The recently revealed F-150 Lightning is Ford’s first all-electric truck, but it won’t be the company’s last.
Although Ford hasn’t officially announced any new electric pickups yet, it has given every indication that it’s working on a battery-powered version of the mid-size Ranger or its new compact truck, the Maverick. Or both.
During an event in May, Ford announced two new platforms it’ll use for a slew of electric vehicles it’s planning to unleash over the next several years. One will underpin future utility vehicles and full-size pickups, presumably including the next-generation F-150 Lightning around the middle of the decade.
The other will form the basis for a huge variety of all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive models, including commercial vans, off-road SUVs, family haulers, and “mid-sized trucks,” Ford COO Hau Thai-Tang said.
Unless Ford plans to shake up its pickup lineup with a brand-new electric model – which would go against its strategy to “electrify our icons” – that probably means an electron-powered Ranger of some sort is on the way.
That truck could be called the Ranger Splash, judging by a trademark application Ford filed earlier this month first spotted by the auto site CarBuzz. Ford sold a sporty pickup called the Ranger Splash in the mid-1990s, and it applied this month to use the “Splash” name on “Motor vehicles, namely, automobiles, pick-up trucks, electric vehicles, sport utility vehicles, off-road vehicles, and their structural parts.”
While that’s not exactly a smoking gun, the theory isn’t so far-fetched given that Ford lifted the Lightning moniker from a high-performance F-150 it sold in the 1990s. Still, Ford could be looking to trademark “Splash” for something else entirely, like an options package.
An electric take on the Maverick – Ford’s small pickup due out this fall – could also be just over the horizon. In an interview with Insider this month, Ford vice president Jim Baumbick, who led the pickup’s development, said of a Maverick EV that he “would not ever take anything off the table, given where electrification is going.”
And Ford CEO Jim Farley told The New York Times this month that he could see Ford developing a family of Maverick models, including an electric one.
More battery-powered pickups would come as part of the mammoth transition to EVs that Ford plans to undertake in coming years. The company plans for 40% of its sales to come from electric models by 2030, and pickups – a super-popular category that Ford is a leader in – are surely key to that goal.
A Ford spokesperson declined to comment on future products.
In the race to bring an electric pickup truck to market, it can be tough to stand out.
And in an effort to set themselves apart from the pack, startups and established automakers alike have promised to equip their upcoming pickups with unique and sometimes outlandish features. Rivian is planning a “gear tunnel” that can house a slide-out kitchen, GMC’s Hummer EV can drive diagonally, and the Tesla Cybertruck resembles no truck before it (or probably after it, for that matter).
But Ford’s F-150 Lightning, which debuted this week, is a bit different. In designing the truck, Ford had to toe a fine line between producing something new, but not radically different from its popular, trusted lineup of F-Series trucks. The Lightning is no Cybertruck – and that’s exactly what Ford intended.
Still, although the electric vehicle shares a cab and an overall design with the other F-150s in Ford’s stable, it does have some unique features that set it apart from its combustion-engine relatives.
A giant touchscreen with one quirk
Love them or hate them, it seems that massive infotainment screens are here to stay – in EVs, at least. Following the trend set by Tesla, the F-150 Lightning comes equipped with a 15.5-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen on Lariat and Platinum trims. Lower trims get a more restrained 12-inch display.
But Ford recognized that its customers still appreciate physical buttons and don’t want to have to navigate through endless menus to access essential vehicle functions. So its designers included some analog controls and, strangely enough, embedded a volume knob right into the bottom of the 15.5-inch screen. It’s the same setup Ford put in the Mustang Mach-E.
Lariat and Platinum trucks come with Ford’s latest Sync 4A infotainment system, and all models have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, and WiFi hotspot capabilities.
Onboard power for tools, tailgates, and more
Ford started offering mobile-generator capabilities in the latest-generation F-150. But, it stands to reason, the Blue Oval gave its first all-electric truck an even greater ability to power things at job sites, campsites, tailgates, and the like.
The conventional F-150 offers a 2.0-kilowatt system, while the hybrid F-150 PowerBoost bumps that up to 2.4 kilowatts or, optionally, 7.2 kilowatts. The F-150 Lightning can deliver up to 9.6 kilowatts of power – a combination of up to 2.4 kilowatts from outlets in the frunk and 7.2 kilowatts from the cab and bed. That capability comes standard on Lariat and Platinum trims, and is an option on the XLT.
As an example, Ford says 9.6 kilowatts is more than enough to power a tailgate party with a projector, PA system, portable hot tub, lights, portable AC, refrigerator, and two blenders. The truck will alert owners when battery charge dips too low.
A backup generator on wheels
The F-150 Lightning’s mobile-generator functions don’t end with tailgating, however. The truck can serve as a last-resort source of power during blackouts and emergencies thanks to a feature called Ford Intelligent Backup Power.
When plugged in through Ford’s Charge Station Pro home charger – which comes standard with the extended-range truck – the F-150 Lightning will automatically begin feeding power to an owner’s home in the event of a loss of power. Ford says the 9.6-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard system can power the average home for three days on a full charge.
Ford also plans to roll out a feature called Ford Intelligent Power, which will enable the Lightning to power a home not only during emergencies, but also during high-cost, peak-energy hours.
An oddly named frunk with serious functionality
Since they don’t have an engine up front taking up space, lots of EVs have a front trunk that adds precious cargo room. Ford gave the F-150 Lightning what it claims is the biggest frunk in the industry: the Mega Power Frunk.
The compartment adds 400 liters of storage space and has power outlets and USB plugs, to boot. That’s enough room to stow two sets of golf clubs or three suitcases, Ford says.
Plus, the Mega Power Frunk has a below-floor compartment with a removable lid for storing extra tall items. A drain hole in the floor – which is also found in the Mach-E’s frunk – means owners can hose it down or fill it with ice and use it as a cooler.
A simpler way to hitch up a trailer
Ford is debuting a new feature on the F-150 Lightning to simplify hitching up a trailer. The Pro Trailer Hitch Assist feature – which is an option on XLT and Lariat models and comes standard on the Platinum truck – enables the F-150 to automatically control steering, braking, and throttle to back itself up to a trailer.
A real-time range calculator
Range anxiety – the fear of running low on battery without a charging station nearby – is one of the key hurdles to mass adoption of EVs. Ford’s Intelligent Range feature is the automaker’s attempt to put drivers at ease.
The feature aims to provide real-time range calculations on the dashboard based on factors like weather conditions and how much power a driver is using. The truck also has built-in scales so it can take into account how much stuff is in the bed and how much it’s towing when generating a range estimate. Ford says this feature will improve over time with over-the-air software updates.
Ford on Monday unveiled the F-150 Lightning Pro, a version of its newly announced electric pickup truck. This version is aimed at businesses.
Ford revealed its first all-electric pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning, on Thursday. The Lightning starts at $39,974 and its extended-range battery has a driving range of up to 300 miles.
The Lightning Pro is a very similar vehicle, but tweaked to appeal to commercial customers rather than the retail market, according to Ford’s press release. The main difference is that the Pro comes with telematics software so managers can keep track of their fleets and reimburse employees who charge the electric vehicle at home.
Ford said commercial businesses could use the lockable space under the hood to store tools, while saving the rear-end cargo bed for other equipment.
The most basic model of the Lightning Pro starts at $39,974, the same as the Lightning, with an estimated range of 230 miles. Models with 300 miles of range will start at $49,974, according to Ford.
Shipments of the Lightning Pro will kick off in 2022, Ford said.
The basic version of the truck will be able to generate 426 horsepower and tow up to 7,700 pounds. It also comes with a 32-amp charger which Ford said makes “the transition affordable for small and medium-size businesses.”
In comparison, the extended range can pull up to 10,000 pounds with the optional Max Trailer Tow Package, generates up to 563 horsepower, and comes with both an 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and onboard dual chargers.
“F-150 Lightning Pro represents so much more than an electric workhorse – it’s made for commercial customers inside and out, it gets better over time, and it’s totally plugged into always-on services that can help business productivity,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s president and CEO, in the press release.
Following years of speculation and anticipation, Ford on Wednesday took the wraps off of its debut all-electric pickup truck: the F-150 Lightning.
The battery-powered version of America’s favorite truck offers extra performance and some added functionality over its gas-powered siblings but comes in a familiar package. It’ll go on sale in mid-2022 with a starting MSRP of $39,974 and is available to reserve now with a $100 deposit.
That $40,000 gets you a bare-bones work truck, while the cheapest consumer-oriented model – called the XLT – costs $52,974 and up. Pricing can stretch to $90,000 for customers who opt for a larger battery or a fancier Lariat or Platinum trim.
More powerful than any F-150 in Ford’s current lineup, the F-150 Lightning promises to churn out up to 563 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque when equipped with the optional larger battery. Extended-range models can also tow up to 10,000 pounds and hit 60 mph in four seconds and change. All Lightnings come with dual electric motors and four-wheel-drive.
The base model targets an EPA-estimated range of 230 miles, while the extended-range truck should be able to travel 300 miles on a full battery, Ford says. Both those figures will surely be greatly diminished when a heavy trailer or payload is added into the mix, but that shouldn’t matter much to folks who buy trucks more for style than necessity.
Still, Ford understands this is something customers are concerned about, so it developed a real-time range calculator that tells drivers how far they can go based on factors like weather conditions, trailer weight, and how much stuff is in the bed. Ford says the F-150 Lightning can recoup from 15% to 80% battery in 41-44 minutes when plugged into a DC fast-charging station.
In the pursuit of making the F-150 Lightning “distinct, but not different,” Ford designed the truck to look pretty much the same as its combustion-engine models, inside and out. The most notable exterior differences are the Lightning’s closed-off grille and LED light bars in front and rear.
The F-150 Lightning shares a cab with the rest of the 14th-generation F-150 lineup, so it offers the same cool options like a fold-out work surface and seats that recline to 180 degrees. But the F-150 Lightning also has some unique features.
For instance, the truck can power things like TVs, camping equipment, and tools through 11 outlets spread throughout the bed and interior. It also has the optional ability to feed power back into a customer’s home in the event of a blackout. A massive frunk – the largest in the industry, Ford says – adds space for items customers can’t fit in the back or cab.
Following the larger trend toward bigger and bigger screens in EVs, the Lightning gets a 15.5-inch center touchscreen on higher trims. As expected, the truck comes standard with many of Ford’s latest tech features like a 360-degree camera, navigation, and compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
BlueCruise, the company’s advanced driver-assistance suite that allows for hands-free driving on some highways, is optional on Lariat models and comes standard on the Platinum trim.
Ford will build the truck at its new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. It’s a key step in the company’s transition toward EV production and comes as part of a $29 billion investment in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025.
Ford has long touted plans to sell an electric version of its top-selling pickup. Now that truck has a name: the F-150 Lightning.
The Blue Oval announced the name on Monday and said the electric pickup will be revealed in full at an event at its Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters on May 19.
The F-150 isn’t just Ford’s best-selling truck, it’s been the top-selling vehicle in the US overall for more than four decades. So for Ford, the electric F-150’s debut isn’t just another run-of-the-mill car reveal. The company is marking the occasion by livestreaming the debut on several platforms and hosting 18 in-person events across the country.
The Lightning moniker was previously reported by Car & Driver in late April, but this is the first time Ford has confirmed the name. Ford first used the name in the 1990s for a performance version of the F-150 called the SVT F-150 Lightning.
When the F-150 Lightning goes on sale in 2022, it’ll compete with a slew of new electric trucks set to the market in the next couple of years, including the Rivian R1T, GMC’s Hummer EV, Tesla’s Cybertruck, and Lordstown Endurance, to name a few.
Not to mention, General Motors said in April that it’s working on an electric version of its Chevrolet Silverado pickup, which was the second best-selling vehicle in the US in 2020 after the F-150.
The electric F-150’s debut is a major milestone in an ever-accelerating push toward zero-emission vehicles that’s occurring both at Ford and across most of the auto industry at large.
Ford automaker has committed $29 billion toward investments in electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025, and it recently began selling its first EV, the Mustang Mach-E SUV. But Ford hasn’t pledged to eliminate combustion-engine cars from its lineup, as many of the world’s largest carmakers have.