After every week with the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning in a spot the place vehicles are literally wanted, we discovered that it’s in actual fact a superb truck. Offered you don’t have too far to go, that’s.
At a look
- Solely vaguely associated to the remainder of the F-150 lineup
- Vary estimates aren’t even a ballpark when towing or hauling
- Can actually energy your own home – for days
- Good use case for a lot of truck consumers
The Ford Lightning is among the first full-production electrical pickup vehicles. A part of the F-150 lineup, the best-selling pickup in North America, it’s solely visually associated to the opposite F-150 choices being bought. A lot of the F-150 Lightning’s underpinnings are largely unrelated to its like-named siblings. As a result of the F-150 Lightning is heavier than its gasoline siblings (by a big margin, roughly 2,000 lb/907 kg), it can not use the identical chassis.
As an alternative, a chassis that’s extra just like the Tremendous Obligation (heavy responsibility) line of vehicles is used, however custom-made to match the wants of a battery-electric truck that has no hoses or pipes operating from fore to aft. As an alternative of a drive shaft tunnel and house for a gas tank and exhaust traces, the Lightning has an enormous sq. battery block operating a lot of its size between the axles.
Bodywork on the 2023 F-150 Lightning is just like the remainder of the F-150 line, with lots of the aluminum sheets being from the identical stamps. A lot of the variations in bodywork between the usual F-150 and the Lightning are refined. Headlamps, tail lights, badging, the placement of the “gas port” door and different particulars make up the one discernible variations.
Not as apparent, however chief amongst the Lightning’s attributes is the extraordinarily helpful entrance trunk (“frunk”). It’s as giant because the trunk of most giant sedans, and sits at a sensible load top. It is probably probably the most helpful a part of all the truck for most individuals.
Contained in the Lightning, seating and many of the controls layouts are additionally going to be very acquainted to F-150 homeowners and followers. Seating is accommodating (after which some), supplies are a combination of handsome and strong, and there are many plugs, storage spots, and so forth. The Lightning comes solely as a crew cab, with giant again seats able to seating three full-grown adults with out lots of squeeze.
Mechanically, the F-150 Lightning can be very completely different from its siblings. Both of two very giant battery choices present energy to electrical motors located on every axle (the F-150 Lightning comes normal with all-wheel drive). A kind of choices takes the type of a 98-kWh battery pack that gives about 240 miles (386 km) of vary, whereas the opposite is a 131-kWh pack that ought to be good for about 300 miles (483 km). These vary numbers are extremely variable, nevertheless, and having the ability to vaticinate what the precise vary will likely be is an advanced affair with this truck.
We drove a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning with the bigger battery pack, and in its topmost trim level. Driving round city with solely brief stints at over 45 mph (72.4 km/h) meant that we have been nicely on our means in the direction of reaching one thing akin to the claimed 300 miles of vary. As soon as on the freeway or freeway, nevertheless, these increased speeds meant far much less vary. Large autos displace large quantities of air, in any case, in order that added pace got here at a value – roughly 20% of the truck’s anticipated vary.
All of that assumed that there was no load on the truck in any way. Nothing within the cargo mattress, no trailer connected, and no further individuals within the automobile. Including any of these issues drops vary much more. Generally drastically.
Towing with nearly any form of trailer bigger than what you’d put behind your compact automotive killed vary probably the most. Like most others who’ve examined the F-150 Lightning in towing, we discovered that just about 70% of vary was misplaced when towing at freeway speeds got here into the image. 300 miles changed into 100 in a short time. A scarcity of entry to DC quick charging and the additional time to attend for that cost to come back – assuming you’ll be able to afford the wallet-smash that quick charging usually entails – would imply towing is sort of ineffective with this truck.
Cargo hauling wasn’t significantly better. The heavier the F-150 Lightning is loaded, the more severe its mileage will get – all the way down to about half its whole vary when loaded close to to most (about one ton or 2,235 lb /1,013 kg). Meaning should you’re hauling tenting gear, lumber for a brand new shed, hay bails, or the rest substantial, you’ll be able to drive possibly 150 miles (241 km) earlier than needing to hit that charger.
For comparability, a typical turbocharged 3.5L F-150 below comparable hundreds will nonetheless handle over 200 miles (322 km) per tank. And fill-ups take about 5 minutes, versus 45 should you’re quick charging. Somebody towing their boat to the lake in a Lightning will possible be pushing mileage limits, whereas within the gasoline mannequin there aren’t any worries.
A bonus to the Ford Lightning’s battery, nevertheless, is its use in an emergency. Ford estimates that the 100-kWh battery can energy the typical US family for about three days in an influence outage. 100 kilowatt-hours is over 3 times the typical each day dwelling’s utilization (29 kWh) within the US. The Ford F-150 Hybrid may energy a house, however not at full scale.
One other good thing about the Ford F-150 Lightning is its energy technology for the worksite. Much like the F-150 Hybrid we reviewed not way back, its financial institution of bed-mounted plugs may energy instruments, lights and extra – concurrently.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning matches a particular area of interest of truck consumers … a comparatively giant area of interest in lots of city and suburban areas. These are truck homeowners who largely use their pickups as a glorified sedan for hauling themselves and generally different individuals round. Truck homeowners for whom the added utility of the truck, particularly towing and hauling, are occasional-use and never regular-use objects.
For attending to and from work on daily basis, and heading to the ironmongery store or large field outlet each two or three weeks, the Lightning is a superb possibility. To go any additional or do any extra, nevertheless, it’s in all probability higher to go for the F-150 Hybrid as a substitute.
Product Web page: 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning