Ford today showcased the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV, an electric pickup truck designed specifically for law enforcement. The truck is a variant of the F-150 Lightning Pro, a version of Ford’s electric pickup truck designed for commercial customers and fleet owners. Ford has equipped the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV (which stands for “Special Service Vehicle”) with all the features that police have relied on for years, as well as other benefits unique to electric vehicles, such as fast acceleration and a lower total cost of ownership.
The new F-150 Lightning was revealed more than two years after protests for racial justice and against police brutality erupted across the United States following the murder of George Floyd, forcing many companies to reconsider their relationships with law enforcement.
Ford has previously sold gas-powered versions of the F-150 to police departments, and the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV will have many of the same specifications, including police-grade, heavy-duty cloth seats with reduced supports to help officers with guns enter and exit the vehicle; steel anti-intrusion panels on the front seatbacks; roof-mounted LED warning lights; a reinforced dashboard top tray for easy mounting of police equipment; and an easy-to-clean vinyl rear seat and vinyl floor.
The Ford Pro has a variety of additional features, including Ford’s telematics software, which makes it easier for fleet owners to keep track of a vehicle’s location, charge status or health. Ford said it is offering a two-year subscription for police departments interested in purchasing the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV.
Ford also offers flexible financing options for cities and towns interested in purchasing electric pickups for their police departments. The company’s bodybuilder consulting service offers a range of guidelines and methods for police officers who want to modify or improve their pickups with aftermarket equipment.
Among U.S. automakers, Ford is the leading seller of police vehicles of all shapes and sizes, accounting for about two-thirds of the market. From the Crown Victoria to today’s Explorer-based cruisers, Ford has been a favorite of police departments. While it’s not a large source of the company’s annual revenue, Ford has long argued that its overall lineup benefits from new technologies (e.g., hybrid systems) being tested in police vehicles.
Ford has tried out its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV in some police departments, and while it performed well in acceleration and braking tests, the ratings of participating officers remained relatively low.
But the 2020 national protest movement has cast a stern eye on Ford’s police business. Employees within Ford demanded that the company’s leadership stop making and selling police vehicles, but the company’s CEO at the time, Jim Hackett, didn’t see the need. It was clear that Ford was not interested in severing ties with law enforcement, despite some of the most gruesome viral videos of protesters being run over by police officers driving Ford vehicles.