Ford isn’t quite ready to reveal the 2022 F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, but when the president of the United States wants a test drive, how do you say no?
President Joe Biden visited Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, the Detroit-area factory that will build the Lightning, yesterday and got behind the wheel of a camouflaged prototype of the new truck. He’s likely the first person outside of Ford to drive the Lightning and gave it a positive review.
“This sucker’s quick,” Biden said after pulling up to a gaggle of media, as documented by C-SPAN cameras. The president even tried to time acceleration, saying his stopwatch showed zero to 60 mph in 4.3 seconds. What appears to be an un-camouflaged Lightning can also be seen in the background of photos taken during Biden’s factory visit. That’s not something Ford wants the general public to know just yet, as truck’s official reveal is tonight, but it’s hard to argue with that kind of publicity.
Biden is a genuine car enthusiast. He owns a 1967 Chevrolet Corvette convertible, which was a wedding gift from his father. As president, he has also become an advocate of electric vehicles, pushing for measures to boost sales, as well as more domestic battery production, and the electrification of government vehicle fleets. Still, as a Chevy owner, Biden might be a little disappointed that arch-rival Ford is launching its electric truck first.
The Lightning follows the Mustang Mach-E SUV and E-Transit van as Ford’s third mass-market electric vehicle. It may not be first, but it might be the most important. The internal combustion F-150 has been America’s bestselling vehicle for decades, so making it electric opens up a massive new market to EVs.
While Ford has never built an electric F-150 before, the name is familiar. The original Ford Lightning was a performance version of the F-150 sold in the 1990s and early 2000s. Boasting a powerful V8 engine, it was once crowned world’s fastest production pickup truck by Guinness World Records.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning reveal streams at 9:30 p.m. ET tonight on Ford’s YouTube and social media channels. We’ll also have full coverage here at Digital Trends. The truck starts production in spring 2022.