Much like the Tesla Model 3 before it, the Ford F-150 Lightning could help usher in the EV transition in America. Ford’s approach to EVs started with a bit of a stumble, as fans protested against the horse badge of the Mustang Mach-E, but the F-150 Lightning took the same risk and it paid off. The F-150 Lightning is not just any new EV, it’s an electric pickup truck bearing an F-150 badge.
So, I want to know which other models carry that much weight. Which other cars would have to go electric to convince you to make the switch to EVs?
Is it another truck, like the Toyota Tacoma? Or maybe something with the letters FJ on it? Would it be a commuter car like the Honda Accord? Or maybe an old favorite like the Mazda Miata? See, one of the most notable things about Tesla — putting aside its polemical CEO — is that the EV maker introduced all new models. As a newcomer, Tesla didn’t have any make and model that was preceded by years, let alone decades — like Ford or GM.
Other than its relation to the Lotus Elise, the Tesla Roadster was more or less new in an industry that prefers what is old. Nostalgia is good business, after all. But Tesla could hardly make an appeal to nostalgia; after the roadster, came the Tesla Model S, Model X and Model 3. Then the Model Y. Again, these were new models that promised a look at the future rather than being fixated on the past.
Meanwhile, Ford can’t let go of its past. The F-150 Lightning is an awesome EV, as our own Kyle Hyatt can attest, but it owes much to the long-running F-Series. If not in terms of technology, certainly in terms of recognition. To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with taking a beloved, familiar badge and putting it on unfamiliar tech that not everyone may be comfortable with yet. That explains why even the EV truck’s “Lightning” badge nods to the past, bolts and all. Ditto the Mustang Mach-E, which leans on the horse badge’s nearly 60-year history.
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General Motors did the same thing, too. The U.S. auto giant’s halo electric vehicle is the Hummer — a remnant of the Gulf War(s) that’s all about kicking ass in the ‘90s and aughts. Stars and stripes. Watts to Freedom. It’s all a strategy built around making something new palatable by connecting it to something old. In light of that: once it goes fully-electric, what old model (that is or was powered by gasoline) will finally convince you to switch to EVs?