode” on a Tesla is as quick as it is, but that only goes so far into sales. Being able to tow, now that’ll move product in the most lucrative market…


Tesla did a similar stunt a year ago, slightly more impressive because the rolling resistance of an airliner (tires on pavement) is apt to be greater than a train (steel wheels on steel rail) but surely staged in some sense much like the Ford ad - probably some special algorithm to limit power delivery to a point that the wheels don’t spin and in the case of the Ford ad the tow strap doesn’t snap.

This, ahem, demonstration is a bit less staged, albeit likely only possible because of the snow allowing wheelspin (without which odds are a bit too much juice on the throttle might result in failure of the tow strap and/or mounting point).

EDIT: And because I’m me, I gotta rain on this parade a little.

WRT the Ford video, there’s speculation that the cars were also compressed by an engine before the shoot so that the rolling resistance added up sequentially as the slack was taken out of each car rather than having to be overcome all at once. This makes sense given that their tow strap likely has a useful tensile strength in the single-digit tons range and most of the effort is overcoming initial rolling resistance at which point adding speed doesn’t require very much energy thanks to the near-miracle of modern railcar truck bearings. A small crowd of people pulling on the tow rope would have similar effect as the electric F-150. I think the take-away here is less that an electric truck can tow one million pounds (something that a dozen or so people could achieve with adequate grip on the two rope) and more that electric motors have outstanding starting torque, EVs can operate at far lower RPMs than ICE vehicles, and that fine control over that torque is relatively trivial to achieve via software.

Also, as I saw it stated on Ars Technica’s comments:
Imagine, for the sake of argument, that you could get the rail-cars moving on rubber tires. The first curve in the road would be fun to watch - from a safe distance.


I want to see a commercial demonstrating the resilience of your all-electric car when your electricity has been knocked out by a storm for a week.


I’m excited for the all electric truck. But, I wonder how they are going to keep the price and weight down, while also giving the vehicle enough range to be a viable towing alternative to a gas or diesel truck.

The amount a truck can tow beyond 3 tons likely doesn’t matter for 99.9% percent of pick up truck drivers. But, what range can you get while towing means a lot. Speaking to @ESmith’s example of the model X towing, my buddy Preston has a model X and has towed with it. He found that towing a moderately loaded 6 x 10 enclosed trailer cut his range down from 325 mile to about 105 miles between Full Charges. This was exasperated when quick charging, where you charge the battery quickly to 70%+ in under 30 minutes. In this scenario, he was getting ranges from 70 to 80 miles between charges. So while he made his trip home with the trailer, stopping every hour and a half to charge for 30 minutes really increased the time it took. But, he was well fed as many of the quick charge locations he stopped at we higher end restaurants.

Scared to see the price of the all electric truck, when most moderately well equipped fuel based trucks start at $50K, do we think the all electrics will start in the $100K+?

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About the same as the resiliency of your gas-powered car when gas stations’ electricity has been knocked out for a week and their pumps are out.


Or they’ve plain run out of gas during a mandatory evacuation, yet you’re stuck on a interstate highway, not allowed to exit.


All depends on who they’re marketing to. I read about the video and watched the first half without sound. I noted the carefully-choreographed posturing and cast of stock characters. suspect the initial target market is the lifestyle truck segment that dailies a 1500-class truck and occasionally hauls boats, ATVs, utility trailers between the Home Despot and the house for projects. There’s a lot of money in that demo and maybe an electric truck with nominal 300 mile range has some appeal.

The price will have to come down before it appeals to the work truck demo buying 2500+ class machines. It’s worth noting that many of them are hauling relatively short distances. If the convoys heading north on US 75 every morning are an indication, 40-60 miles each way is sufficient range. As an added bonus, it would be easy to have the truck switch-hit as a generator since the actual kWh drawn from the pack running jobsite tools would be a small fraction of what a generator’s peak kW rating suggests.


Yeah. But they are 5 years behind at the manufacturing game at electrics. Sales are shrinking and they are cutting their product line. They don’t have the experience of Teska or the resources of Volgswagen or Toyota. I am wondering how Ford will survive the next 20 years.

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I’ve been promised flying cars were just 2-5 years down the road since I can remember (1968?) - where’s my flying car?


Maybe the problem isn’t the vehicle, but rather the grid?

I’ve said for years that there is no silver bullet for overcoming our reliance on fossil fuels. It’s going to take a shotgun approach; of which, the electric vehicles are just one of several pellets… solar panels, micro-grids, windmills, hydro, etc. are all parts of a resilliant system that will eventually have to replace the very fragile system we currently have.

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Ford invested $500M in EV startup Rivian earlier this year. I would be less than shocked if the ‘prototype’ in the video is little more than a F-150 shell grafted onto a Rivian R1S chassis. Not the same as indigenous development of course, but possibly the next best thing.

Mercifully they’re a constant 2-5 years away.

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Rivian doesnt have too much experience manufacturing electric vehicles either. Tesla still has a crap shit of trouble even with over 10 years of experience. Japanese, Korean, and European companies arent as beholden to investors for quarterly profits, so they can invest more in R&D without worrying about stock price. Ford cannot. They should be investing billions annually to try and get electrics on the road, profits and dividends be damned. Otherwise, they will lose market share as they have with sedans(to the point they gave up) and in international markets.

Meandering a wee bit OT here …

Aye, but they probably have EV-specific engineering talent Ford doesn’t.

Many of Tesla’s problems seem to stem from a Silicon Valley disrupt mindset which assumes that incumbent competitors behave the way they do out of complacency thus should not be emulated in any what whatsoever. You can’t correct problems like an overly-expensive to produce chassis nor assembly QA failures with a OTA software patch.

I gather that everyone is finding the lower/middle tiers of the USDM sedan market unsatisfactory - even Toyota and Honda - thus the rise of crossovers priced several thousand more than the sedan platforms they’re based on.

Regardless, Ford is not coming out with electrics for a few more years. This is just a gimmick they arent putting their full financial resources behind. Their American market is mostly safe, but they are going to struggle everywhere else even more now.

Someone mentioned VW
Think I first saw this on Wards Auto

We could resurrect the discussion on rare earths here, but there’s already a thread out here…

That is just self driving. And Argo is far behind Waymo. Heck VW is so ahead in electrics that Ford will license their technology in Europe

Whatever works…
Personally I see more potential in Mazda’s Skyactive, Skyactive X, and Skyactive Turbo programs.
But I’m a little biased…:wink:

Tesla’s all electric truck (that’ll be quote: “better than an F-150”) target price point is below $50K.

That’s cool,

The catch with Tesla is they build the most expensive optioned cars first. So I wonder how many years will pass before the ones at that price point actually deliver. I think for the model S it was like 3 year. Not sure about the lower cost 4 door.

But, the Tesla does look cool. :smiley:

I hope they get something cheap out before Chinese manufacturers get a US foothold like the Japanese did a few decades ago. They are making Tesla like cars with comparable range and size for 1/2 the cost.