DETROIT -- Large pickup trucks that tow most of the profits in to Ford Motor Co. and General Motors are holdovers from another century -- with heavy ladder frames and big internal combustion engines in the front driving the wheels in the back.
Now, Ford and GM are racing to design radical new takes on their most profitable models, replacing petroleum-fueled engines with batteries in a bid to get ahead of the industrywide move toward EVs. Ford's F-150 pickup and GM's Chevrolet Silverado are the top selling vehicles in the U.S. market.
"This is going to be a real watershed for the whole industry," Ford Chairman Bill Ford told Reuters in a recent interview. The automaker has disclosed few details about the electric F-series, but Bill Ford hinted the truck could have load-carrying space under the hood in addition to the traditional bed in the back.
"You pick up all that extra space where the engine compartment has been," Ford said. An electric F-Series could be a work truck -- with its batteries functioning as a job site power source, he said. And it could be positioned as a high-performance vehicle next to the gas-fueled, 450 horsepower Raptor pickup truck.
The automaker has said it will invest $11.5 billion electrifying its vehicles by 2022, including adding 16 fully electric models, all of which will be profitable.