On Wednesday night, the Ford Motor Company unveiled its latest pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning. The truck is the hotly anticipated battery-electric version of Ford’s bestselling vehicle, and when it goes on sale in mid-2022, it will join the Mustang Mach-E and the electric Transit van as part of Ford’s battery EV lineup.
On Tuesday, President Joe Biden visited Ford’s Rouge factory in Michigan and gave the world an impromptu demo of how quickly the F-150 Lightning can accelerate.
The answer is around four seconds to 60 mph, at least when the truck is fitted with an extended-range battery. But a more important headline figure is the truck’s price. Remarkably, Ford is not targeting the upper end of its consumer base with the F-150 Lightning. Although you’ll be able to option a Lightning out the wazoo like you can with any other F-150, Ford will sell basic models with the (smaller) standard battery pack, aimed at commercial use, for $39,974 before tax credits.
A better-equipped F-150 Lightning XLT with the standard battery pack will start at $52,974 before tax credits, with more expensive Lariat and Platinum trims also available, although we don’t have pricing for those yet. As of mid-2020, Ford had sold 123,030 plug-in vehicles; once that number hits 200,000, the IRS 30D tax credit will begin to sunset, although that is unlikely to happen before the end of 2022.
All-wheel-drive with two kinds of battery
For now, all F-150 Lightnings come in the SuperCrew four-door body style with a 5.5-foot bed. The Lightning looks a lot like any other F-150 of this generation, although there are new vertical LED lights, and the front grille has been replaced by a more aerodynamic panel. Open the hood and you’ll find a 14 cubic foot (400 L) lockable cargo compartment (aka the frunk), which Ford tells me can store two sets of golf clubs, among other things.
All F-150 Lightnings will have a dual-motor, all-wheel-drive powertrain. The standard-range F-150 Lightning will have a combined output of 426 hp (318 kW) and an estimated range of 230 miles (370 km), and the extended-range Lightning will get a combined 563 hp (420 kW), with an estimated range of 300 miles (482 km). Both versions produce an identical 775 lb-ft (1,050 Nm) of torque.
Ford is saving some of the F-150 Lightning’s specifications, so we’ll have to wait until closer to the truck’s arrival in showrooms—scheduled for spring 2022—to tell you exactly how much charge either of the two battery packs can store. We know from Biden’s visit that one of the two battery packs (presumably the extended-range one) weighs 1,800 lbs (816 kg). And Ford has told Ars that the packs are similar but not identical to those in the Mustang Mach-E, and they will use pouch cells from SK Innovations. Packs come with a warranty to retain at least 70 percent capacity at eight years or 100,000 miles.
A standard-range Lightning on 18-inch tires can carry 2,000-lb (907 kg) loads in its bed or tow loads of 7,700 lbs (3,493 kg). Extended-range Lightnings have a reduced cargo rating of 1,800 lbs but will be able to tow 10,000 lbs (4,536 kg) if fitted with the extended-range battery and the Max Trailer Tow package.
Charging times will depend on both the size of the battery and the charging source. F-150 Lightnings fitted with the standard-range battery are equipped with an 11.2 kW onboard charger; the extended-range versions come with a 19.2 kW onboard charger.
When the truck is connected to a 150 kW DC fast charger, you can expect to add 41 miles (66 km) of range in 10 minutes to the standard-range battery, and it should charge from 15-80 percent in 44 minutes. If you can only find a 50 kW DC fast charger, expect to wait about 91 minutes for the same charge. The extended-range pack will add 54 miles (87 km) in 10 minutes when DC-charged at 150 kW, with a 15-80 percent charge taking 41 minutes (or 122 minutes at 50 kW).
For AC charging, F-150 Lightnings will be supplied with a 240 V, 32 A mobile charger, which will just require a compatible socket. This will add 14 miles (22.5 km) of range to the standard battery in an hour and should charge the pack from 15-80 percent in 14 hours. For the extended-range pack, expect to add 13 miles (21 km) of range each hour, with a total charge time of 19 hours.
An optional 48-amp connected charge station adds 19 miles (30.5 km) of range per hour for the standard battery and takes 10 hours to fully charge the truck. It will add 20 miles (32 km) of range per hour for the extended-range battery, but expect to wait 13 hours to go from 15-100 percent state of charge.
Finally, Ford is including an 80-amp home charger called Charge Station Pro as standard with the extended-range battery; the company has partnered with Sunrun to handle installation. This charger will add about 30 miles (48 km) of range per hour, with a 15–100 percent charge time of just eight hours. (The 80-amp charger will not charge a standard-range F-150 Lightning any faster than the 48-amp charger.)
Power your tools—or even your house
The F-150 Lightning is a big battery on wheels, and since Ford is clearly targeting the work-truck market, the company has provided a way for the pickup to power your tools—and even your house. That system is called Pro Power Onboard. XLT trims will supply up to 2.4 kW of 120 V AC power as standard via two outlets in the cab, two outlets in the bed, and another four in the frunk. Ford says this setup could power a circular saw, a 0.5 hp air compressor, and a tool battery charger simultaneously—or perhaps a projector, speaker system, and popcorn machine for an impromptu movie night.
Lariat and Platinum Lightnings are more capable and can provide up to 9.6 kW of onboard power via the same eight 120 V outlets (up to 2.4 kW from the frunk and up to 7.2 kW from the outlets in the cab or bed), plus a 240 V outlet in the bed. The Lightning’s onboard power management will alert you via the FordPass smartphone app if the truck’s range drops below one-third, and it can also be set to cut off the external power supplies if the battery is on the verge of being so depleted that the truck is unable to reach the nearest charging station.
When Ford President and CEO Jim Farley announced that the electric F-150 would be called the Lightning, he also mentioned that the vehicle would be able to “power your home in an outage.” This capability, called Intelligent Power Backup, is separate from Pro Power Onboard, and it requires the 80-amp Charge Station Pro, which takes a DC feed from the truck and turns it into AC power for the rest of your house. (It will not feed the grid, however.) Pro Power Onboard can supply your house with up to 9.6 kW, and a fully charged F-150 Lightning could power a house for up to 10 days, depending on how much electricity you need.
ADAS and connectivity
All F-150 Lightnings will come with Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 2.0 suite of advanced driver-assistance systems. Co-Pilot includes automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring (including cross-traffic alerts), lane-keeping assistance, and automatic high-beam headlights. Lariat and Platinum trims will also include adaptive cruise control, lane-centering assistance, speed-sign recognition, and intersection assistance, as well as connected, built-in navigation. And Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free driver assist will be an option for Lariat and standard on Platinum trucks.
The F-150 Lightning’s infotainment system enables the vehicle to receive over-the-air updates to fix bugs, improve existing features, and enable new capabilities, something that Ford has begun doing for the Mustang Mach-E. XLT trims will use a 12-inch (landscape orientation) touchscreen infotainment system running Sync 4, while a 15.5-inch (portrait orientation) system runs Sync 4A (like the Mach-E) in more expensive trims. A 10-device 4G LTE hotspot is standard on all Lightnings, and you’ll be able to use your smartphone as a key if you have the Platinum trim (optional on Lariats). Fleet customers will also be able to make use of telematics services to monitor their vehicles remotely.
The F-150 Lightning will be built at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan; the company is investing $700 million into the factory and adding 500 more jobs in the process.