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Friday, October 31, 2008

Electric F150 Concept at SEMA

DEARBORN, Michigan — Ford's lineup of F-150 trucks for the 2008 SEMA Show includes a fully electric Hi-Pa Drive F-150 that provides a stunning jolt, even as gas prices plunge to near the $2.50-per-gallon level.

In a statement, Ford said the F-150's "engine, drivetrain, gearbox and all the related parts have been replaced." Instead, the workhorse truck that has been a fixture on the American landscape gets four electric in-wheel motors." Ford says this electric version "will deliver more than 600 horsepower as well as more torque than the 320-hp V8 engine it replaced."

PML Flightlink, the Alton, England manufacturer of Hi-Pa Drive, doesn't mention the F-150 SEMA truck on its Web site, but it notes that the setup is not an "off the shelf" product and it is not sold to individual users at the moment. Simply put, Hi-Pa Drive is an integrated motor and drive electronics bundled into one unit.

"Hi-Pa Drive is helping car designers eliminate oil dependency, carbon emissions and costs, while adding more power, room, performance and design options," said Ford. Ford's truck sales suffered as consumers got pounded with $4-per-gallon gas at the pump this summer. But on Wednesday, the AAA Daily Fuel Gauge report said the current national average for a gallon of gas stands at $2.58, a dramatic decline from just a few short months ago.

The more conventional trucks in Ford's SEMA lineup this year include the 2009 Ford F-150 Heavy Duty DeWalt Contractor truck, which features a built-in charger for battery-powered tools in the center console, a customized storage area beneath the second-row seat and a Ford Works Solutions Tool Link from DeWalt. The Tool Link will help contractors keep track of their equipment and "prevent loss of tools at the end of the day," said Ford.

The 2009 Ford F-150 FX-4 by X-Treme Toyz gets "hot flame" exterior graphics, a 9,000-pound winch, a bike rack and a Bedslide sliding cargo drawer equipped with a tool box, a tire and a small compressor. It is also known as the "Fahrenheit F-150."

Another entry will be the 2009 Ford F-150 by Street Scene Equipment, which puts an emphasis on comfort and luxury and is said to be suitable for a "black-tie event."