Sunday, June 16, 2024

Ford Exhibits Off F-150 Lightning Switchgear ‘Demonstrator’

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Ford goals to push to new extremes when it debuts a “demonstrator” model of the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup on the grueling King of the Hammers off-road race subsequent week. Dubbed the F-150 Lightning Switchgear, it encompasses a broad array of suspension and physique updates — although it retains the identical twin-motor drive system powering the retail model of the EV truck.

For now a one-off mission, it should function a testbed “for future electrical automobiles,” Mark Rushbrook, the World Director of Ford Efficiency Motorsports, mentioned in a weblog publish. Ford is already testing the waters with the Rally version of its Mustang Mach-E SUV coming to market later this yr.

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear

EV ‘Playground’

Rushbrook famous that the Switchgear is “the newest in our Ford Efficiency Demonstrator program — becoming a member of SuperVan 4.0 and 4.2, the Mustang Mach-E 1400, Mustang CobraJet 1400, and the F-100 Eluminator. He added that these “… automobiles showcase the chances of what an electrical automobile may be and supply a playground for engineers to advance learnings shortly for future electrical automobiles.”

The demonstrator was “impressed” by the 2016 F-150 RTR Final Enjoyable-Haver mission automobile, Rushbrook wrote in a brand new weblog publish. That truck was developed with the assistance of Vaughn Gittins Jr., in addition to the parents at Nitto, who got here up with the rubber for the Switchgear.

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear

From the Floor Up

Whereas not a whole makeover of the now-familiar F-150 Lightning, Switchgear actually has been up to date from the bottom up. This begins with its 37-inch NITTO Ridge Grappler 37×12.5R18 off-road tires.

A number of the greatest revisions have been made to the demonstrator’s suspension. To deal with a course just like the King of the Hammers, Switchgear will get Fox 3-inch diameter inner bypass shocks. Up entrance, it has a double-wishbone suspension. In again, engineers opted for a multilink impartial suspension with coil-over shocks, a stabilizer bar, and customized management arms. 

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear

Different modifications to the suspension yield further floor clearance — 13.5 inches up entrance and 11.5 inches the rear — when arrange for an off-road course. When in on-road configuration, floor clearance drops to 7.0 inches up entrance and 5.0 inches within the rear.

Physique Revisions

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear

When in off-road configuration, Switchgear will get new carbon composite entrance bumpers, mattress sides, and a rear bumper cowl. There are new metal fabricated rock rails, together with a brand new entrance skid plate, to assist the truck take a pounding.

Finishing the package deal, Switchgear will get a roof spoiler with built-in brake lights. Within the mattress, Ford kitted the truck out with a chase rack and two spare tires.

For road racing, Switchgear swaps out the carbon composite entrance bumper for one with an built-in valence. It provides carbon composite rocker skirts and a Ford Efficiency tonneau cowl.

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear

Ford Switchgear Powertrain

Switchgear is motivated by the identical, twin-motor all-electric drivetrain discovered within the retail model of the Ford F-150 Lightning. It pushes out 580 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque.

The system attracts energy from a 131kWh lithium-ion pack, additionally the identical as within the manufacturing model of the F-150 Lightning.

Ford hasn’t launched any efficiency specs for the Lightning Switchgear. The quickest manufacturing F-150 Lightning mannequin, the Lariat, can hit 60 in 3.8 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 12.4 seconds.

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear’s Future

Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear

Whereas the Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear is being billed as a one-off, it’s prone to have a direct affect on future merchandise. A senior official throughout the automaker’s EV program lately advised me that he sees alternatives to convey off-road variations of each the Lightning and the Mach-E to market.

The primary actual check will include the launch later this yr of the Baja-style Mach-E Rally.

Search for the Switchgear to make its official debut on January 25 on the King of the Hammers race in Johnson Valley, Calif.

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