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Ford rolls out new vehicles at Chicago Auto Show
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Ford rolls out new vehicles at Chicago Auto Show

CHICAGO — Ford, one of the Calumet Region's largest industrial employers, is rolling out two new vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place.

Ford debuted the new electric Ford F-150 Lightning and the Maverick pickup trucks at the first major auto show to return since the coronavirus pandemic started.

"Ford is going to lead the revolution in electric vehicles," said Darren Palmer, Ford's general manager for battery electric vehicles. "We're planning to spend $30 billion until 2025 for an all-new portfolio of products and services. The way we're going to do it is to make vehicles that are so compelling that it attracts people to electrified vehicles."

The Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker is making electrified versions of its most popular vehicles, such as the Mustang Mach-E muscle car and Transit van. Ford also is producing an electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck.

"This is the public debut of the F-150 Lightning in Chicago, and we're delighted to show it," he said. "I don't think we can overstate how important this vehicle is for electrification in North America. F-150, as a series, has been the top-selling vehicle in America for 40 years."

The electric version is souped-up, offering "things you could never get before on a gas vehicle," Palmer said. The new F-150 Lightning has 563 horsepower and 773 pound-feet of torque.

"It's also made for work," he said. "It has a payload of more than 2,000 pounds and a towing capacity of over 10,000 pounds. And it does that effortlessly, whether it's on a 0% grade or a 25% grade."

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The four-wheel-drive truck has a range of 300 miles. It has over 963 kilowatts of power on-board, which could be used to power homes in the event of electricity outages.

"It has more electric sockets than your garage — 11," Palmer said.

Ford also is debuting the new Maverick, a pickup truck "for people who didn't know they needed a truck" that retails under $20,000 and features large storage bins underneath the back seats, storage space for tall one-liter water bottles in all four doors and a customizable pickup bed, in which one could insert a 2-by-4 to build their own bike rack.

"Maverick is built with smart technology in mind like our standard modem that lets customers start, stop, lock and unlock their vehicle all from the convenience of their smartphone," said Trevor Scott, Ford's marketing manager for Maverick.

"Our eight-inch standard touchscreen provides seamless integration with Apple Car Play and Android Auto. Five selectable drive modes help enhance confidence and performance in any driving position. We also have standard Co-Pilot 360 technologies like automatic emergency braking as well as automatic high beams. We also have standard driver-assist technologies like adaptive cruise control, stop-and-go and lane centering."

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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