Despite this week projecting a $3 billion loss this year on EV sales, Ford has no intention of shying away from the electric future. It announced Friday that it’s working to “revolutionize America’s truck” with a next-generation electric pickup code-named Project T3. The T3 will use every technology at Ford’s disposal to be a loyal, hardworking partner for the digital age, promising autonomous capabilities advanced enough to let the driver take care of other work or even grab a nap. The truck is being developed at the same time as Ford’s BlueOval City manufacturing plant, where it will be built.
Ford’s F-Series has been the bestselling vehicle in America for 46 years — longer than some of us have been alive. So it’s not surprising the company is looking to become a leader in electric trucks, and it already has a solid start with the F-150 Lightning, the full-size electric pickup most similar to the insanely popular ICE pickups upon which Americans have been relying for generation after generation of productivity, recreation and everyday driving.
Ford is getting even more ambitious with its second-generation electric pickup.
“Project T3 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionize America’s truck,” Ford president and CEO Jim Farley said on Friday. “We are melding 100 years of Ford truck know-how with world-class electric vehicle, software and aerodynamics talent. It will be a platform for endless innovation and capability.”
The “T3” name initially looked to us like a reference to the historic Model T, suggesting Ford considers the next-gen e-pickup right up there in importance with the Model T, the first mass-produced and affordable car in history, and the Model TT, Ford’s first truck and forebearer to the F-150. That sounds like a fitting codename given the superlatives Ford is using to describe the T3 platform.
Ford explains the code name a different way, however, saying it stands for three words: “Trust The Truck.” The team developing the truck has the singular mission of creating a vehicle that can be trusted beyond a doubt in the digital age — put differently, digitizing and electrifying a dependable pickup truck that keeps on working no matter what you throw at (or in) it. Ford promises that the T3 will offer the towing, hauling and exportable power buyers want, will be fully updatable and continuously improving, and will come loaded with innovations.
“PJ O’Rourke once described American pickups as ‘a back porch with an engine attached.’ Well, this new truck is going to be like the Millennium Falcon – with a back porch attached,” Farley said.
We don’t suspect the T3 will be hauling payloads or towing trailers to alternate galaxies, but Farley told Yahoo Finance’s Brian Sozzi that it will feature technologies not before seen in an electric truck, including the possibility of autonomous hardware so robust the driver will be able to go to sleep while commuting.
“We think we’re going to be able to land a semi-autonomous system,” Farley told Sozzi. “So you’ll be able to go to sleep in your truck while you’re traveling on the highway. And we think that kind of advantage is a big deal for truck customers. A lot of them work. They use their vehicle as an office. And to be able to do more work, bid out more jobs inside their truck while they’re commuting to the worksite is fantastic.”
Ford plans to introduce the T3 truck in 2025. It will be built at the 3,600-acre BlueOval City EV and battery mega-campus in West Tennessee set to go online that same year. Ford and Korean battery manufacturer SK On are investing US$5.6 billion into the development of BlueOval City, a key part of Ford’s plan to rapidly scale up EV production to 2 million global units annually by 2026 — Ford sold 61,575 EVs in the US in 2022, putting it second to only Tesla.
Ford says BlueOval City will have a 30 percent smaller general assembly footprint than traditional plants while still delivering higher production capacity. At full production, the plant will be capable of rolling out 500,000 electric trucks per year.
Ford is also working to make BlueOval City its first carbon neutral vehicle manufacturing and battery campus. It will run on carbon-free electricity, and assembly plant heating will be powered by recovered energy from the site’s utility infrastructure and geothermal system. Plans call for the location to save millions of gallons of water each year by reducing evaporation from cooling towers and eliminating fresh water use in assembly processes.
We don’t usually get particularly excited about vague product promises years in advance, but the T3 sounds like one to look forward to. Even if the sleeper-capsule self-driving capabilities don’t materialize, the truck sounds like it will be a very intriguing product capable of attracting attention from even the stubbornest ICE devotees among America’s pickup-hungry ranks.
The video below is mostly a T3 hype piece with few details, but it does have a couple interesting moments, including a rendering of a driver display screen that shows a remaining range of 335 miles (539 km) with close to a quarter of the battery drained. That suggests a range target up above 400 miles (644 km). We’re not sure the hands-free driving depicted briefly is full-blown “sleep like a newborn” mode, but we’ll see how the truck’s technology suite progresses.
Code Name: Project T3 | Coming 2025