Make / Model Search

Future models - Ford - F-150 - Lightning

Exclusive: F-150 Lightning ready for fleets

Remanufactured RHD F-150 Lightning 4x4 BEV utes ready for Australian, export buyers

15 Apr 2024

AUSTRALIAN owned and operated BossCap Group is bringing specialty automotive manufacturing on-shore under its umbrella of electric vehicle-focused companies with a view to enhancing the nation’s sovereign capability. 
Its right-hand-drive conversion and homologation program for the Ford F-150 lightning – becoming Australia’s first 4x4 battery electric ute – includes variants for commercial and private customers and is already gaining plenty of interest, both locally and from other RHD markets that would otherwise lack access to this kind of in-demand vehicle. 
Founded in 2012, BossCap is no stranger to RHD conversions of imported vehicles but has now set its sights on the growing battery electric vehicle (BEV) market with the remanufacturing of electric utes and trucks through its engineering arm, Advanced Manufacturing Queensland (AMQ). 
The company also prepares the vehicles for private and commercial distribution, respectively through its AUSEV division and partnership with GB Electric Vehicles. 
“AUSEV is the importer/distributor, Advanced Manufacturing Queensland is the remanufacturer,” explained BossCap chief strategy officer Brendan Kenny in an exclusive interview with GoAuto. 
“We have partnered with GB Electric Vehicles for the commercial space, which is where most of the volume will be, and we will also provide a limited number of units to the retail market under the AUSEV brand,” he said. 
“We've heavily invested in EV and pivoted our entire operation to supply RHD EV utes to the market with a focus on fleet and commercial customers.” 
AMQ is based at Brendale in north Brisbane, responsible for remanufacturing Ford F-150 Lightning models at its 8000-square-metre facility. 
GoAuto was given a tour of the facility by chief manufacturing officer James Brycker, who brings more than 25 years of international OEM experience to the operation. 
He explained that the factory was overhauled and now uses lean manufacturing principles, streamlining the production line to achieve OEM levels of output and quality.  
The tour with Mr Brycker encompassed various bays, all efficiently organised like the many major OEM factories GoAuto has toured, with bays dedicated to quality checks of the Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) certified conversion components and various assembly areas. 
Under Mr Brycker’s guidance, the site is now capable of scaling the operation based on demand, with no shortage of stock on hand to service Australia’s BEV-hungry fleet and commercial market.  
The result is a right-hand drive conversion that achieves OEM levels of fit and finish while retaining the safety and driveability of the original vehicle, including the injection moulded dashboard that GoAuto found to be indistinguishable from the left-hand drive original.  
AMQ invested more than $5 million in design and tooling for the F-150 Lightning conversion across the instrument panel, brake and steering parts, and CCS2 charging conversion. 
The result is Australia’s first electric 4x4 ute, a fully homologated right-hand drive F-150 Lightning, ready for local consumption. As reported by GoAuto, our recent brief drive of the vehicle discovered a polished product reflective of the experience and investment poured into the conversion and validation process. 

Lightning port 

As the Australian BEV market continues to heat up, with sales more than tripling in 2023 to reach 87,217 units, the 4x4 ute market lags behind – a problem BossCap wanted to solve. 
Mr Kenny explained that BossCap began its search for a suitable electric ute back in 2021, wanting a vehicle that offered a proven electric architecture and the durability to handle commercial use Down Under. 
The firm landed on the F-150 Lightning, based on its strong driving range, motor outputs and carrying capacity that would make it suitable for severe-duty applications like remote field work. 
“It’s a known product and it’s America’s best-selling pick-up truck, and this is not an EV conversion – this vehicle was originally designed to be an EV,” said Mr Kenny. 
Finding a suitable mass-produced BEV to remanufacture was important for AUSEV, steering away from electric conversions. 
“When you’re retrofitting a battery and new motors, things like the cooling system may be far more primitive than what an OEM vehicle will have,” explained Mr Kenny. 
Testing and validation were undertaken by AUSEV’s commercial partner, GB Electric Vehicles (a division of fleet, heavy vehicle and mobile equipment specialist GB Auto), at the ex-Holden Lang Lang proving ground in Victoria to make sure the Lightning stacks up for fleet duties.  
GB Auto is also responsible for fitting a mine-spec tray and safety pack to the F-150 Lightning, making it suitable for fleet use across the resources sector. A prototype model on-site even featured a colour-matched Norweld tray, showcasing the local aftermarket support available for commercial customers. 
“GB have conducted extensive durability testing at the Lang Lang proving grounds, including comparison testing of our right-hand drive and a left-hand drive unit supplied by the Auto Innovation Centre,” said Mr Kenny, 
“They have done a tremendous amount of work to make sure the F-150 Lightning is suitable for the commercial market.” 
Local testing was also undertaken, with a race track made available to AMQ to complement the Lang Lang trials, allowing the company to clock serious hours behind the wheel of the Lightning models.  
“Having access to Lakeside Raceway has been a tremendous help – it’s just 20 minutes away which has accelerated the validation testing program,” said Mr Kenny. 
“We now have fully homologated the vehicle for the Australian market.” 
AUSEV is not stopping with the F-150 Lightning, though, sharing its plans with GoAuto to bring a mobile fast charger to Australia. 
“AUSEV has some exciting products in the pipeline including a mobile charging solution in the form of a transportable battery and charger that will reduce both peak load requirements and fixed infrastructure upgrades for large fleets,” said Mr Kenny. 
The mobile DC charger will be fixed to a trailer, allowing customers to charge vehicles in the field – particularly suited to mining and utility applications.  

Right-hand ready 

When discussing the ideal customer for the F-150 Lightning models, AUSEV was quick to point out that there is global demand for a right-hand drive electric 4x4 ute. 
“Anyone in the world who wants a right-hand drive EV Ute – not just Australia,” said Mr Kenny when asked about who is enquiring. 
“We are particularly excited about the export opportunities. 
“Locally in Australia though, our ideal customers are fleets and mines – so basically anyone who needs a reliable EV ute,” he said. 
AUSEV and GB Auto are already in the throes of exporting the F-150 Lightning models at scale, as well as sending them all over Australia for use in some of the nation’s harshest conditions.  
“Production is now ramping up, with the bulk of the initial units being split between exports to an international foreign aid customer and domestic supply to Indigenous-owned Kuuwa Rentals in Western Australia,” said Mr Kenny. 
Although GB Auto is still finalising commercial pricing for the F-150 Lightning, GoAuto understands it will cost roughly 50 per cent more than a petrol F-150 Lariat (from $139,950 before on-road costs), which suggests the electric ute will land around the $210K region.
“While pricing is being finalised for fleet customers, it will cost roughly 50 per cent more than a petrol F-150,” said Mr Kenny. 
“While all EVs cost more to purchase, this vehicle includes a large battery, massively reduced operating costs, increased capability, occupant and ESG benefits and Australian manufacturing input, justifying the additional outlay for many fleet buyers.” 
although many commercial customers – such as mining companies – will service their own vehicles, AUSEV has negotiated a nationwide servicing agreement with Mycar, while AUSEV will undertake warranty items and major servicing.  
“We have our own national service network plus a partnership with Mycar, who already have a number of EV-ready stores,” said Mr Kenny. 
We also plan on establishing an EV battery diagnostics and repair department to support not only our own operations and customers but dealer groups and the general public. 
“However, given the reduced maintenance requirements of EVs, we believe that fleet customers may choose to do their own servicing.” 
While there are various electric van and ute models slated for Australia in the near future, AUSEV says the reputation of the F-150 as a proven workhorse, along with the fact their solution is ready to go, will present an advantage over other options.  
“Late 2025/2026 there will be an influx of EV utes from new overseas manufacturers,” Mr Kenny said. 
“Our advantage is our product is ready to go now and has been proven over many decades to be fit for purpose.” 
In addition to the obvious benefit of being first to market, AUSEV urges potential customers to consider the local economic benefit of purchasing a BEV with Australian manufacturing input. 

“Our view is the local economic benefit from the Australian manufacturing component should be a consideration with fleet purchases in the public sector,” said Mr Kenny.

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Ford models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here