Meet the Woman Behind Ford’s All-Electric F-150 Lightning: “Pursue What You Love”


DETROIT – The All-electric Ford F-150 Lightning could be one of the most anticipated new vehicles for a very long time.

It’s so popular that even President Joe Biden has had to try it. But there is something you might not know. The engineer in charge of bringing the Lightning to life is a woman whose story is quite incredible.

Linda Zhang was only 19 when she started at Ford. It was 25 years ago.

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Zhang describes the first time she set foot on American soil, when she was only eight years old. At the time, she spoke very little English and only knew her alphabet up to the letter h. She said she learned about it on the plane. However, she learned quickly and followed in her father’s footsteps.

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She rose through the engineering ranks at Ford and eventually became the chief engineer tasked with electrifying the world’s best-selling pickup truck, the Ford F-150 Lightning.

“I’m just happy that I can play a part in this truck,” Zhang said. “For me there are a lot of great engineers, a lot of great people across the company who have been really involved in making this product. It’s great to be in the role I’m in. Being able to see everything, but I’m just one part of a much bigger picture.

The truck has a volume of 400 liters and a payload of 400 pounds. In addition to being all electric, the vehicle has so many new features.

The interior of the vehicle is very spacious, and it has tons of technology with a nice 15 inch screen. It’s your average truck but with a twist.

Under the hood of the truck is a trunk. The engineer replaced the engine with storage space that could hold two golf bags. If golf isn’t your game, under the flap is a tailgate that accommodates wet and dirty items. The tailgate has a drain inside to fill with ice.

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The cabin also has electrical outlets that provide cold power to a TV, an electric pot, or your entire home should the worst get worse.

If that’s not impressive enough, the truck goes from zero to 60 in just under five seconds.

Zhang thinks her good friends Henry Ford and Thomas Edison would be excited about what she helped create.

“I think they would be excited,” Zhang said. “I mean, at the time Henry Ford actually considered trying to electrify the Model T. So for us we’re taking his dream and now with the technologies we have, we’re bringing it to the to like.”

Speaking of dreams; It is a dream come true for Zhang. What she’s accomplished in a male-dominated industry is impressive. But that’s not something she spends a lot of time thinking about.

“It’s kind of fun,” Zhang said. “I haven’t really thought about it too much. For me, seeing a lot of feedback there has been really rewarding knowing that I’m making an impact on the little girls there, and my advice would be to just pursue what you love, because that’s what I do. ‘have done. I love engineering, and I love business, and I love automotive, so for me it was just chasing my dreams so you can do it too.

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