Credit: Ford
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Ford launches fleet-focused CV business and F-150 Lightning Pro

May 27, 2021
“Ford Pro will redefine the market for commercial vehicles and services, where Ford is already the leader around the world,” said CEO Jim Farley.

On the heels of Ford revealing the battery-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck, the automaker has announced there will be a commercial customer version called the F-150 Lightning Pro, which will include the 80-amp home charging station and start at under $40,000. Ford also announced the creation of a new global vehicle services and distribution business called Ford Pro to better address the needs of commercial customers. Pro customers will have access to telematics and fleet planning tools to help them manage maintenance, range, and purchasing and leasing costs. This feature will also factor in available incentives and compare regional fuel/energy costs.

“Ford Pro will redefine the market for commercial vehicles and services, where Ford is already the leader around the world,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley.  “We’re creating a one-stop shop to help those customers increase uptime and productivity while reducing complexity and the total cost of ownership.”

Products in the Ford Pro portfolio will include the light- and medium-duty F-Series (150 to 750), the Ranger line, and Transit van, which will include a battery-electric version later this year. Overall, Ford owns 40% of the Class 1 through Class 7 commercial vehicle market. Ford predicts by 2030, 1 million battery-electric full-size vans and trucks will be sold in the U.S.

Ted Cannis, previously general manager of Ford’s commercial business in North America, was promoted to Ford Pro CEO. The new business begins in a strong position, as the F-150 has been the best-selling pickup for 44 years and the electric version appears to have strong initial interest. Farley reported on Twitter that Ford received nearly 45,000 reservations within two days of revealing the consumer Lightning. Each reservation required a $100 deposit.

The Lightning Pro, available to commercial customers regardless of fleet size, should see similar, if not more, interest. To start, the trucks will come standard with Ford Co-Pilot 360 advanced driver assistance systems and 4G LTE modem. (For more details on the Lightning, check out our writeup here.)

Along with the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro, which would charge from 15% up to 100% in about eight hours, Lightning Pro customers will have access to digital tools that monitor vehicle health, driver performance and identify range based on payload, weather and terrain, along with locating nearby charging stations. Ford’s e-telematics solution will also help manage home charging and accurately assess how much to reimburse employees for the electricity.

Alex Purdy, Ford director of business operations enterprise connectivity, called it “fraud-proof.”

Ford expects the fewer moving parts will reduce maintenance costs by 40% over an eight-year, 100,000-mile ownership cycle. Tax incentives and lower energy costs will likely drive additional savings.

“We predict our commercial customer cost savings will begin from day one,” Cannis said. “In addition to scheduled maintenance savings, we expect residual values to be similar to the current F-series, one of the top 10 across the industry, according to Kelly Bluebook.”

The big question will be if this electric version will be able to perform the same work as the internal combustion and hybrid versions of the F-150. The standard Lightning Pro will get a 230-mile range with 426 hp and 775 lb.-ft. of torque, while the extended-range model (starting at just under $50,000) will travel 300 miles per charge and have 563 hp and 775 lb.-ft. of torque.

Cannis noted that 95% of F-150 commercial customers travel fewer than 174 miles per day.

Range will fluctuate based on how much the Pro Power Onboard, the truck’s internal generator, will be used. The battery cannot only power jobsite tools, but a house as well—for three to 10 days. As power outages and blackouts have become more common, this may be an even more crucial tool to keep productivity—and peace of mind up—charged up.

Towing power does see a significant decline, with 5,000-lb. towing payload for the standard model, equaling a 2021 Honda Ridgeline. This increases to 7,700 lb. with the Max Trailer Tow package. The battery-electric Lordstown Motors Endurance, expected to go into production this year, will reportedly have 7,500-lb. towing capacity with a 250-mile range. Ford’s additional 100+ years of manufacturing experience and far wider array of fleet-focused  tools appear to give the Lightning an early advantage.

The extended-range model can reach 10,000 lb. with the Max Trailer Tow.

Cannis believes the Lightning Pro offers just the right amount of utilitarian features, such as the 14.1 cubic feet front truck, or frunk, without going overboard on bells and whistles.

“These [fleet] customers are extremely pragmatic and they aren't going to over-index on product features and benefits when it isn't necessary to get the job done,” Cannis said. “They are hyper focused on improving efficiency, uptime and their bottom line.”

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