Is Ford underrating the range of the F-150 Lighting? That’s the question many ask ever since YouTuber Marques Brownlee, a.k.a. MKBHD, revealed that it could attain more than 450 miles of range. There’s new supporting evidence, which, if true, could mean customers could be delightfully surprised with the range of their electric pickup as compared to company estimates.
InsideEVs recently took a ride in a Ford F-150 Lightning prototype with Darren Palmer, and it was not in the prototype from MKBHD’s video in May 2021. Palmer, who is the general manager of Ford’s BEV division, did the driving. This prototype’s touchscreen indicated a 472-mile range estimate when the battery was at 100%. Palmer said that the final F-150 Lightning that goes to customers will be so accurate on the range estimate that the deviation will be just about 5% even when trailering or transporting cargo.
Video Source: YouTube/Marques Brownlee
Ford is targeting 300 miles of EPA-est. range from the F-150 Lightning. The infotainment system of the prototype MKBHD saw in person showed a range of 367 miles when the battery was “about eightyish percent full.” Note that Brownlee’s F-150 Lightning had an empty load bed, and Ford computes the targeted EPA est. 300-mile range with 1,000 pounds of payload, as Palmer told Insider in May 2021. However, the company does not use this method to estimate the fuel efficiency of the gas-powered F-150, a Ford truck spokeswoman told foxnews.com.
The Ford F-150 Lightning (Ford F-150 electric/Ford F-150 EV) celebrated its world premiere on May 19, 2021. Here’s your comprehensive look at the most exciting launch in recent history for the Blue Oval:
The Ford F150 Lightning electric pickup truck has a unique identity to stand out from the wide range of gas-powered Ford F-150 models while still being recognizable as an F150. It features a noticeably different front fascia, expressing the eco-friendly and high-tech nature of its powertrain.
Key to the F-150 Lightning’s design is its unique, high-tech face with an attention-seeking light structure and a cleaner grille design. An end-to-end LED light bar that forms a gate-like visual component makes the F-150 EV immediately recognizable. The main lights are positioned vertically like on the ICE variant but in a more sophisticated and narrow assembly.
The area between the front lights has a closed-off grille with a smoother, textured surface. There are two more grille designs for other configurations, though, and viewers can find all the available grille designs together in the picture above. As for the sides, the alloy wheels have a more aerodynamic design. We’ve seen at least three different designs so far, in 18-, 20-, and 22-inch sizes. At the rear, LED lightbars cover the electric pickup truck’s whole width to give the signature EV styling.
The interior is similar to that of the gas-powered F-150. Still, while buyers can have that model with a 12-inch SYNC4 landscape touchscreen infotainment system, the zero-emissions version is available with a 15.5-inch SYNC4A portrait touchscreen infotainment system. Pro, XLT, Lariat, and Platinum are the trim options. The Pro and XLT trims include the 12-inch system, and the Lariat and Platinum trims include the 15.5-inch system.
Mustang Mach-E owners would instantly recognize a similar physical knob at the bottom of the screen. SYNC4A means Adaptive Dash Cards and automatic placement of frequently used functions at the top of the screen in addition to the features of SYNC4. Needless to say, over-the-air software updates are supported in the F-150 Lightning, and they are called Ford Power-Up.
BlueCruise, Ford’s SAE Level 2 autonomous driving assistant, enables true hands-free, autonomous driving on more than 100,000 miles of compatible divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. It is similar to Tesla Autopilot but does not require the driver’s hands to stay in contact with the steering wheel at all times. It communicates with the driver through text and blue lighting cues in the instrument cluster.
Performance & Capability
The Ford F-150 Lightning features two motors that power all four wheels, meaning that 4×4 is standard. These motors can deliver more horsepower and torque than any Ford F-150 ever. 563 horsepower and 775 lb.-ft. of torque are the targeted outputs. Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Tow/Haul are the selectable drive modes.
A mid-4-second figure is the targeted 0-60 mph acceleration time for the Extended-Range battery model. James Farley Jr., President, CEO, and Director, Ford, says that “it’s quicker than a Raptor,” which means that the 0-60 mph acceleration time should be less than 4.5 seconds. That’s impressive for a heavy pick-up truck like this weighing 6,500 pounds (curb weight). A J.P. Morgan analyst drove a prototype and was “blown away by the ride experience,” Benzinga reported in May 2021.
For the last two generations, the F-150 has been marketed as an aluminum-intensive pickup truck to communicate its increased strength and reduced weight to customers. The thirteenth-gen F-150 was 700 pounds lighter than its predecessor because of the extensive usage of lightweight materials. While 6,500 pounds sounds a lot, the curb weight of the electric variant could have been heavier had Ford not focused on the various weight-saving measures since the thirteenth generation.
Full-size spare wheel
It is worth noting that while automakers often avoid offering a spare tire in EVs to save weight, Ford plans to fit every F-150 Lightning with a spare tire as standard, Mike Levine, the company’s Product Communications Manager in North America, confirmed on Twitter. That’s not all, though. While spare tires are often smaller to save weight and space, the Ford F-150 Lighting spare tire will be full-size.
Levine said that in situations where the driver is far from pavement or roadside assistance, “a temporary doughnut spare tire won’t work,” as per a Freep report. “If you don’t have a full-size spare, you’ve just lost time quickly getting back on the road and back to work,” he added. Especially when towing a trailer for a long distance, a smaller spare tire is not recommended.
On the same point, Ted Cannis, who manages Ford’s North American commercial business, said on Twitter that Ford customers insisted the company offers a full-size spare tire. The spare wheel of the F-150 Lightning will be located below the bed on an underframe carrier.
Payload & Towing
Ford is targeting a maximum payload capacity of 2,000 pounds for the Standard-Range F-150 Lightning and 1,800 pounds for the Extended-Range F-150 Lightning. The targeted maximum towing capacity with Max Trailer Tow Package is 7,700 pounds for the Standard-Range configurations and up to 10,000 pounds for the Extended-Range configurations. Thanks to a low center of gravity, the F-150 electric offers more confident handling than the gas-powered F-150. It has an independent rear suspension – a first for any F-Series model – that helps minimize body roll and leads to a smooth ride.
The Blue Oval had demonstrated a prototype towing 10 double-decker rail cars and 42 F-150s, weighing more than a million pounds, in July 2019.
Equally capable as the gas-powered truck
Before the reveal, Ford officials suggested that F-150 electric or the F-150 Lightning would be as capable as the ICE F-150, available in gasoline, diesel, and gasoline-electric hybrid variants.
We have an opportunity to have a real impact with that product. And the same thing for our F-150 pickup, which again when you think about being able to electric — fully electrified product like the F-150 provide the functionality and cargo carrying capacity and the other attributes of customers in these segments have come to demand. That’s where we’re going to see the opportunity have a real impact.Bob Holycross, Vice President, Chief Sustainability, Environment and Safety, Ford (at the J.P. Morgan Global ESG Virtual Conference)
What’s unique about F-150 all-electric vehicle is its design purpose-built to do work. So it’s going to be authentically built for tough. And so when you think about what does that mean to customers, that means something. That’s got a longstanding heritage, it’s got a longstanding history. And people know what they get. That vehicle is going to show up and be able to do the work that you expect out of it.Jim Baumbick Vice President, Enterprise Product Line Management, Ford (at Bank of America Global Automotive Summit)
In a conference call in February, Farley Jr., suggested that the F-150 Electric’s motors will be made in-house at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant.
So, we already announced insourcing plans for e-motors and e-axles. In fact, the whole differential and e-motors – I was at Van Dyke – for the F-150 are all in-sourced now. And we’re making e-motors and e-transaxles for the first time. That’s all in-house. We actually design our own inverter. But we’re having a supplier build it for us because we think they have more capability.James Farley Jr., President, CEO, and Director, Ford at Wolfe Research Global Auto, Auto Tech, and Mobility Conference
On the ‘Frunk’ space
Ford is pitching high practicality and affordability as facets of the electric F-150. The company says that it features a mega power frunk that is locked and accessed easily by a powered open and close system. This frunk should offer 400 liters of volume and 400 pounds of payload. That’d be enough space to stow two carry-on bags, one checked bag, and a couple of golf club sets.
The innovative front trunk offers many conveniences like two USB chargers, four electrical outlets, and a drainable floor that can be used even as a food and beverage container. 2.4 kW power output is available for charging/powering devices, enough to plug in laptops, crockpots, speakers, power tools, TVs, and more. For more power needs, 7.2 kW can be drawn through outlets in the cab and bed.
In an emergency, customers can use the power stored in the battery of the F-150 Lightning for the household. When the power comes back, the truck automatically starts charging. The Extended-Range model can power a typical American house with an average of 30 kWh of use per day for up to three days. If power is used conservatively, customers can increase this period to as long as ten days.
A feature called Ford Intelligent Power will be rolled out in the future to allow customers to switch to battery power for their house’s power consumption during the high-cost, peak-energy hours. The truck will charge its battery during the low-cost hours at night and save its owners money.
Battery, Range & Charging
The Ford F-150 Lightning should cover a distance of 230 miles with the Standard-Range battery pack and 300 miles with the Extended-Range battery pack. These are Ford’s targeted EPA estimates, and so, the final range figures could vary. Ford hasn’t revealed the energy content of the battery packs, but the report from foxnews.com mentioned above, citing the company’s engineering team, says that their weight could be up to approximately 1,800 pounds.
Ford is using NCM9-type Lithium-ion batteries for the F-150 Lightning. SK Innovation will supply the batteries from next year, and it says that NCM9 is the most powerful type of Lithium-ion battery. An NCM9 battery has approximately 90% Nickel content, and the amount of Nickel can significantly influence the output and driving range of an EV. The first picture in the image gallery above shows SK Innovation displaying an early F-150 Lightning prototype fitted with the NCM9-type Lithium-ion battery at the InterBattery 2021 event. The second picture shows Farley Jr. and SK Innovation’s President & CEO Jun Kim holding the same.
A standard 80-amp charge station will allow customers to take advantage of the truck’s dual onboard charging system at home and add an average range of 30 miles every hour, with 15%-100% SoC charging in the Extended-Range truck taking about eight hours.
The maximum fast-charging rate supported is 150 kilowatts, and it allows charging from 15%-100% SoC in about 41 minutes. Charging enough to provide a range of up to 54 miles can be achieved in just 10 minutes using a 150 kW charger.
F-150 Lightning Spec Sheet
|Parameter||Ford F-150 Electric Standard-Range Battery||Ford F-150 Electric Extended-Range Battery|
|Length||232.7 in.||232.7 in.|
|Width||80.0 in. (excl. mirrors)/83.6 in. (mirrors folded)/96.0 in. (incl. mirrors)||80.0 in. (excl. mirrors)/83.6 in. (mirrors folded)/96.0 in. (incl. mirrors)|
|Cab Height||78.9 in.||78.9 in.|
|Wheelbase||145.5 in.||145.5 in.|
|Ground Clearance||8.9 in.||8.9 in.|
|Targeted Maximum Payload||2,000 lbs||2,000 lbs|
|Targeted Maximum Towing capacity (with Max Trailer Tow Package)||7,700 lbs||7,700 lbs|
|Drivetrain Layout||Dual-motor AWD||Dual-motor AWD|
|Targeted Peak Power||426 hp||563 hp|
|Targeted Peak Torque||775 lb.-ft.||775 lb.-ft.|
|Battery Type||Lithium-ion pouch, liquid-cooled||Lithium-ion pouch, liquid-cooled|
|Onboard Charger Input/Output||11.3 kW/10.5 kW||19.2 kW/17.6 kW|
|15-100% Level 2 (AC) Charging Time (32A/240W Mobile Charger)||14 hours||19 hours|
|15-100% Level 2 (AC) Charging Time (48A Connected Charge Station)||10 hours||13 hours|
|15-100% Level 2 (AC) Charging Time (80A Ford Charge Station Pro)||10 hours||8 hours|
|15-80% Level 3 (DC) Fast-Charging Time (50 kW)||91 minutes||122 minutes|
|15-80% Level 3 (DC) Fast-Charging Time (150 kW)||44 minutes||41 minutes|
|Miles/Charge (1 hour 32A/240W Mobile Charger)||14 miles||13 miles|
|Miles/Charge (1 hour, 48A Ford Connected Charge Station)||19 miles||20 miles|
|Miles/Charge (1 hour, 80A Ford Charge Station Pro)||19 miles||30 miles|
|Miles/Charge (10 minutes, 150 kW DC Fast-Charger)||41 miles||54 miles|
|Targeted EPA-Estimated Range||230 miles||300 miles|
The Blue Oval will make the Ford F-150 Lightning at a new manufacturing plant – Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. “This zero-emission F-150 will be on the road two years from now,” Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford, said at the groundbreaking ceremony of this plant on September 17, 2020. Mass-production of the Ford F-150 electric is scheduled for mid-2022. Wolfe Research analyst Rod Lache expects Ford to make 80,000 units of the F-150 Lightning annually, Automotive News reported on May 20, 2021.
According to a report from thedetroitnews.com on March 25, construction of the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is complete, and it took Ford about eight months to accomplish it. The company plans to staff some 500 workers at the factory, spread out across 500,000 sq ft. Plant officials expect to begin transferring employees there later this year.
Ford plans to have a high-tech manufacturing setup for the F-150 electric, and one of the advanced processes in the production will include self-driving transport sleds. Gary Johnson, the company’s chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer, has told fordauthority.com that these autonomous sleds would transport the Ford F150 Lightning’s bodies from one station to the next. The paintwork would happen alongside the ICE-powered Ford F-150 only, though.
Potential customers were very excited even before the unveiling took place. “The F-150 electric is a lot of inbound interest from our loyal customers,” Farley Jr. said during the Q4 2020 earnings call.
Ford may externally source EV batteries from companies like LG Chem and SK Innovation initially, but may shift to internal manufacturing in the long-term. This could be a few years after the Ford F150 Lightning (Ford F150 electric) goes on sale.
Hau Thai-Tang, chief product platform and operations officer, Ford, told CNBC in an interview that currently, the company doesn’t have enough sales volume to justify a battery plant of its own. “But by 2025, as we bring on the F-150, the E-Transit, and another battery electric vehicle that we’ve announced, we’ll have enough volume in North America to justify our own plant,” Thai-Tang added. Ford spokeswoman Jennifer Flake commented that it might become feasible to produce its EV battery cells by 2025.
On February 10, 2021, the US International Trade Commission imposed a 10-year ban on SK Innovation for the sale, production, and importation of EV batteries within the United States because of intellectual property theft from LG Chem. The U.S. ITC had allowed SK Innovation to import components for four years, though.
On April 11, 2021, the legal disputes between LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation came to an end. Both companies have agreed to withdraw all pending legal disputes in the USA and South Korea and a ten-year non-assertion. Moreover, as part of the settlement, SK Innovation will pay LG Energy Solution KRW 2 trillion, which converts to USD 1.8 billion.
LG Energy Solution and SK Innovation dropping their legal battles clear the road for the Ford F-150 electric and other future Ford EVs that employ SK Innovation’s battery packs.
The Ford F-150 Lightning deliveries in the U.S. will begin in early 2022. Ford says that more than 2,300 EV-certified dealers across the U.S. will sell the all-electric F-150 in four trim and two battery options. According to a report from Automotive News, Farley Jr. has told journalists that the company would limit production in the first year, which means that the availability may remain limited until MY2023.
Carsdirect had reported that Ford dealers that wish to sell the brand’s upcoming EVs in the United States will have to pay to become eligible. As per a letter that the company sent dealers, and Carsdirect accessed, the retailers have to invest USD 35,000 to get what Ford bills as the “next-generation” EV certification. The website does not list out what the investment is for, but it could cover the cost of installing the EV chargers and the workshop equipment to service electric vehicles.
Just two days after the reveal, Ford had received 44,500 F-150 Lightning reservations, Farley said on his Twitter page. On July 2, 2021, Ford said that the F-150 Lightning reservations have surpassed 100,000 units. Less than a month later, on July 28, 2021, the company announced that the orders have surpassed 120,000 units.
We are now working around the clock to break constraints and increase our manufacturing capacity for these red-hot, new battery electric vehicles.James Farley Jr., President, CEO, and Director, Ford (Q2 2021 earnings call conference)
More than 75 percent of the orders are from customers new to the brand. More than half of the customers ordering the F-150 Lightning are pickup customers. 40% of the customers are going to exchange their ICE pickup, which indicates that a lot of people may accept electric pickups as their primary workhorse.
Almost 80% are new to Ford. What’s interesting, two out of five are people who are going to trade in an ICE pickup, which is very important because it indicates a move a little bit faster to full-size truck BEV than maybe our optimistic assumptions.James Farley Jr., President, CEO, and Director, Ford (Q2 2021 earnings call conference)
Ford’s first all-electric pickup truck is not available for test drives or even customer display, and yet, there’s very high interest in the product. Not all pre-orders end up converting to bookings, and they cannot be considered equivalent of sales. Moreover, F-150 Lightning reservations in the U.S. cost just USD 100. However, if the momentum continues for a long time and Wolfe Research analyst Rod Lache’s analysis about the annual production is right, customers may face long waiting periods for deliveries. In the case of the Ford Bronco, 125,000+ of 190,000+ (approximately 66%) reservations converted into final orders.
ICE F-150 customers may have had to upgrade periodically because of tightening emission standards. However, the electric F-150 customers would not face that problem. Speaking to The Verge Editor-in-Chief Nilay Patel on a Decoder podcast, Farley Jr. said he could easily see EV customers owning the same truck for 30 years.
Prices of the Ford F-150 lightning start at USD 39,974 for the commercial-oriented base configuration and go up to USD 90,474 for the range-topping configuration loaded with all options. The commercial version “will be white” and have “very basic specs,” Farley Jr. said during the Decoder podcast mentioned above. The retail version will pack all the headline-making features and come in multiple color options.
|Trim||Ford F-150 Lightning Price|
|Pro||USD 39,974 MSRP onwards|
|XLT||USD 52,974 MSRP onwards|
|Lariat||USD 79,474 MSRP onwards|
|Platinum||USD 89,874 MSRP onwards|
On the Lariat variant & Premium Package
According to a report from tfltruck.com, Ford will offer a Premium Package to customers ordering their 2022 F-150 Lightning in the XLT trim. Costing USD 3,800, the Premium Package option will add Ford Co-Pilot Assist 2.0 with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), passive keyless entry, steering wheel heating, and 10-way power adjustment for the front seats. Moreover, the package swaps the 18-inch wheels, 2.4 kW onboard charger, and conventional tailgate, with 20-inch wheels, 9.6 kW onboard charger, and power up/down tailgate, respectively.
Customers going for the Lariat trim will also get a Premium Package option. In this case, the upgrade will cost USD 12,000 in addition to the trim MSRP. It will include a dual-motor powertrain, twin-panel moonroof, Ford Co-Pilot Active 2.0 with BlueCruise autonomous driving, 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro, lockable, partitioned fold-flat rear storage, heated second-row seats, power tilt/telescoping steering column with memory function, Phone As A Key functionality, and trailer brake and hitch assist.
The F-150 Lightning could considerably boost Ford’s sales in the U.S. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2018 and 2019, the Blue Oval was able to typically sell some 900,000 F-Series trucks annually, as per a report from The Motley Fool. That used to be 36-37% of its total annual sales in the domestic market.
How Ford achieved the sub-40k starting price
For those who wonder how Ford could price the F-150 Lightning so close to the gasoline F-150, especially in the base configuration, the answer is economies of scale. Darren Palmer, general manager, Battery Electric Vehicles, Ford, briefly explained to autoblog.com at the 2021 Chicago Auto Show how it was made possible.
Palmer said that in persuading F-150 customers to switch to electric, the price was the main barrier. The high volumes the F-150 fetches as America’s best-selling pickup helped the company overcoming that obstacle. The top half of the pickup has a scale of 4 million units, Palmer said. Ford needs to source four million units of many parts, and so, it can negotiate very competitive pricing.
As for the components that are unique to the F-150 Lightning, some of them, like the frame with the independent rear suspension, for instance, come from the same supplier. The electric pickup shares unique components like motors, speed controllers, batteries, and chargers with other Ford EVs. So, Ford realizes the advantages of scale for them, too. Moreover, many Ford EVs are lined up in the next few years. So, the company can negotiate lower pricing with suppliers assuring them to benefit from its EV offensive.
What you get in the $40k F-150 Lightning variant
The Ford F-150 Lightning Pro that costs $40k onwards is instantly recognizable because it doesn’t feature the signature hood lighting that is standard in other trims. It has a basic grille, LED projector headlamps with dynamic bending and LED signature lighting, 18-inch alloy wheels, and LED tail lamps. Signature LED tailgate lighting is not part of the exterior lighting either.
On the technology front, the $40k Ford F-150 Lightning includes a 12-inch digital instrument cluster and the older, SYNC 4 infotainment system with a smaller, 12-inch landscape touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, and wireless updates. The front occupants get vinyl bucket seats with two-way manual adjustment. The capacity of the onboard charger is 2.4 kW, and there are multiple 120 V outlets: two in the cab, two in the bed, and four in the front trunk.
The Ford Co-Pilot 360 2.0 set of driver assistant systems in the base F-150 Lightning includes Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking (including Pedestrian Detection, Forward Collision Warning, and Dynamic Brake Support), BLIS with Cross-Traffic Alert, Lane-Keeping System with Lane-Keeping Alert, automatic high-beam, backup camera, rear parking sensors, Reverse Brake Assist, and Post-Collision Braking.
Ford F-150 Lightning Canada release
The Ford F-150 Lightning will be available in Canada in four trim and two battery options. More than 360 EV-certified Ford Canada dealers will have the F-150 electric on sale. Early birds can make an F-150 Lightning reservation in Canada now, with a CAD 100 deposit on the company’s website. The F-Series has been Canada’s best-selling truck for 55 years, and with the F-150 Lightning, Ford is beginning to secure its future in the EV era.
The F-150 Lightning prices in Canada start at CAD 58,000 and go up to CAD 110,000. However, the Blue Oval will launch the base trim in Canada at a later date, suggests Motor1.com.
|Trim||Ford F-150 Lightning Price in Canada|
|Pro||CAD 58,000 MSRP onwards|
|XLT||CAD 68,000 MSRP onwards|
The F-150 Lightning prices in Canada are higher compared to the U.S., but the premium will be compensated via additional equipment, at least in the XLT trim. The F-150 Lightning XLT costs CAD 68,000 (USD 56,360.44), but Ford Canada has told Motor1.com that units sold in Canada will include more standard features.
Canada has brought the deadline for automakers to adopt zero-emission powertrains across the line-up forward by 5 years. On June 29, 2021, the Government of Canada announced that all new light-duty cars and passenger truck sales must be zero-emission from 2035. The same day, the country made the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act (Bill C-12) a law. Here on, Canada will have new emissions reduction targets every five years.
No Super Duty Electric
In November 2020, Ford confirmed no plans for a Ford Super Duty electric pickup truck in the current scenario when the market is at a nascent stage. In other words, a GMC Hummer EV rival is not something the Blue Oval is considering today.
“At the moment, we do not have any plans to go into heavy-duty with battery-electric vehicles,” Kumar Galhotra, President, Ford (Americas & International Markets Group), said during a fireside chat hosted by Credit Suisse to discuss the company’s Q3 2020 results on November 2, 2020. “Our goal is to build a profitable electric vehicle portfolio,” John Lawler, CFO, Ford, said during the same event, emphasizing that the learning from the F-150 EV would shape the contour of its future launches.
Meanwhile, arch-rival GM is going full-throttle developing its F-150 electric rival, so far referred to as the Chevrolet BET Truck project. The company has confirmed that this model will be the first-ever Chevrolet Silverado electric and can deliver a range of more than 400 miles (internal estimate). The company plans to manufacture it in Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan (USA), and it is expected to launch around the time the F-150 EV is deployed (mid-2022).
Ford F-150 Lightning (Ford F150 Electric) FAQs
What is the Ford F-150 Lightning release date?
Early 2022 is the F-150 Lightning electric truck’s release date.
Which pickups would be considered Ford F-150 Lightning rivals?
What is the Ford F-150 Lightning price?
The price of the base Ford F150 Electric is USD 39,974.
Featured image: Ford