The Ford F-150 is America’s most popular truck. Coming in all sorts of flavors such as the hardcore Raptor and the practical Lariat, there truly is a model for every person and profession.
It’s no secret that the automaker has been working on an electric version of the hardy pickup. Signs include multiple teasers in the past few months and President Joe Biden driving a camouflaged pre-production unit around an empty parking lot. Today, the brand has finally taken the wraps off the F-150 Lightning.
If you’re wondering why “Lightning” sounds familiar, you’re not alone. It used to be the F-150’s high-performance version. The single-cab truck had a supercharged 5.4-liter V8 that produced 380hp and 610Nm—good for a 0-100km/h time of 5.8 seconds. It could also tow a 2,267kg trailer and carry up to 612kg in its bed.
Today, the name has nothing to do with being some kind of performance-oriented sub-brand (the F-150 Lightning is still bloody quick, though). It is more in line with Ford’s push toward electrification.
First off, the Lightning is only available only in the five-passenger SuperCrew cab with a 5.5ft bed. It looks similar to the current F-150, but with sculpted bodywork and blocked-off panels to reduce drag. Also new are the signature front and rear lightbars that run the width of the truck. Along with giving it a futuristic look, these LED strips allow you to illuminate specific zones or even the entire area around the vehicle.
The powertrain and the chassis are the highlights of the truck. Ford says that the Lightning’s target output and torque are 563hp and 1,050Nm, with a 0-100km/h time in the mid-four-second range (with the bigger battery). Battery capacities haven’t been disclosed, but the standard cells should offer about 370km, while the extended-range battery ups the capacity to 483km.
The Lightning comes with an 80A home charging station as standard. Hooking up to a 150kW fast charger will give the extended-range variant an additional 87km in just 10 minutes. Charging from 15% to 80% takes about 41 minutes.
The electrical system can push a total of 9.6kW to the car’s various power outlets (2.4kW to the front trunk and 7.2kW to the bed or the cab). It is smart enough to notify you if the current charge falls below one-third of the total range, and it can be set to stop supplying auxiliary power if the vehicle won’t be able to make it to the nearest charging station.
The same battery pack can act as a generator. Plugged in to the home charging station, the Lightning can supply 9.6kW to your house. Ford claims that the variant with the larger power pack can keep the lights on at home for up to 10 days, depending on usage.
The Lightning is still an F-150 at its core. The bed’s payload limit is 907kg for the standard-range model. The extended-range truck, on the other hand, can tow up to 4,536kg. It can be equipped with Onboard Scales that can also calculate the estimated range for any given cargo weight. There is a 400L front trunk, which can apparently double as a food and drink container. But we won’t fill it up with shrimp cocktail, though.
As for the interior, it’s mostly the same as the piston-engine F-150, but with a massive 15.5-inch center touchscreen. It also uses a new rear independent suspension system to improve ride comfort. Coupled with the low center of gravity from the batteries, the Lightning should be one of the best-handling F-150s yet.
If you think that the Lightning is going to be expensive, one of Ford’s targets is to make electric-truck ownership a lot more accessible to a lot of people. The base variant starts at $39,974 (P1.92 million), while the XLT retails for $52,974 (P2.54 million). Pricing for the higher-end Lariat and Platinum has yet to be announced, but expect the entire range to be available by spring 2022.