Just yesterday we learned more about Ford’s plans for “Project T3,” which stands for “Trust The Truck,” a code name that stuck after the development team made it their rallying cry. Per Ford, the team’s main goal with the development of the Ford F-150 Lightning’s successor has been “to create a truck people can trust in the digital age – one that’s fully updatable, constantly improving, and supports towing, hauling, exportable power and endless new innovations owners will want.” Here’s what we know so far about the future Cybertruck-competitor from Ford’s media arm and from a recent Yahoo Finance interview of CEO Jim Farley.
“Project T3 is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revolutionize America’s truck,” Ford writes in its press release. “We are melding 100 years of Ford truck know-how with a world-class electric vehicle, software, and aerodynamics talent. It will be a platform for endless innovation and capability.”
Ford President and CEO Jim Farley says the upcoming T3 is going to be a technological juggernaut. From Ford’s press release:
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. “The manufacturing process will be equally breakthrough, with radical simplicity, cost efficiency and quality technology that will make BlueOval City the modern-day equivalent of Henry Ford’s Rouge factory. A factory of the future that people from all over the world will want to tour.
Wow, this is some serious hype. But that’s nothing compared to what Farley says in this Yahoo Finance interview:
“It launches in about 30 months,” he starts. “It is a…real world vehicle…[that] will have technology no one’s every seen in any of these electric trucks,” Farley continues. “”It’ll be fully software updatable so…we can ship software to the car over the air. Your truck’s going to get better every time you get in it.”
Then things get really interesting. Farley goes on: “We think we’re going to be able to land a semi-autonomous system so you’ll be able to sleep in your truck while you’re traveling on the highway. It would be I think…the first, maybe one of the first vehicles you can do that safely in the U.S.”
“A lot of [customers] 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,” he continues.
When the interviewer questions Farley about how these claims are even going to be possible, the CEO responds:
On a sunny day on a highway we have the technology — we’re just finalizing it now — we took 600 engineers out of Argo, and they’ve been working on an autonomous feature that, while you’re on the highway on a sunny day (which is a lot of miles for Americans), you’ll be able to drive…that technology is right around the corner. You’ll be able to do that in this kind of truck.
Wow. These are some lofty claims. Folks will be able to sleep in their cars while it drives itself?! I know we’ve come a long way with semi-autonomous tech, but this would be a massive leap from anything we have today, including Tesla’s “Autopilot.”
Key to Ford’s plan to make this truck such a technological marvel is BlueOval City, a manufacturing plant currently being erected to build T3. Here’s what Ford has to say about the site:
With its F-150 Lightning, Ford already has shifted people’s expectations about the capability, driving enjoyment and productivity EV pickups can deliver. Ford’s Project T3 aims to further grow and reinvent the Ford truck franchise.
Ford is developing its second-generation EV truck in tandem with the all-new assembly plant, resulting in efficiencies never before possible – such as a 30 percent smaller general assembly footprint than traditional plants while delivering higher production capacity.
Meanwhile, Project T3 team members are ensuring they deliver the capability and innovation customers expect from Ford trucks with a fraction of the complexity from previous truck programs.
State-of-the-art manufacturing, software-updatable electrical architecture, next-level EV tech, and autonomous driving? Sounds familiar. Speaking of, there are still no signs from Elon on the hotly-anticipated Cybertruck’s production numbers, time frame, or price. The T3, which is expected to join the party by the fall of 2025, will be entering the EV pickup world with its Lightning brother, the Rivian R1T, the Hummer EV, and the Chevy/GMC Silverado/Sierra twins. Once a segment that hardly existed two years ago, the bleachers are filling up, quickly. If Tesla plans to grab a spot on the bench before it’s too late, it better hop on to a centralized game plan before seats run out. In the meantime, Star Wars aficionados stay tuned for the T3, put on your Han Solo-inspired costumes, and get sailing.
Images: Ford, Tesla
“Well, this new truck is going to be like the Millennium Falcon – with a back porch attached,”
*Insert picture of 2000 Ford Falcon Ute here*
Hmm well Ford *has* started the practice of naming new trucks after old, unrelated Ford models…I wonder if that Millenium Falcon bit was a hint about them considering bringing the Falcon name back for this EV truck. TBF, that would be a pretty cool name.
Given that the Cybertruck’s sole defining actual feature is that it’s vaporware, is it actually possible to out-Cybertruck the Cybertruck? I do expect this will match the Cybertruck for undelivered promises, unless Ford is sitting on some currently unknown battery and autonomous driving tech that nobody else has even heard of. The idea that they’re going to solve both range problems for towing and autonomous driving in the next 30 months is right up there with a lot of Musk’s claims. Or, for that matter, Ford’s own claims about fully autonomous vehicles by 2021 (I think that was the year).