Ford's all-electric F-150 Lightning is the best truck on the market today
Like everyone else, I was eager to test-drive the new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup. I've driven the over-the-top GMC Hummer EV, which can easily be called an exotic vehicle rather than a daily driver. The Lightning is really the first major automaker effort at an everyday electric truck. Now that I've spent a week in the Lightning, I can say that it's not only the best electric truck of the year, it's the overall best truck of the year, period.
That's a bold statement, but I have reasons to back it up. First, there's the driving experience. As you might expect, the F-150 Lightning is quiet. With no engine or driveline noise and vibration, this F-150 is as peaceful and smooth as a top-tier luxury car. But there's more: because the Lightning is an EV, the heavy batteries live down low under the floor, dropping the center of gravity to create an extremely stable driving platform. Finally, because of the rear-mounted electric motor, the Lightning is able to use an independent rear suspension instead of the antiquated solid rear axle. Thus, the Lightning rides better than any other truck you can buy.
The driveline statistics are impressive. With the extended range batteries, the Lightning offers 580 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque. The standard batteries yield 452 horsepower, which is still plenty because the torque is the same on either battery pack. The 0-60 dash is accomplished in 4.5 to 5.0 seconds, also depending on the battery pack. That's about the same as a new Mustang GT. Finally, you get full-time all-wheel drive with twin motors at the front and rear of the truck.
Depending on the trim and battery options you select, the Lightning's total driving range on a full charge will be 230 to 320 miles. Most buyers are expected to select the extended range option, which will deliver 300 to 320 miles, depending on the trim level. The F-150 Lightning accepts DC Fast Charging, which allows you to charge from 15% to 80% of capacity in 41 minutes. Lucky for me, there's a DC fast charger literally next door to my favorite taco shop, four blocks from my house. If I was using a Level 2 charger wired into my garage, that same charge would take 13 hours, which is still good for overnight charging.
If there's a drawback to the F-150 Lightning, that's it. The size of the batteries necessary to propel a 6,015-pound truck at the acceleration and range of the Lightning means dealing with extended charge times. Also, while the F-150 Lightning is rated to tow up to 10,000 pounds, doing that has a serious negative impact on driving range. Thus, like many other popular trucks, those who need to tow or haul heavy loads for long distances probably won't choose a Lightning. But for most truck enthusiasts who use their rigs as daily drivers, the Lightning can be an excellent and reasonably convenient choice.
The thing that really makes the Lightning the greatest truck is this: It's an F-150. All the things that have made the standard F-Series the most popular vehicle in America are still present on the Lightning. The interior is nice, the tech package is good, it looks like an F-150, and the price is not far off from comparable trims in gas-powered trucks, especially once the various tax credits are applied. Those can be worth up to $10,000 for Oregon buyers.
With the proliferation of electric vehicles already on the market and those scheduled to arrive over the next couple of years, EVs are becoming mainstream. That's the bottom-line beauty of the F-150 Lightning: it's not a curiosity or an early-adopter fashion statement. It's a serious pickup truck designed for traditional pickup truck buyers. If you're planning on a new truck this year, I encourage you to take a test-drive in the Ford F-150 Lightning.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
Base price: $39,974
Price as tested: $92,669
Type: Full size half-ton pickup
Engine: Dual electric motors (580 hp, 775 lbs-ft)
Transmission: Direct drive
EPA estimated range: 230-320 miles
Overall length: 232.7 inches
Curb weight: 6,015 pounds
Final assembly: Dearborn, Michigan
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