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Data: Cox Automotive; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Ford Motor Co. will take the wraps off the electric version of its popular F-150 pickup truck on Wednesday night.

Why it matters: It's a big moment in the young movement toward pickups with a plug — and for electric vehicles more broadly.

  • Ford won't be the first to market with an electric truck, but the F-150 is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S.
  • The chart above shows the wider F-Series of trucks, of which the F-150 makes up the bulk.

The big picture: The trajectory of electric trucks is far more than a business story — it's a climate and air quality story too.

  • "If electric pickup trucks are successful, that’s a big hit to improve the environment," said Cox Automotive analyst Michelle Krebs.
  • "Pickup trucks, while they have greatly improved, they get lower fuel economy than other vehicles and emit more pollution."

What we're watching: The electric F-150's significance isn't lost on the White House as it urges Congress to approve new consumer EV incentives and charging investments. President Biden will visit Dearborn, Michigan on Tuesday to get a preview of what Ford is calling the F-150 Lightning.

Yes, but: Consumers' appetite for electric trucks is unclear as the first waves come to market at various price points and shapes.

  • They include Tesla's futuristic Cybertruck, Rivian's R1T, the GMC Hummer and the planned electric Chevy Silverado.
  • But the impact of Ford's electric F-150 will be a key sign given the traditional version's popularity and Ford's plan to aim the electric version at a mass market (though pricing remains unknown).

What they're saying: "We don’t know what the electric truck market is," Krebs said.

  • Known unknowns, she said, include how many buyers of traditional trucks will go electric, and how many people who would never own a traditional pickup will want one with a plug.
  • Another thing Krebs is watching is whether people who want electric pickups will gravitate toward legacy automakers or the various startups.

The intrigue: iSeeCars.com executive analyst Karl Brauer says Ford's history of introducing new tech to the F-150 line provides some important context.

  • When the EcoBoost V6 engine arrived about a decade ago, it "transitioned from low volume to the dominant drivetrain in only a few years."
  • "The time horizon for an electric F-150 to become the dominant model will be longer than the EcoBoost, but Ford doesn’t invest lightly in new F-150 drivetrains," Brauer said in an email exchange.

Go deeper

Updated 39 mins ago - Science

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

A car drives in the rain in Galveston, Texas. Photo: Zeng Jingning/China News Service 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.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."