The high-performance version of the Ford F-150 Lightning has been designed for extreme off-roading.
The high-performance version of the Ford F-150 Lightning has been created as an extreme off-road prototype in collaboration with drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his aftermarket tuning company, RTR Vehicles.
While most electric vehicles are built for city streets and highways, never meant to dirty their wheels in anything more than a puddle of mud, there are electric trucks that love to devour gravel, take flight over dirt jumps, or simply splash around in the mud. Ford's new electric truck, the F-150 Lightning Switchgear, definitely falls into the latter category of battery-powered vehicles.
A year ago, Ford teased a high-performance prototype based on its F-150 Lightning, with CEO Jim Farley tweeting a picture of himself lifting the cover to reveal part of the truck's front end.
Now, the company is finally ready to unveil the entire vehicle. The F-150 Lightning Switchgear is an all-electric high-performance prototype, created in collaboration with drift champion Vaughn Gittin Jr. and his aftermarket tuning company, RTR Vehicles.
For those not intimately familiar with prototypes, they are one-of-a-kind vehicles designed to showcase Ford's racing and performance capabilities. Ford sees it as a "proving ground" to demonstrate its extreme off-road handling capabilities. These prototypes are often creative collaborations with external groups, in this case, Gittin Jr., who also worked with Ford on the F-150 RTR Ultimate Fun Haver project in 2016.
The Switchgear joins other prototypes, including the SuperVan 4.0 and 4.2, the Mustang Mach-E 1400, the Cobra Jet 1400, and the F-100 Eluminator. The high-performance truck will make its public debut at the King of the Hammers off-road racing event on January 25th in Johnson Valley, California.
The truck's appearance is defined by carbon composite upgrades on the exterior, like protruding front fenders and front and rear bumper covers, along with a livery paying tribute to Ford Performance, the automaker's in-house racing and motorsport division.
Ford has created two versions of the truck: one for the road and the other for off-roading. The street configuration features 33.23-inch Nitto NT420V tires, while the off-roader rides on massive 37-inch Nitto Ridge Grapplers. The off-road version also includes extra tires mounted on a support in the truck bed, fabricated steel bumpers, skid plates, and side bars.
In developing the Switchgear, Ford primarily focused on two areas: the chassis and suspension. The independent front suspension is based on a double A-arm setup with coilover shocks, stabilizer bar, and limit straps. The rear suspension also features a stabilizer bar and limit straps but replaces the double A-arm with semi-trailing arms.
The front and rear track width is 80 inches each, a "significant increase" over the regular F-150 Lightning, which Ford claims is necessary for on-track stability. The suspension utilizes three-inch internal bypass Fox shocks, "along with unique front and rear bumpers to improve approach and departure angles," says Ford.
Ford doesn't have immediate plans to put the Switchgear into production, but it's entirely possible, and even expected, that some of its features may become available to truck owners in the future.