Ford managed to turn some heads on Thursday with the unanticipated reveal of an electric semi truck concept called the F-Vision at the IAA Commercial Vehicles expo in Hannover, Germany.
The vehicle was designed by Ford Otosan of Turkey and features headlights that echo those of in the F-series line of pickup trucks, cameras in place of side mirrors, and an automatically tinting windshield. It's said to be capable of automatically linking with its trailer, as well as operating in a linked-together convoy mode. According to Teslarati, Ford stated during the vehicle's reveal that the F-Vision is intended to be capable of SAE level four autonomous driving, although by The Drive's measure, the SAE's autonomy rating system is flawed.
Ford reportedly advises the public not to mistake the F-Vision as an immediate competitor to the Tesla Semi, describing the F-Vision as a concept-only vehicle for now.
If Ford does bring the F-Vision to production, it will face stiff competition from not only Tesla (whose electric semi is undergoing live-fire testing ahead of initial production), but also Volvo. The latter's Vera electric semi concept has no cab whatsoever but intends on being a fully autonomous operation for local, repetitive operations such as hauling containers across large worksites all day.
Ford's F-Vision could also open it up to a lawsuit from Nikola Motors, which sued Tesla earlier this year claiming the Tesla vehicle violated its design patent, requesting the courts award it $2 billion in damages. As of the latest development, the grounds on which Nikola stands for its lawsuit looks unsteady, with the United States Patent and Trademark Office determining that the two designs differ enough to award separate patents. If Nikola fails to win in court against the troubled Tesla, its odds of successfully suing Ford would be even smaller still.