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Dollars To Donuts: Ford Will Call Its Electric F-150 “Lightning”

It was a throwaway comment by my buddy, Matt Teske, but it was significant. We were talking about the upcoming all-electric Ford F-150, and he said, “You know, the ‘E-150’, or whatever they’re going to call it …” and we went on to talk about whether or not Ford would play V8 engine vroom-vroom sounds over the speakers in the thing. It wasn’t until a few days later, descending the stairs, that I realized Ford already has an absolutely pitch-perfect name for their new electric F-150. They’re going to call it the Lightning.

1994 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup

1994 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, courtesy Ford Performance.

Originally introduced in 1993 and built by Ford’s “Special Vehicle Team” (SVT) performance division, the first generation Lightning pickup was a sporty, go-fast version of the F-150 that immediately endeared itself to car enthusiasts everywhere. Powered by a 5.8-liter Ford Windsor V8 engine and packing a sport-tuned suspension and upgraded interior, the Lightning wasn’t just the fastest Ford F-150 you could buy, it was also the best F-150 you could buy. So, with an all-new, all-electric Ford F-150 set to debut later this year that is bound to be the fastest, most-powerful, top-of-the-line version of the hot-selling truck — it does kind of lend itself to the Lightning legacy, doesn’t it?

Now, before you dismiss this as pure speculation (which, I mean– it is pure speculation, but still), consider that GM is also bringing back a 90s name that is hugely popular with enthusiasts for its top-shelf electric pickup: the GMC Hummer. Like the Lightning, the Hummer isn’t a nameplate that many would have associated with a “green” product, but the legacy brands have shown that they don’t have much of an appetite for environmentalism. What they do have an appetite for, however, are features and figures. Stuff that they can sell in Texas, in other words, and electrification allows the new Ford F-150 hybrid to offer genuinely useful jobsite features and performance figures that a V8 pickup simply can’t.

That same Ford F-150 also doesn’t have the word “hybrid” visible anywhere outside the truck. Or inside, if my memory serves me. It’s just the top-of-the line Ford F-150, and “going green” isn’t the point. Same with the Mach-E Mustang. Same with the Hummer. Heck, Ford and GM aren’t even the only two big companies using new EV models to revive old nameplates — Renault just revealed that it’s planning to do the same thing!

If Ford wants its all-new electric pickup to have an immediate impact — and have an immediate following! — it would be foolish not to revive the beloved Lightning nameplate. And, make no mistake, the Lightning is beloved — so much so that people continue to build their own “Lightning” trucks based on the current F-150, years after Ford stopped making them, itself.

2018 Ford F-150 "Lightning"

2018 Ford F-150 “Lightning” image courtesy Pioneer Ford.

I’m sure of it. The new electric Ford F-150 will be called Lightning.

You heard it here first … unless I got it wrong, of course. Then I’ll delete the post and pretend none of it ever happened, probably — but probably not. What do you guys think? Did we beat Ford to the punch, or will they go with something lame like “F-150e” or “F-15E” or something? Scroll on down to the comments and let us know.

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I've been involved in motorsports and tuning since 1997, and have been a part of the Important Media Network since 2008. You can find me here, working on my Volvo fansite, riding a motorcycle around Chicago, or chasing my kids around Oak Park.

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