President Joe Biden was in Michigan today where the all-new electric Ford F-150 Lightning slipped into view, giving us a tantalizing (but slightly obscured, mostly) view of the future of the American pickup truck. It’s just one of several EV trucks in the works, part of a push to put a best-selling segment in a position to compete in a less fossil-fuel-dependent future. According to a report, this Ford isn’t the only electric vehicle that has Biden excited: apparently an electrified presidential limo is being considered.
Psaki revealed that not only is Biden’s administration considering an electric Beast, it’s something that Biden has talked about and would like to have happen. But whether, and when, it happens is a matter of debate. The past two Beasts have served for just under a decade, and President Trump had only recently put the latest Beast into use back in 2018. With so many details about the presidential state car, as it’s officially known, a secret, it’s not clear how long it would take to commission a new one, or if the change would have to wait until the current Beast reaches its natural retirement age.
Electrification would bring a new dimension to the various safety and protection systems. Contemporary rechargeable EV batteries can be flammable, and hard to extinguish, so any Beast using a significant amount would have to prevent them from damage as well as protect the occupants if the pack was to catch fire. And for a vehicle so heavy, if it were purely a BEV it would need to carry a massive load of batteries. A racing-style fuel cell—which contains flammable liquid inside a hard shell with a flexible, foam-filled bladder inside—would be a given if an internal combustion engine were also aboard.
Given Biden’s interest in cars in general, and in alternative-fueled American-built ones in particular, an electrified Beast seems like a no-brainer if the technical challenges in building one can be overcome.