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Ford F-150 Lightning revealed: an electric truck for the masses

Ford F-150 Lightning revealed: an electric truck for the masses
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Ford F-150 Lightning revealed: an electric truck for the masses

Ford F-150 Lightning revealed: an electric truck for the masses

The preferred car in the United States goes electric. Ford has revealed the F-150 Lightning, an all-electric model of its widespread pickup truck due out in 2022, and it’s aggressively priced for an EV. The bottom mannequin with 230 miles of vary begins at $39,974, whereas the prolonged vary model begins in the mid-$50,000s and may go about 300 miles.

That places it proper on par, price-wise, with Tesla’s Cybertruck and much under extra luxury-minded choices like Rivian’s R1T or Common Motors’ exorbitant GMC Hummer pickup. And since Ford’s automobiles are nonetheless eligible for the full $7,500 federal tax credit score, that price ticket can basically come down much more for early consumers. It’s particularly beautiful, although, as a result of all variants of the F-150 Lightning are constructed with Ford’s four-door “SuperCrew” cab, the gasoline model of which begins at $36,650. The bottom mannequin Lightning is even barely cheaper than its comparable hybrid F-150 counterpart. Most electric automobiles up to now have value greater than their gasoline counterparts, however Ford is the closest to bucking that pattern.

There are a number of sacrifices in that base mannequin apart from vary, however nothing that appears terribly prohibitive. And whereas sticker value isn’t every little thing in the case of electric automobiles, it’s a massive barrier for many consumers. The F-150 Lightning’s value goes up with added options and further vary, however from what Ford revealed Wednesday night time, the firm appears able to persuade a large swathe of consumers to think about electric after they go to purchase their subsequent F-150, with little regard to what value level they’re buying at.

These keen to make the leap will discover a truck overflowing with utility options, together with a number of concepts that Ford has already provided on the gas-powered mannequin (like a fold-out middle console work floor) and the hybrid model (like the onboard charger). It has a number of distinctive methods that will make consumers who’re skittish about vary or value suppose twice, too. And all of it comes wrapped in an exterior design that’s nearly indistinguishable from its inside combustion counterparts, save for a brand new grille with a hanging steady gentle bar.

In reality, the F-150 Lightning is by far the most familiar-looking of the electric pickups introduced up to now. And Ford is betting massive that this unchallenging boxy design — which Elon Musk poked enjoyable at throughout the Cybertruck announcement in 2019 — will repay.

“There’s loads of area for all people. What issues is we’re all true to ourselves,” Darren Palmer, the head of Ford’s EV division, advised GadgetClock in an interview. “I feel there’s sufficient to tempt folks to take a look at [buying the electric version], and a superb p.c already had been — we noticed that in our analysis. However I feel it’s going to tempt individuals who weren’t even wanting.”

Or as Ford CEO Jim Farley stated on GadgetClock’s Decoder podcast, which comes out Thursday morning: “There are many flavors of soda, however there’s just one Coke, and there’ll be a number of electric pickup vans, [but] there’s just one F-150.”

Energy play

The F-150 Lightning is available in two battery configurations. The corporate says the commonplace vary battery ought to get round 230 miles of vary, whereas the prolonged vary battery ought to be good for 300 miles (although neither spec has been formally rated by the Environmental Safety Company but).

Both of these configurations ought to be good for most each day driving situations, although many individuals will need to do typical truck issues with the F-150 Lightning which can be naturally extra energy-intensive, like towing, hauling, or off-roading. To place these potential house owners’ minds comfy, Ford says the truck’s software program can present real-time vary estimates, one thing it’s already been engaged on in the Mustang Mach-E. This software program elements in not simply climate and visitors circumstances, but it surely additionally makes use of an onboard scale to measure the weight of any payload or towing weight.

Ford introduced final month that it was bringing this onboard scale expertise to all F-150s, although it appears notably helpful for the Lightning — particularly since Ford hasn’t compromised a ton on towing or payload capability with its first severe electric truck. (Hello, Ford Ranger EV.)

The prolonged vary Lightning is ready to tow as much as 10,000 kilos, which is greater than what most inexpensive gas-powered F-150s are able to, although it’s a number of thousand kilos shy of what the F-150 hybrid or the diesel model can tow. The usual vary F-150 Lightning, in the meantime, maxes out at 7,700 kilos.

However due to the weight distinction in the battery packs, the commonplace vary Lightning wins out on payload capability, as it will probably carry as much as 2,000 kilos versus the prolonged rage’s 1,800-pound max. Nonetheless, these figures fall roughly in the center of what you’ll find throughout the full vary of F-150s. (Bigger F-Collection vans, in fact, can pull and haul extra — no phrase on when these would possibly get electrified simply but.)

All variations of the F-150 Lightning will put their battery energy down through two electric motors — one up entrance and one in again — that means each purchaser will get an all-wheel drive setup. The prolonged vary model sounds prefer it might simply knock the wind out of you, with 420kW of complete energy (563 horsepower) and 775 pound-feet of torque. That’s adequate to make it the quickest F-150 ever made, with the capacity to go from 0 to 60 miles per hour in the mid-4 second vary. The usual vary Lightning isn’t a lot worse off, with 318kW of energy (426 horsepower) and the similar quantity of torque.

That every one sounds enjoyable (and in addition somewhat bit ludicrous for an enormous truck), however all this energy is simply so good so long as you’ll be able to simply cost the electric F-150 again up. Charging continues to be a sore spot for most EVs, and it’s what sapped a few of the enjoyable out of my time with the Mustang Mach-E. The reality is, except Ford invests in constructing out its personal devoted community, there’s solely a lot the firm can do between now and when the Lightning hits the street to make the public charging expertise higher.

In the meantime, Ford’s band-aid resolution is that it has coalesced a handful of disparate unbiased public charging networks into what it calls the FordPass Charging Community. All of those chargers present up in the FordPass smartphone app as if they’re one giant community, and Ford is even working with some in order that house owners don’t must create new accounts or obtain different apps to start out charging. It’s an important concept in principle, but it surely wants extra work — hopefully progress could be made by the time the F-150 Lightning hits the street.

The quickest choice to recharge the F-150 Lightning is at a 150kW DC quick charging station. At one in every of these plugs, the F-150 Lightning with the prolonged vary battery can tackle about 54 miles of vary in 10 minutes and may cost from 15 p.c to 80 p.c in 41 minutes. The usual vary battery will take longer, although: it will probably tackle 41 miles of vary in 10 minutes at a 150kW charging station, and it takes 44 minutes to cost from 15 to 80 p.c.

At dwelling, a 120-volt outlet will trickle 3 miles per hour into the battery, whereas a 240-volt outlet can add round 14 miles per hour. The true standout charging characteristic is unique to the variations of the F-150 Lightning powered by the prolonged vary battery. Ford is together with a brand new 80-amp dwelling charging station that not solely absolutely fees the F-150 Lightning in eight hours however permits house owners to simply energy their complete dwelling for round three days in the occasion of an electrical energy outage.

The flexibility to attract energy from the battery pack isn’t restricted to those excessive situations, although. All of the base trims of the F-150 Lightning can put out 2.4kW of onboard energy, and the dearer Lariat and Platinum trims provide a complete of 9.6kW of onboard energy. The dearer F-150 Lightnings have 11 built-in energy sockets — seven in the cab and mattress, together with a 240V outlet, and 4 in the entrance trunk — plus a handful of USB ports. Ford started enjoying with this concept of turning a car right into a cell generator of types with the F-150 hybrid, however the greater trims of the F-150 Lightning will provide even extra onboard energy, and so they received’t use gasoline to generate it. That’s not solely an important characteristic for anybody who wants energy on the go, but it surely could possibly be an enormous profit for fleet operators or small companies seeking to go inexperienced.

“We predict that is going to be actually widespread,” Palmer says. “Individuals wish to be independent. And this makes you fully independent.”

Electric utility, future tech

Talking of that entrance trunk, it’s large. Ford says it will probably match two units of golf golf equipment or a big suitcase and two carry-on-sized baggage. It has a complete quantity of 14.1 cubic toes (400 liters) of storage and may carry as much as 400 kilos of stuff. Like the entrance trunk on the Mustang Mach-E, it’s water-resistant and has a drain for straightforward cleansing. Ford calls it — critically — the Mega Energy Frunk.

The F-150 Lightning’s entrance trunk is just not solely giant, however the hood takes the truck’s grille with it when it opens, that means you received’t have to achieve up and over to entry what’s inside. It’s a thoughtful contact from Ford, but it surely’s not terribly stunning contemplating the myriad utility options the firm has constructed into latest F-150s — a lot of which carry over to the Lightning.

Past the frunk and the shops and onboard energy, there’s additionally the fold-out workstation in the middle console, which has sufficient area for a laptop computer, a pad of paper, or your lunch. For individuals who spend a lot of time of their vans — whereas charging, maybe — the two entrance seats can fold again just about completely flat. And for individuals who do a number of towing, the truck has Ford’s new good hitch help characteristic that may just about robotically hook a trailer up for you.

In reality, the Lightning shares a lot with different F-150s that it’s utilizing the similar cab and the similar dimension mattress, that means it ought to work with beforehand appropriate equipment and add-ons like a slide-in camper.

Certainly one of the largest variations is that it has a 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen in the dearer trims. It’s basically the similar as what’s in the Mustang Mach-E, besides it doesn’t float over the dashboard. It’s embedded and surrounded by some bodily buttons and some shops, which Ford says truck prospects nonetheless depend on.

That display is working Ford’s Sync 4A, which is the newest model of the automaker’s infotainment system that debuted in the Mustang Mach-E. It just about operates in a two-pane structure, with the prime half usually devoted to navigation or media controls and the backside half for local weather and different car capabilities. However it additionally options wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto if you happen to’d somewhat simply work with the apps in your telephone, or Amazon Alexa if you happen to wish to set free the occasional lonely shout.

The driving force show is larger than the one on the Mustang Mach-E — 12 inches versus 10 inches — and can characteristic extra detailed details about power utilization. This entire system can even be updatable over the air, as Ford just lately detailed how it’s embracing distant software program updates in an enormous means.

23 16X9

However if you would like that 15.5-inch display, you need to pay for both the Lariat or Platinum trim. The bottom mannequin Lightning comes with a much less flashy landscape-oriented 12-inch capacitive touchscreen that runs the commonplace model of Sync 4. This model of the truck will nonetheless get over-the-air updates, works with CarPlay and Android Auto, and has onboard LTE hotspot functionality, so it’s not lacking a lot in the dashboard tech division. In reality, some consumers would possibly favor the less complicated setup.

The upper trims of the new F-150 Lightning can even have Ford’s hands-free driver help system, which it calls BlueCruise, as an choice. BlueCruise is slated to launch on outfitted 2021 F-150s and Mustang Mach-Es later this 12 months and permits for hands-free driving on greater than 100,000 miles of divided highways. Like GM’s Tremendous Cruise system, it makes use of an infrared digicam to trace the driver’s eyes to verify they’re taking note of the street and are able to retake management at any second. That’s a superb characteristic to have on any car that gives superior driver help, however particularly one in every of this dimension.

Who’s shopping for?

Ford seems to have checked a number of packing containers with the F-150 Lightning, and you might most likely argue that it drew a number of additional packing containers and checked these, too. Vary will probably be an enormous query, because it at all times is with new EVs. However it received’t be the solely query.

In reality, once I requested Cox Automotive government analyst Michelle Krebs about the F-150 Lightning, her first intuition was to rattle off a bunch of questions that couldn’t presumably be answered Wednesday night time or actually till subsequent 12 months:

Is there a market? We predict there’s, as once we survey folks, there’s some curiosity. However what number of of these individuals are there? Are these conventional truck consumers who’re keen to go electric, or are these individuals who possibly haven’t bought a truck earlier than however are excited by a truck now that electric is an choice? Who’re the consumers? We all know that EV consumers, usually, are youthful than the common car-buying public and much more prosperous – amongst the most prosperous of automotive consumers. Who will these EV truck consumers buy from – a conventional truck maker, like Ford, with a long time of experience in truck making, or an upstart like Tesla, Rivian, and many others.? What is going to they use their EV vans for? Our research present full-size truck consumers have a tendency to make use of their vans for work; consumers of smaller vans use them extra for leisure and recreation.

These are all nice questions. We simply received’t know the solutions till the F-150 Lightning really goes on sale in 2022, regardless of Ford lastly displaying off what the truck is able to.

Nonetheless, it clearly has the potential to be a really massive deal. The Mustang Mach-E is already drawing a ton of recent prospects into Ford, and that’s a much more polarizing car than what Ford unveiled Wednesday night time. Ford’s gas-guzzling F-Collection vans are already supremely widespread. So if People are ever going to think about switching to electric automobiles en masse, an electric F-150 appears nearly as good a wager as some other choice — possibly higher.

Both means, the F-150 Lightning appears like unusual, nearly cosmic course correction, as Ford made mass-market combustion-engine vehicles attainable means again in the early twentieth century, and crushed the earliest efforts at electric automobiles in the course of. Maybe now, with this new electric truck, it will probably assist tip the stability in the different course.

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