Raise the hood on the latest Ford pickup, and you’re bound to notice something is missing. Namely the internal combustion engine. No, it wasn’t a mix-up on the factory floor. This is the Ford F-150 Lightning, arguably the first truly practical all-electric pickup.
If you’ve been around work trucks long enough, the F-150 Lightning will feel instantly familiar. Based off the conventional F-150 model, this battery-powered version is offered in just one basic configuration, a four-door crew cab with a 5.5-ft cargo bed.
The powertrain is remarkably straightforward too. The design features electric motors on both axles, offering the truck standard all-wheel drive.
Buyers do have a choice of a standard battery pack rated at 98kW and good for a range of about 230 miles, or a 131kW extended battery pack. This $10,000 upgrade allows the truck to travel 320 miles between recharging sessions. Besides having to plug in less frequently in day-to-day operations, the larger battery pack is also better suited for applications like towing.
What’s really impressive though, is just how gutsy this powertrain is. With the standard battery pack, output totals 452 hp; that jumps to 580 hp with the extended battery pack. Acceleration is impressive, with the 0-60 mph sprint taking about 4 seconds, a rating once reserved for exotic sports cars.
Speaking of battery packs, they can be recharged from regular 110V or 220V AC outlets, but both options are slow. Commercially available DC “fast chargers” can take the truck’s battery from 15%to 80% in about 45 minutes.
When it’s time to get to work, the F-150 Lightning can pull trailers up to 10,000 lb with the extended battery pack, and 7,700 lb with the standard battery pack. Payload capacities are 1,800 lb and 2,000 lb respectively. Onboard scales are available to give you a decent estimate of the weight of your load.
When it comes to hauling human cargo, the F-150 Lightning offers a spacious cabin with adult-sized room in the back seat. That seat can also be flipped up to make room for expensive items you’d rather not leave out in the bed.
If that’s not enough practicality, there’s always the Lightning’s “frunk” (front trunk) under the hood that can handle another 400 lb of gear. After spending a week with this battery-powered pickup, we think calling it this truck’s most useful innovation is not a stretch.
The F-150 Lightning is available with an extended battery for a range of 320 miles on a single charge.
Image courtesy of Ford Motor Co.
Of course, having all those electrons onboard lends itself to other intriguing possibilities as well. Topping the list of productivity-enhancing features is the PowerPro Onboard setup built into the sidewall of the box just inside the tailgate.
There you’ll find a 240W, 30A plug as well as several household-style 120V AC power outlets that can run power tools, air compressors and the like on a remote job site. Even more impressive, Ford says the F-150 Lightning’s fully charged battery banks can power an average home for up to three days in case of a blackout.
The Ford F-150 Lightning is offered in familiar trim levels, ranging from a fairly basic Pro model to the decidedly upscale Platinum. Prices range from about $47,000 to $92,000, reflecting a recent price jump due to the rising cost of battery materials. As you move up the model ladder, the list of useful creature comforts grows longer, to include a humongous 15-in. central touchscreen with navigation and a choice of two Bang & Olufsen premium audio systems.
Wireless updates are standard, minimizing downtime. Other useful tech includes the available BlueCruise feature which allows for hands-free driving on certain sections of road. The F-150 Lightning also offers “phone as key” which makes it possible to use your cell phone to unlock the truck and drive away without ever removing the phone from your pocket.