Earlier this year, Ford let us feel the F-150 Lightning. And it appears they don't plan to keep us waiting on the Thunder in North America for much longer. Ford has filed trademark applications with the USPTO for "F-150 Thunder," "Ranger Thunder" and "Maverick Thunder." They also filed similar applications in Canada.
How does Ford plan to use the Thunder trademark? We haven't heard anything yet, but we can certainly make an educated guess. Presumably, Thunder could relate to the F-150 Lightning; one could see Thunder being the name of a more powerful plug-in hybrid, and rumors have had the new Ranger getting a PHEV. But the F-150 and Maverick already have hybrid engines — with no apparent plans to go plug-in soon. Besides, whatever plug-in hybrid powertrain ends up in the Ranger would almost undoubtedly go to the Bronco to take on the Jeep Wrangler 4xe, and Ford did not file for a Bronco Thunder trademark.
The trademark may not be powertrain-related, of course. The Thunder could be an appearance package. Ford debuted a limited-run Ranger Thunder edition in Europe in 2020. The Ranger Thunder received an "edgier look" with dark Sea Gray paint, 18-inch black alloy wheels, red accents and Ebony black bumpers and skid plates. The interior received Ebony Leather seats. A similar dark and stormy look would seemingly translate well to all three trucks.
Ford also has not ruled out building a more street-oriented pickup. And at least in theory, one could see Ford pairing the more sinister appearance with some performance upgrades and better on-road tires. However, the street-oriented pickup feels more like something that would intrigue '90s-nostalgic car journalists than real-life truck buyers. Ford has not gone that route for decades and just used "Lightning" for a different product.
We don't know when the Thunder trucks will arrive. But it could still be something for the 2023 model year, especially if it's just an appearance package. Perhaps we'll find out more when autumn's closing in.