On Wednesday night, Ford revealed the new all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck. So now, we can reveal that Ford gave us (and other members of the media) a sneak preview before the public. We did not get to “hit the gas” on the test track like President Joe Biden, but we did get to ride along with engineers at Ford’s proving grounds — and experience the truck in multiple situations.
Here are a few preliminary thoughts after driving Ford's first electric F-150.
The F-150 Lightning makes 563 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque, 113 hp and 265 lb-ft more than the F-150 Raptor. Those outputs sound bonkers...and they are. The F-150 Lightning won’t be a light vehicle — the battery pack alone weighs 1,800 pounds — but the power on tap more than counteracts that.
Even in normal mode, the F-150 Lightning has enough oomph to throw you back in your seat. A mid-4-second 0-60 mph time — judging from the runs we did — sounds about right. Standard maneuvering will feel absolutely effortless.
The first thing you notice entering the F-150 Lightning is how much it feels like a combustion-powered F-150. You get the same cavernous space and premium finishes. You get the same cool features like the Max Recline seats and the fold-flat work surface (convenient if you’re waiting at a charger). The bed is the same as the standard version, which lets buyers use the same accessories.
Where the F-150 Lightning is substantially different is adding cool, practical features — like being able to power your home or having a frunk to put stuff in when it’s raining. Factor in that the truck won’t cost that much more than people pay for the standard truck, and the F-150 Lightning is a package that could make it an easy conversion for truck buyers who didn’t think they were going to buy an EV.
We drove the F-150 Lightning through one of Ford’s off-road testing trails. And the truck can handle itself well. It endures the same “Built Ford Tough” testing regime of the standard F-150, which is at times so brutal that Ford uses robots to drive the truck instead of people.
The armor underneath the F-150 Lightning protecting the engine components is formidable, and lets you off-road with ease. We did hit bottom running through some off-road moguls, but the truck just withstood the impact and slid over obstacles without any catch points on the skid plate. Plus, it has a ferocious amount of torque for clearing obstacles. It’s more than equipped to handle what 95 percent of buyers will put it through.
You don’t get completely silent off-roading, as the F-150 Lightning does emit a noise for safety purposes. You have to idle it and turn the fans off to get utter silence. But it’s still more pleasant than having a noisy gas engine.
The F-150 Lightning can hang with the combustion truck for towing capacity, with a 10,000-pound rating. Up the hill that Ford uses for testing, towing a trailer felt untaxing. You don’t hear the strain like you would in a diesel. It barely seems like you’re towing on flat ground, and you have enough speed to keep up and pass drivers on the highway.
What Ford hasn’t discussed is approximately how much range towing will cost you. Ford’s Intelligent Range system, factoring in everything from driver style to wind direction, should give you a confident estimation. But we can’t tell you how much that would be.
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