Another icon banished to the forbidden land. Hard to say no one saw this coming, because quite frankly we did. No matter how much truck owners tried to resent it, it happened. America’s truck— the Ford F-150 has turned to the electric side.
Deep in the heart of Detroit, this was never supposed to happen. Rewind about 5 years ago and this conversation wouldn’t have even been entertained as plausible. Now Detroit has had a change of heart. With D-Town rooftops being turned into gardens and it supposedly turning over a new leaf, it literally turned an American icon into a leaf. In the past the F-150 Lightning was in a league of its own. On the opposite side of the spectrum from where it is now. Ironic enough, it was a gas-guzzling supercharged V8 in a lowered single cab design. Now, sans engine, the new Lightning will come power packed with an all electric motor putting out 563 horsepower and a torque rating of 775 ft-lb. More power than the original F-150 Lightning, except this one is mandated by EPA standards, not defying them.
The new Lightning will be powered by two dual in board motors situated straight under the chassis allowing for an AWD platform. A new independent rear suspension and a Torsen limited slip differential on select trims keep pace with the gasoline motor’s off-road capability. The Lightning is quicker in a sprint to 60 than any F-series truck on the market today, or ever for that matter. The F-150 will have two options for electric motors. The 563 horsepower version as previously mentioned and a smaller, 426 horsepower, 115 kWh motor as a more economical choice on your wallet. While not a performance vehicle, it is faster than the Raptor, the original SVT Lightning, and around the same time as the Mustang Mach-E, another Ford rendition of a classic.
Ford states it’s going after its most beloved and flagship products to convert into their respective electric formats first. The Mustang has the Mach-E, the Transit has been electrified, and now one of the most revered trucks in the US, if not the world has been converted over. Think of the new Lightning moniker as a new start, not a revival. It won’t be SVT tuned as SVT has been disbanded however, it packs plenty of performance. To start off the Lightning will start just shy of $40,000 but creep its way to around $90,000 fully loaded.
The new F-150 should be one of the better handling trucks on the market without having to lower the suspension. The independent rear suspension in lieu of the current live axle on all the F-150s creates a lower center of gravity. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a F-150 Lightning Raptor spin-off sometime soon. Pulling parallels from the regular F-150, the Lightning will come with all the expectable gadgets and gizmos that you’d expect. A power generator, power tailgate, cargo lights, and a 10,000 pound towing capacity. 4,000 pounds less than the gas version. But that’s not even close to the most impressive part.
While the exterior may look like your normal F-150, it’s one of the more subtle designs of the EV truck, something that may be a hit or miss for some, the interior is fully updated. More so the technology involved and integrated. Ford will deploy standard over-the-air software updates – called Ford Power-Up – to improve the technology experience, add new features and fix issues without trips to the dealership. In addition, a 12 inch digital gauge cluster, enough power from the generator to power a small house, and a massive frunk. While that may be cool and all, moreover is Ford’s new infotainment system SYNC 4A – a sleek, modern interface supported by a 15.5-inch touch screen and designed to adapt to driver behavior. SYNC 4A employs natural voice control, cloud-connected navigation and wireless access to your favorite services: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, integrated Amazon Alexa and SYNC AppLink apps.
Ford has also introduced BlueCruise, the blue oval’s rendition of Tesla’s AutoPilot and GM’s SuperCruise. The self driving system, Ford claims, can successfully drive itself on highways with ease hands-free. Via on the air updates, BlueCruise will also update itself and be part of a suite of driver assistance features called Ford CoPilot 360. The tech continues with Ford’s new Onboard Scale, which uses the truck’s sensors to estimate payload and tell customers how much they’re hauling. And since payload can impact range, Onboard Scales is integrated with Intelligent Range to help ensure F-150 Lightning gives an accurate estimate of how far you can go. F-150 Lightning debuts available Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, which automatically controls steering, throttle and brake inputs to make hitching trailers even easier.
“It really is the smartest F-150 we’ve ever made,” said Darren Palmer, general manager, Battery Electric Vehicles, Ford Motor Company. “F-150 Lightning offers an immersive touch screen, giving our customers all the info they want in an instant – a real-time view of where they’re going, what they’re hauling or how much real-world range they’ve got banked. And with Ford Power-Up software updates, the experience is only going to get better.”
The F-150 in contrast to its sleek, grille-nixed styling is still an offroad behemoth. While it’s no Raptor, it still can more than hold its own. Underneath the truck lays a massive skidplate to protect vital internals from getting scuffed up and scratched. 4 distinct drive modes allow the user to select the optimal driving situation for their circumstance, and the battery is encased in material to protect it from weather up to -40 degrees Fahrenheit. Ford themselves ran this car through its paces, “Rigorous endurance testing included running the truck through Iowa Hill, Calif., where it towed massive trailers for long durations up and down steep inclines. As a result, F-150 Lightning sports a state-of-the-art liquid cooling system and powertrain layout that expertly manages heat distribution across the vehicle. Improved cooling systems and components ensure the truck can thrive even in the toughest driving ordeals.”
All in all, the F-150 Lightning aims to capitalize on the combination of two emerging markets. The pickup truck and the EV sectors combine make for a lucrative business ordeal for any auto manufacturer. Tesla is set to release their Cybertruck and Rivian with their own pickup truck EV, and Ford is the first to put theirs out on the market. With an EPA estimated range of 230 miles on the regular battery and 300 on the extended range, the Lightning makes for a practical daily, and with available fast charging, it sure puts itself out in front of the competition… and it got there lightning quick.