Ford wants you to know that its electric trucks can do everything gas-powered pickups can—even the high-performance ones.
The Detroit giant just unveiled a new battery-powered one-off called the F-150 Lightning Switchgear. The EV’s powertrain may be unmodified, but it comes equipped with off-road gear and other upgrades that turn it into an all-terrain beast.
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The Switchgear may not be the F-150 Lightning Raptor that enthusiasts have been clamoring for, but it really is the next best thing. The truck is the result of a collaboration between Ford and drift king Vaughn Griffith’s RTR Vehicles. It’s based on the standard F-150 Lightning equipped with a dual-motor powertrain—with one motor on each axle—and the extended-range battery pack. This setup can generate a more-than-respectable 580 hp and 775 ft lbs of torque. Range, meanwhile, comes in at 320 miles thanks to the 131.0-kWh battery, though we imagine that number could take a hit depending on what kind of off-road actives its driver has in mind.
The powertrain and battery are the only features of this F-150 Lightning that are stock, though. The latest entry in the Ford Performance Demonstrator program looks rather different from the road-going pickup it’s based on. It’s been dressed up in a spiffy livery and outfitted with restyled bumpers and much larger carbon-composite fenders in the front and back, as well as a roll bar behind the crew cab. There’s also a front skid plate, rock rails, and a rack with two spare wheels in the bed. Inside, the cabin has been left relatively untouched except for the addition of Recaro sport seats with six-point harnesses. Rounding things out is a set of 18-inch forged aluminum wheels wrapped in 37-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires.
The biggest upgrades, though, are the ones you can’t see. The Switchgear features a completely new suspension system that’s a lot more off-road friendly than the one found on the factory truck. There’s a custom double-wishbone suspension up front and a multilink suspension in the back. The setup also features coil-over shocks, custom control arms, a stabilizer bar, and three-inch-diameter Fox internal bypass shock absorbers. The vehicle’s track is also around 12 inches wider than the stock pickup, which improves control and stability.
Right now, there seem to be no plans to F-150 Lightning Switchgear into production. Ford said it’s just a “testbed for pushing the boundaries of what’s expected from electric trucks.” Still, it’s not hard to imagine that stance changing if the response to the unique build is strong enough. Regardless, an on-road configuration of the Switchgear, which one can only assume has been optimized track performance, is said to be on the horizon.
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