POTU

President Biden takes surprise F-150 Lightning test drive

President Joe Biden visited Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn plant today

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Compan

When the president of the United States shows up to give a speech at an automotive factory, you might expect to hear talk about jobs, the environment, and international trade. You might even hear stories about the economy. What you probably aren't expecting is to see the president hop behind the wheel of a pre-production vehicle for an unscripted test drive. That unlikely event took place yesterday, as President Joe Biden buckled into the driver's seat of a Ford F-150 Lightning and took off down the company's test track.

As it turns out, being president does have a few upsides, one of which appears to be the ability to commandeer unreleased electric pickup trucks for a quick joyride. While touring Ford's historic Rouge complex, which has been tapped to produce the automaker's new electric F-150, Biden remarked that he'd like to test drive the pickup truck. Beyond the fact that presidents just don't drive, the truck hasn't even been officially unveiled to the public (that's scheduled to happened May 19 at 9:30 p.m. EST).

Ford CEO Jim Farley told The Detroit Free Press that a White House staff member approached him after the tour and asked him to accompany Biden's motorcade to a nearby test track. A short bit later, there was the president, sitting behind the wheel of a camouflaged F-150 Lightning. After a lap or two, a visibly impressed Biden remarked "this sucker's quick!" before flooring the truck for an acceleration test in front of members of the media.

An impromptu drive by the president is great publicity, but it's not as if the F-150 Lightning was going to be a low-key vehicle launch to begin with. Ford's F-150 sales average more than 100 units every hour, so an all-new electrified version of one of the world's best-selling vehicles is big news.

The new truck is expected to carry a large battery pack and two electric motors, which will send power to all four wheels. In the glimpses of the truck we can catch behind Biden at the podium, the new truck appears to have bodywork that is very close to its gas-powered counterparts, but the grille and front lighting are different. The F-150 Lightning's grille features an LED light bar that runs from one headlight unit to the other, which is consistent with leaks that we've seen from The Blue Oval in recent months.


The electrified F-150 is set to be revealed tonight, May 19 at 9:30 p.m. EST. If you're hoping to catch the event, you can watch it live on Ford's YouTube page. We'll also have an in-depth post on the truck around that same time, so stay tuned.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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