Ford Motor has opened a significant new entrance within the battle to dominate the fast-growing electric vehicle market, and it’s banking on one of many world’s strongest enterprise franchises.

In a splashy presentation Wednesday night time at a Ford plant in Dearborn, Mich., the automaker unveiled an electrical model of its standard F-150 pickup truck known as the Lightning. Ford’s F-Collection vehicles, together with the F-150, make up the top-selling car line in america, and usually generate about $42 billion a year in revenue, based on a examine commissioned by Ford — or greater than twice what McDonald’s brought in last year.

It was probably the most anticipated introductions of a brand new automotive and invited comparisons to Ford’s Mannequin T, the automotive that made vehicles reasonably priced to the plenty. Ford has so much at stake within the new car’s success. If it could possibly flip the F-150 Lightning into a giant vendor, it might speed up the transfer towards electrical automobiles, which students say is important for the world to keep away from the worst results of climate change.

Tailpipe air pollution from vehicles and vehicles represents the most important supply of greenhouse fuel emissions in america and one of many largest on this planet. But when the Lightning doesn’t promote nicely, it might recommend that the transition to E.V.s shall be far slower than President Biden and different world leaders want to attain local weather targets.

“The F-150 will put electrical automobiles in a very totally different realm,” mentioned Michael Ramsey, a Gartner analyst. “It’s big for Ford, but in addition big for the entire business. In case you’re going to impress the entire car fleet in america, the F-150 going electrical is a giant step in that course.”

The F-150 Lightning alerts a shift within the auto business’s E.V. push, which has been aimed toward area of interest markets, to this point. Tesla has grown rapidly for several years by promoting flashy sports activities vehicles to the prosperous and early adopters. It offered near 500,000 vehicles globally final yr, a bit of greater than half as many F-Collection vehicles Ford offered. Different electrical fashions which have offered nicely have been small vehicles, such because the Chevrolet Bolt and Nissan Leaf, that attraction to environmentally minded customers.

The F-150 Lightning, in distinction, is aimed toward small companies and company clients resembling constructing contractors and mining and building corporations that purchase numerous rugged pickups. These patrons usually care not simply in regards to the sticker value of a truck but in addition how a lot it prices to function and preserve. Electrical automobiles are likely to cost more to buy but less to own than typical vehicles and vehicles as a result of they’ve fewer elements and electrical energy is cheaper than gasoline or diesel on a per mile foundation.

“There are a whole lot of huge fleets who’ve been in search of inexperienced options however haven’t had any solutions till now,” William C. Ford Jr., the corporate’s chairman and a great-grandson of Henry Ford, mentioned in an interview.

The truck is anticipated to go on sale subsequent spring, with a beginning value of $39,974 for a mannequin that may journey 230 miles on a full cost. A model with a variety of 300 miles begins at $59,974.

Ford’s chief government, Jim Farley, informed CNBC on Thursday that the corporate had taken reservations for 20,000 Lightning trucks in lower than 12 hours after its Wednesday occasion.

With an electrical motor mounted on every of its axles, the car will provide extra torque — in impact, quicker acceleration — than any earlier F-150 and shall be able to towing as much as 10,000 kilos. Its battery pack can energy a house for about three days throughout an outage, based on Ford.

For contractors and different business truck customers, the Lightning will be capable of energy electrical saws, instruments and lighting, doubtlessly changing or lowering the necessity for turbines at work websites. It has as much as 11 energy shops.

“It’s made to be on the work web site and to work all day lengthy,” mentioned Ted Cannis, basic supervisor of Ford’s North American business car enterprise.

The truck’s base value is a couple of thousand {dollars} lower than that of a Tesla Mannequin 3 and even that of the corporate’s personal Mustang Mach-E sport-utility car. The whole price is decrease nonetheless as a result of patrons of Ford’s electrical automobiles nonetheless qualify for the $7,500 federal tax credit score obtainable for the acquisition of E.V.s. Some states resembling California, New Jersey and New York provide extra rebates price as a lot as $5,000.

Mr. Cannis mentioned Ford was capable of maintain the value of the electrical mannequin down through the use of the seats and different elements that go into typical F-Collection vehicles. Ford usually sells 900,000 of these automobiles a yr, giving it substantial economies of scale.

Normal Motors and start-ups like Rivian are additionally engaged on electrical pickups. Rivian has mentioned it would begin delivering its truck, the R1T, this summer and G.M. is anticipated to promote the GMC Hummer pickup later this yr.

An enormous query about electrical pickups is whether or not many people will buy them. Past business patrons, vehicles just like the F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and the Ram are usually purchased by individuals who have a whole lot of stuff to haul or by folks — normally males — who like driving vehicles.

“There’ll in all probability be some preliminary raised eyebrows, however as soon as we get folks to expertise the driving dynamics and the additional room, the skepticism will abate,” Mr. Ford mentioned.

The F-Collection vehicles have been the top-selling mannequin line in america for the final 44 years. A 2020 examine by the Boston Consulting Group discovered that the truck helps 500,000 jobs at Ford, elements suppliers and dealerships.

Ford’s introduction of the Lightning received a significant enhance from Mr. Biden, who on Tuesday visited the corporate’s Rouge Electrical Automobile Middle the place the pickup shall be made. Earlier than a pool of White Home reporters gathered on the plant, Mr. Biden pulled up behind the wheel of a prototype coated in black-and-white camouflage sheeting used to hide the form of the truck forward of the Wednesday occasion.

“This sucker’s fast,” Mr. Biden mentioned, and let slip that the truck can zoom to 60 miles an hour in 4.4 seconds, a element that wasn’t presupposed to be launched till Wednesday. Mr. Biden then zoomed off, reaching a high velocity of 80 m.p.h.

The Secret Service usually doesn’t enable presidents to drive. Ford officers weren’t positive Mr. Biden would drive the truck till he arrived on the Rouge middle, nevertheless it’s not a shock he did.

Mr. Biden is a well-known automotive fanatic and owns a green 1967 Corvette that was given to him by his father as a marriage current. In 2016, he and his Corvette appeared on an episode of “Jay Leno’s Storage,” during which he drove the automotive at an enclosed Secret Service coaching facility.

Ford’s plan to supply an electrical truck within the Midwest with union labor intently aligns with the Biden administration’s aim to chop greenhouse fuel emissions, improve home manufacturing, help unions and speed up the transition to electrical automobiles. The batteries for the Lightning shall be made by SK Innovation, a South Korean firm, at a manufacturing facility in Commerce, Ga. On Thursday, Ford mentioned it and SK Innovation would form a joint venture, BlueOvalSK, to fabricate battery cells and modules in america, beginning in the course of this decade.

The administration’s $2 trillion infrastructure proposal contains cash to assist construct half 1,000,000 charging stations and incentives for the acquisition of electrical automobiles.

Ford has mentioned it plans on spending $22 billion to develop electrical automobiles over a five-year interval ending in 2025.

Different automakers are shifting in the identical course. G.M. is spending an analogous sum and has mentioned it goals to supply solely electrical automobiles by 2035, setting a goal date for phasing out the interior combustion engine, which has powered the auto business for greater than a century.

G.M. not too long ago launched an up to date model of its electrical automotive, the Chevrolet Bolt. It additionally plans to make an electrical model of its standard Silverado pickup truck, which is without doubt one of the largest opponents to the F-150.