Ford’s most popular truck has gone electric, and it won’t cost a fortune.
After years of build-up, the battery-powered version of the F-150 was revealed in Michigan Wednesday night as an EV beast with an affordable starting price. President Biden got an early viewing Tuesday, but for the rest of us this was the first time America’s best-selling truck was properly seen as a plug-in vehicle.
Darren Palmer, Ford’s battery electric vehicle general manager for North America, said in a phone call with Mashable before the unveiling that the company is “electrifying icons.” Last year the Ford Mustang was reimagined as an electric SUV with the Mustang Mach-E.
The F-150 Lightning is Ford’s first electric pickup truck and has up to 300 mile range. It will start at $39,974. That’s for the most basic version with a 230-mile range, but it’s still a noticeably low price. This year’s non-electric basic model starts at under $35,000. Tesla’s electric truck, the Cybertruck, starts at $39,900, but only with a single motor and rear-wheel drive.
There’ll be three other versions of the dual-motor Lightning: the XLT, Lariat, and Platinum. Here’s a breakdown of the different options:
The base truck is $39,974 with 230-mile range
The XLT model starts at $52,974
The Platinum will start around $90,000, while the Lariat didn’t have a specific starting price listed
The standard, XLT, and Lariat all are available with either standard battery or extended range. The Platinum comes with an extended battery with 300-mile range.
The truck is several things in one vehicle. It’s an everyday car and also a workhorse. It can carry 2,000 pounds in the cab and bed combined and tow up to 10,000 pounds. There’s a real-time range calculator that adjusts based on how much you’re carrying or towing, so that the projected mileage left on the battery is as accurate as possible.
The car also calculates the weather, road quality, terrain, elevation, and drive mode (there’s standard, sport, tow/haul, and off-road modes in all models), and more to give an accurate, in-the-moment projection of battery range. “You can go (down) to 20 miles because you trust it,” Ford’s Palmer told Mashable.
Up front and under the hood, where traditionally an engine would be, there’s the frunk (a “front trunk” portmanteau). The Lightning’s is a cavernous space that can hold 400 pounds and up to two sets of golf clubs. There are four electric outlets, two USB chargers, and a floor drain, so you can store wet things or a pack of beer. It becomes a power source with 2.4 kW of power for tailgates, construction sites, or anywhere you need it.
The truck itself is a portable energy source with 9.6 kW of energy. That’s enough to power a house’s lights, appliances, and more for three days on a fully charged battery. Throughout the car there are 11 outlets, perfect as a power source for equipment. Two-way charging is also possible, effectively turning your truck into a generator.
Ford says you’ll be notified if you’re using up too much energy to get home.
Inside the cab, there’s even more going on. The 15.5-inch touch screen in the center console is similar to the Mach-E’s screen with a physical knob on the bottom. BlueCruise, Ford’s hands-free driver assistance system, is available with a front-facing camera to make sure the driver is still paying attention while the car takes over on most major U.S. and Canadian highways.
Ford’s advanced safety system keeps the car centered in the lane, automatically brakes, and detects cars in blindspots, among other features.
The front seat turns into a work space since the gear shifter folds flat. The seats in the top-end Platinum model also recline 180-degrees, so you can nap while the truck recharges. With fast charging on the extended range battery, plugging in can add 54 miles in 10 minutes. For “regular” Level 2 charging you can get to 80 percent full in under 45 minutes.
As Ford North America president Kumar Galhotra said ahead of the unveiling, “electrification gives you so much more freedom.” The gas-powered F-150 has a loyal customer base, and has been the top selling truck in the U.S. for years.
Reservations for the truck opened online Wednesday night with a $100 deposit. The car is expected to arrive later in 2022.