Insights that Echo Beyond the Echo Chamber


The Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear Is Not an Electric Raptor — Yet

Ford calls it the F-150 Lightning Switchgear. But you know a Raptor when you see one.

Ford was the first company to market a factory-built super truck when it built the original F-150 Raptor. It could be the last of its kind, now that the Ram TRX has its pink slip.

And Ford is determined to Raptorize all the things.

So, of course, Ford would be the first company to build an electric version.

That’s not, officially, what the F-150 Lightning Switchgear is. Ford calls this truck a “demonstrator,” not something intended for production. And we take them at their word — demand for Ford’s F-150 Lightning electric pickup remains light enough that we don’t think there’s much of a market for an electric high-speed desert runner yet.

But why demonstrate what you can do? In hopes of doing it someday. This is likely practice for the day when an electric supertruck makes sense. And the Switchgear looks great in practice.

Would You Like Some Suspension With Your Suspension?

Produced in collaboration with tuner shop RTR, the Switchgear rides on big 37-inch tires mounted so far out it has almost 6 inches more track width than a Raptor. A sure sign a vehicle isn’t headed for production? When it won’t fit in a lane.

But it fits on those big tires thanks to adjustable ride height. The front can be set to 7 inches in street mode or 13.5 inches in off-road mode — the rear changes from 5 to 11.

Customizing the suspension was the hard part — the Lightning already has a fairly unique spring set thanks to the low center of gravity due to its battery. Ford says the Switchgear uses an “independent double-wishbone suspension at the front, and multilink independent suspension at the rear with coil-over shocks, stabilizer bar, and custom control arms.” Fox 3-inch diameter internal bypass shocks make it work on both axles.

The interior of the Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear concept

No Need for a Power Boost

Ford didn’t bother to increase the power. It gets the same 580 horsepower as the extended-range version of the Lightning, good for 775 lb-ft of torque.

The Switchgear gets unique front and rear bumpers to improve approach and departure angles, rock rails, and a steel front skid plate.

As a demonstration model, Ford hasn’t done much to upgrade the interior. But the company replaced the seats with Recaro models with five-point harnesses. Oddly, we spot no upgrades to the actual switchgear.

Ford plans to bring the truck to the King of the Hammers off-road racing event in Johnson Valley, California, starting Jan. 25. We don’t expect to see it much after that. This is a truck built to make a point. It will probably just plant an idea in people’s heads for future use.

But when EVs are more mainstream, someone will ask about a Raptor-like electric truck. And someone will say it can be done — they saw it once.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *