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Ford to unveil new F150 Lightning electric vehicle

The automaker will release details about the vehicle Wednesday evening in Detroit

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Photo (c) G0d4ather - Getty Images
Ford is scheduled to take the wraps off its latest electric vehicle this evening -- the F150 Lightning. 

For auto enthusiasts, there will be 30 or more ways to watch the unveiling live from Ford headquarters in Detroit at 9:30 pm ET.

According to automotive publisher Edmunds, the F150 is America’s best-selling vehicle and has been for four decades. Ford CEO Jim Farley says producing an EV version of the truck is a game-changer for the company.

“Every so often, a new vehicle comes along that disrupts the status quo and changes the game -- Model T, Mustang, Prius, Model 3. Now comes the F-150 Lightning,” Farley said. “America’s favorite vehicle for nearly half a century is going digital and fully electric.”

In an automotive niche where power is at a premium, the F150 Lightning will try to up the ante. Ford executives have said the EV version will actually be more powerful than the gasoline version, and that’s saying something. The F150 Raptor checks in at 450 horsepower.

Two key facts have yet to be revealed. Ford hasn’t said what kind of range the Lightning will get on a single charge, and it hasn’t revealed a sticker price. But expect it to be north of the cost of a gasoline-powered F150, which goes for between $35,000 and $60,000 depending on model and option packages.

Americans willing to spend more on cars

If recent sales numbers are any indication, buyers might not flinch at a steep sticker price. Kelley Blue Book (KBB) reports consumers spent more for new vehicles last month with the average transaction price (ATP) rising 2.2% year-over-year.

The estimated ATP for a light vehicle in April was $40,768, according to the analysts at KBB. New vehicle prices increased $864 from April 2020, but rose only $92 from March 2021.   

"Comparing the market to this time last year when COVID-19 brought the industry to a halt, highlights an increase in demand, sales, and vehicle prices all have contributed to continually rising transaction prices," said Kayla Reynolds, industry intelligence analyst at Cox Automotive. "Many manufacturers reported year-over-year growth in average transaction prices with Volkswagen Group seeing the largest increase year over year -- up 9% -- while Tesla had the greatest decrease from last year, down 10.3%."

Besides Tesla, only Nissan saw transaction prices fall last month. As it prepares to unveil its EV version of the F150, Ford could use another high-priced vehicle to raise its ATP. Last month, the average price of a Ford vehicle dipped 2% from March but was 5% higher than April 2020.

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