Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear takes the electric pickup off-roading

The Ford F-150 Lightning Switchgear is what happens when you take the electric F-Series and turn it up to 11 on the off-road scale. In a way, it’s like an F-150 Lightning Raptor, which is now a truck that we want to see made.

However, the Lightning Switchgear is not a production-intent vehicle. Instead, Ford is calling it a “demonstrator vehicle” and comparing it to other outrageous builds like the SuperVan, F-100 Eluminator and Mustang Mach-E 1400. It’s a test bed of sorts for engineers – the truck was built in collaboration with RTR – to experiment and learn about EVs in hopes that said learnings will be applied to future projects meant for the road.

Unlike all the projects listed above, the Switchgear sticks with the powertrain it comes from the factory with. That’s hardly upsetting, though, as the Lightning produces 580 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque in its Extended Range battery pack trim. What’s new are all the bits underneath and the sheetmetal around it. The Switchgear sports a wider track, increased ground clearance and lots more suspension travel. It features a custom double-wishbone front suspension and multi-link independent suspension in the rear with coilover shocks. A unique stabillizer bar and custom control arms complete the job in back. 

As for those shocks, it uses Fox 3-inch diameter internal bypass shocks all around and specially designed front and rear bumpers for improved approach and departure angles. Its power is sent through 37-inch Nitto Ridge Grappler tires wrapping 18-inch wheels, and it’s fitted with a rack that can hold up to two spare wheels and tires. Ford says it features 11 inches of wheel travel in front and 13 inches in back.

The Switchgear’s appearance comes thanks to carbon composite front fenders, bed sides and rear bumper. It also gets steel rock rails, a steel front bumper and a steel front skid plate. Most of the interior is standard F-150 Lightning, but it upgrades to Recaro Sportster ORV seats (for all five passengers) and gets six-point harnesses, too.

There’s more to the Switchgear than just off-road performance, though, because Ford says it’s built a “street configuration” alongside the off-road version. This fits the Switchgear with Nitto NT420V street performance tires wrapping 20-inch wheels, a carbon composite front bumper with lower valence, carbon rocker skirts and a Ford Performance tonneau cover. The ride height is lowered significantly, but Ford isn’t saying anything more about this street-performance truck. You can see the differences in the two builds in side-by-side photos above, with the only photo provided of the street build on the left.

If you want to see the Switchgear in person, Ford says it will make a public debut at the King of the Hammers off-road racing event on January 25 in Johnson Valley, Calif. We can only hope that this inspires Ford to take the production Lightning pickup to even more extreme heights.

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