By launching the all-electric F-150 Lightning, Ford has embarked on its most ambitious innovation since the Model T and the result is a quick and capable pickup truck with zero emissions. The Lightning shares much of the regular F-150’s body and cabin but swaps that truck’s gasoline-powered V-6 and V-8 engine options for a pair of electric motors and one of two different battery packs. The Standard-Range battery is said to deliver up to 230 miles per charge and the Extended-Range juice pack offers up to 320 miles. It’s not the first electric pickup truck to hit the market—GMC’s Hummer EV SUT and the Rivian R1T have launched this year too. Neither of those trucks, however, have the strength of the F-150 name behind them, and the electric version of America’s favorite truck starts at a much more affordable price than those rivals.
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Although Ford has announced a base Pro model with an attractive starting price, it doesn’t have as many creature comforts. We’d go with the more desirable and better equipped XLT trim. The Extended-Range battery pack adds a $10,000 lump sum to the bottom line, but if you’re planning to drive long distances or use the Lightning to tow, it could be a good investment. Unfortunately, to add that bigger battery to the XLT model, you must also add the $9500 312A High package. Luckily, that package includes a very long list of desirable equipment to justify its price, including adaptive cruise control, Ford’s Pro Power Onboard generator feature, heated front seats and steering wheel, a power-operated tailgate, in-dash navigation, and a lot more.
All F-150 Lightning models come standard with two electric motors and all-wheel drive. With the Standard-Range battery, the motors combine to make 452 horsepower but with the Extended-Range battery the horsepower rating rises to 580; peak torque is an impressive 775 pound-feet with either setup. Performance should be brisk, and we estimate that the Extended-Range battery model will hit 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds. During our initial test drive, we praised the Lightning for its, ahem, lightning-quick acceleration and were pleasantly surprised that it managed to maintain the normal F-150’s refined road manners. If anything, the Lightning’s handling is slightly more agreeable, thanks to a lower center of gravity that helps keep body roll in check. When we get a chance to take the F-150 Lightning to our test track, we’ll update this story with test results and more driving impressions.
The EPA has rated the F-150 Lightning Extended-Range for up to 78 MPGe city and 63 MPGe highway; the Standard-Range models are slightly less efficient at 76 MPGe city and 61 MPGe highway. When we get the chance, we’ll subject the F-150 Lightning to our 75-mph highway fuel economy test and update this story with results. For more information about the F-150 Lightning’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.