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Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck can power an entire work site. Photo: Ford

Electric vehicles have finally hit the mainstream: America's most popular model, the Ford F-series pickup truck, is going electric at a decidedly mass-market price: $39,974.

Why it matters: Until now, EVs have appealed mostly to wealthy technology fans or environmentalists. But the F-150 Lightning is aimed at everyday truck owners — making it a potential turning point in the electric vehicle revolution.

Ford's biggest challenge will be to convince skeptical buyers that electric trucks are up to the job.

  • People buy trucks so they can tow trailers and haul heavy loads — which require extra power, slashing a truck's driving range.

To offset those fears, Ford loaded the F-150 Lightning with new technology. And it's pitching the truck as a generator on wheels — its batteries can power a home for three days in a blackout, Ford says.

  • At a work site or campsite, owners can offload up to 9.6 kW of electricity to power tools or appliances from a variety of outlets in the truck's cabin, bed or "frunk" — the massive front trunk where the engine would ordinarily be.
  • The Lightning comes with a standard 230-mile range pack or an extended range battery, good for 300 miles.
  • While using the onboard power, the system can send a smartphone alert if you're in danger of running out of juice.
  • Sensors can also estimate how much drivers are hauling and combine that data with driving conditions to give them an accurate, real-time estimate of how far they can go.

What they're saying: “It really is the smartest F-150 we’ve ever made,” said Darren Palmer, general manager, Ford's Battery Electric Vehicles.

Yes, but: Like other manufacturers, Ford is coping with supply chain issues that are threatening production.

  • On Wednesday, Ford said it would idle more factories, including the one where the F-150 is built, due to a shortage of semiconductors.
  • On Thursday, it's expected to announce a joint venture with South Korean battery maker SK Innovation to support its electric vehicle rollout, Reuters reported.

What to watch: Ford will face plenty of competition in the electric pickup market, including new plug-in models from Tesla, GM and Rivian.

  • But its sub-$40,000 starting price — before any federal or state tax credits — shows Ford doesn't intend to yield its truck leadership.

Go deeper

Arab American activists to protest Biden's Michigan visit over Israel support

"Free Palestine" rally in Dearborn on May 15. Photo: Matthew Hatcher/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arab American activists are planning a series of protests on Tuesday during President Biden's visit to Dearborn, Michigan, which has one of the highest percentage of Arab Americans of any U.S. city, the Detroit Free Press reports.

Why it matters: Arab American activists are outraged over Biden's public support of Israel's military operation in Gaza, which has killed more than 200 Palestinians, including 61 children.

Updated 1 hour ago - Science

NTSB probes crash that killed 10 in Alabama as storm lashes Southeast

Flash-flooding in Bloomington, Indiana, on Saturday. Photo: Jeremy Hogan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The National Transportation Safety Board announced Sunday that it's investigating a fiery multi-vehicle weekend crash in Alabama that killed 10 people, including nine children, as storms swept the Southeast.

The big picture: Saturday's crash on Interstate 65, south of Montgomery, occurred amid a tropical depression that left 13 people dead in Alabama as it triggered flash floods and spawned tornadoes that razed "dozens of homes," per AP.

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.