Ford, the leading automaker when it comes to making and selling specially designed vehicles for law enforcement, revealed the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV, an electric truck specially designed for law enforcement.
The truck is a variant of the F-150 Lightning Pro, which is a version of Ford’s electric pickup that’s aimed specifically at commercial customers and fleet owners. Ford is pitching the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV (which stands for “Special Service Vehicle”) as an ideal fleet vehicle with all the features cops have come to rely on over the years, as well as other advantages specific to EVs, like quick acceleration and a lower total cost of ownership.
And interestingly, the new version of the F-150 Lightning is being revealed a little over two years after protests for racial justice and against police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s murder erupted nationwide, forcing many companies to reckon with their ties to law enforcement.
Ford already sells a gas-powered version of the F-150 to police departments called the Police Responder. And the F-150 Lightning Pro SSV will have many of the same specs, including: police-grade heavy-duty cloth seats with reduced bolsters to help holstered officers enter and exit the vehicle; steel intrusion plates in the front seatbacks; roof-mounted LED warning beacons; reinforced instrument panel top tray for easy mounting of police equipment; and easy-to-clean vinyl rear seats and vinyl flooring.
Ford Pro vehicles come with a variety of additional features, including Ford’s commercial telematics software, which makes it easier for fleet owners to keep tabs on the location, charging status, or health of their vehicles. Ford says it’s offering a two-year subscription to 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 trucks for their police departments. And the company’s Body Builder Advisory Service offers a range of guides and how-tos for cops that want to modify or improve their trucks with aftermarket equipment.
Among US automakers, Ford is far and away the leading seller of cop cars of all shapes and sizes, making up some two-thirds of the market. From the Crown Victoria to the Explorer-based cruisers of today, Ford has been a favorite among police departments. While it’s not a big source of the company’s annual revenue, Ford has long maintained that its overall lineup benefits from new technologies that get tested in the police vehicles (like hybrid electric drivetrains, for example).
Ford has trialed its Mustang Mach-E electric SUV with some police departments, and while it performed well in acceleration and braking tests, it still received relatively low scores from participating police officers.
But the national protest movement in 2020 cast a harsh light on Ford’s police business. Employees inside Ford asked the company’s leadership to stop making and selling police vehicles, but the company’s then-CEO Jim Hackett dismissed it as unnecessary. It was clear that Ford was uninterested in severing ties with law enforcement, even though some of the most horrific videos to go viral featured protestors being run over by police driving Ford vehicles.