We will start with an overview. There are going to be two versions of the Lightning based on battery size: there’s going to be a standard battery size model with about a 230-mile range and then there’s going to be an extended range model with about a 300-mile range. The standard range F-150 Lightning has about 430 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, and it can tow around 7 700 pounds. The extended range version has 560 horsepower and the same 775-pound feet and it can tow 10 000 pounds.
All of the lightning models are going to be the super crew body style — the full four-door crew cab body style, they all have dual motors and they’re all going to come standard with all-wheel drive. Pricing is going to start right around $40 000 for the base-level work truck version, and that is before the federal tax credits or any state and local tax credits for an electric car. And that makes it cheaper than a comparable gas-powered F-150 of the same work truck ilk. The XLT model, which is more consumer-oriented instead of more commercial-oriented, is going to cost $53 — 55 000, which doesn’t hold the same price advantage since a gas-powered XLT F-150 starts around $46 000. Well-equipped luxury versions of the F-150 Lightning are going to cost up to $90 000.
There is a lot of cool stuff with this truck. There is a front trunk. Because the F-150 is an electric vehicle it doesn’t need a combustion engine up front taking up all that space, it has a trunk instead. It’s a power-operated trunk mechanism: you push a button and it automatically rises up and reveals a rather large trunk. This is a pretty big deal because one big complaint of pickup truck owners is you have an exposed bed in your truck. And now you have the best of both worlds: you have a bed where you can put haul stuff around and you have a front trunk where you can stick stuff if you want to keep it private and out of the way.
Another cool thing is the big touchscreen. The F-150 Lightning will offer a massive touchscreen. It will also come with a blue cruise, which is what Ford is calling its hands-off driver-assist system. As far as performance, Ford says it’s 0-60 with the extended battery in the mid-4-second range, so this will be the quickest F-150 ever made.
Ford doesn’t have a dedicated national charging network like Tesla does, instead, they’ve put together various public chargers that support their vehicles and they’ve put them into a smartphone app called the Ford Pass app. It’s not quite as ideal as Tesla’s but it’s a start. At home, you can recharge the F-150, at the 240 volts you can recharge it at about 14 miles per hour which means it’ll take about 20 hours to recharge the extended range model with the 300-mile range. Or you can install at your house an 80 amp charge station PRO which is optional for the standard range truck but standard on the extended range truck, and that’ll charge the truck in eight hours. And if there’s a power outage it can actually take power from the truck from the battery where it’s stored, take it out of the truck and send it back into your home where it has enough power to power your home for at least a few days depending on your energy usage and that is a pretty cool feature.
There are also power outlets all over the f-150 lightning that you can use to power stuff when you’re out in the field, on a job site or you need to plug in a power tool. And there’s a lot of other stuff you can plug in: an air compressor if you go off-roading or a laptop while you’re waiting for your kids’ soccer practice to finish. And that is standard, you don’t have to get the charge station PRO to do that.
Benefits and Drawbacks
There are some serious benefits to this truck and there are also a few little drawbacks. The biggest benefit is obvious: it is an affordable electric pickup truck that brings electric power to a truck without really sacrificing a lot and that is pretty impressive. The sacrifices seem relatively minimal. You can tow up to ten thousand pounds, you can do 0 to 60 in 4.5 seconds, so it is capable and fast, and it’s relatively affordable.
Tesla claims that its upcoming cyber truck will start from $40 000 and go on sale this year but most experts are starting to believe that that launch is going to be delayed till next year. And Tesla seems to prioritize releasing the top-end versions of its vehicles before the low-end models and sometimes either not releasing or just canceling the low-end models completely. Another electric truck competitor is Rivian which is coming out with their pickup soon that also looks very cool. They have promised four years that that truck would be out next month- June of 2021. It doesn’t look like that’s actually going to happen, and again $70 000 base price. And the other electric truck coming out is the new GMC Hummer EV, which looks awesome but a starting price of over $100 000.
Ford says their vehicles will be out in about a year — in spring of next year and it’s really impressive. The F-150 Lightning seems like a carefully thought out truck that truck people can use and that truck people and businesses can afford.
Let’s also touch on the drawbacks. Ford says the base price of the base model F-150 Lightning will be $40 000 which is great but it seems the XLT model is going to be in the mid 50 000 range and the value proposition doesn’t quite line up there. The mid-50s number is before the EV tax credits so right now Ford still has EV tax credits left from the federal government, so you can take 7 500 off that mid $50 000 price but Ford’s 7500 tax credits will surely run out soon.
So, the base F-150 Lightning is a bargain but the mid-trim models are not quite the price bargain that the base model seems to be. So, it’s not going to be a revolution where you can get an electric truck for less money than a gas-powered truck. It’s going to be a little bit of a premium in terms of trim levels that most people are going to be buying.
The other drawback worth mentioning is that the capabilities of this truck will decrease substantially if you use Lightning for truck purposes. The extended range model can tow 10 000 pounds it’s but towing 10 000 pounds will influence the range of 300 miles. But the price and the depleted range for towing are two things that all EV trucks will face. But this seems like a really compelling EV truck. It doesn’t seem to have any specific drawbacks on its own.
The front trunk is a brilliant idea that solves the age-old truck problem of having your stuff exposed in your bed for theft or vandalism or rain. And the home charger that can add power back to your house in a power outage is a really good idea. The giant center screen is also a great innovation.
Summing It Up
Overall, the F-150 Lightning seems like the most reasonable and widely appealing electric truck that’s been announced yet. Ford is betting big on the fact that there are regular people out there who want the capabilities of a truck but can use electric power as well. Ford is going after a large segment of traditional truck buyers. It’s a very interesting market position. This is a pretty big step in the car
Industry and a big step forward for electric vehicles in general.
When Ford comes out with an electric F-150 with all these capabilities this is going to start making people think that EVs aren’t some nebulous concept that people are doing in California and on the coast. EVs are coming to their backyard. And this might be a turning point in the electric car industry. If Ford can convince truck shoppers to go electric we will be seeing the beginning of a new revolution of electric vehicles, especially at this price point.