Ford F-150 Lightning: Is this the best electric pickup for most people?

Ford is the poster child for companies that embody the “American dream” – and as the world collectively turns to more sustainable sources of energy, Ford looks to bring all-electric trucks to the average American with the Ford F-150 Lightning.

Announced on May 19, 2021, the Ford F-150 Lightning will strive to be a real competitor to the Tesla Cybertruck.

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In this article, we’ll give you a comprehensive rundown on all the important features you need to know about the newly announced 2022 Ford-F150 Lightning.

So what is F-150 Lightning?

This new all-electric truck from Ford is the next iteration of the F-150, a storied series of pickups conceived nearly half a century ago. For the first time ever, the F-150 will rely solely on an electric battery for all of its functions.

F-150 Lightning will pack a lithium-ion battery with a 19.2kW peak charging capacity that is capable of taking the truck about 300 miles in the extended-range model.

All models of the F-150 Lightning will make use of a dual-motor setup to power the all-wheel-drive abilities of the truck. Each truck will also be equipped with independent rear suspensions to make off-roading a smoother experience.

How does Lightning compare to other F-150 models?

The Lightning’s all-electric design is absolutely a massive step forward, but sometimes two steps forward also require a step backwards. Folks looking to purchase F-150 Lightning will have to make a few sacrifices that might deter long-time fans of the F-150 series or those looking to do intense work with their vehicle.

The estimated max towing capacity of Lightning is 10,000 lbs in the high-end models. All versions of the pickup come with smart hitching, onboard scales, and 360-degree cameras to assist with attaching and towing large trailers.

On the other hand, the 2021 gas-powered F-150 has a max towing capability of 12,700lbs in its more powerful models, so in this measure, the F-150 Lightning is a notable step down from what we might normally expect from a F-150.

In terms of acceleration, the Lightning takes the cake among all other F-150s as it can pull off 0 to 60mph in the mid-4 second range.

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The classic gas-powered Ford models can travel up to 700 miles on one tank of gas, but F-150 Lightning can only drive about 300 miles on a single charge of the battery. This could be a drawback for those looking to do longer stints in their new Ford electric truck.

Another major difference between the Lightning and other F-150 models is the massive 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen located on the central console. This is a new feature for the F-150 series and unlocks a number of possibilities for users. Its appearance strongly resembles that of the classic single screen found in all Tesla vehicles.

Unlike other F-150s, Lightning can provide 9.6kW of power through 11 outlets located at various spots around the truck. Notably, there is a 240V outlet in the bed of the truck for more electrically demanding tasks like powering construction tools.

In summary, the Lightning model has a number of advantages including long-term savings on gas and maintenance, but those will ultimately come at the sacrifice of a number of key features like towing capacity and travel distance on a single charge.

How does the Lightning compare to the Tesla Cybertruck?

This is where things actually start to get a bit hairy for F-150 Lightning.

The base model of the Lightning is only slightly more expensive than the base model Cybertruck. At the moment, based upon what we know about both unreleased pickups, the higher-end model of the Lightning could cost about $10,000 more than the most expensive Cybertruck — even with full Autopilot added to the Cybertruck.

So is Lightning that much better than Cybertruck?

Unfortunately, no. To begin with, the best Cybertruck that will be on the market in 2022 will come equipped with three motors, while even the best Lightning model will only have two.

The tri-motor Cybertruck will have the ability to tow upwards of 14,000 lbs, over 4,000 more than F-150 Lightning. Whereas the Lightning might make up for this lack of raw power is in its inclusion of a tow/haul mode. Lightning drivers will be able to put their truck in either normal, sport, off-road, or tow mode. While we don’t know exactly what the tow/haul mode will do for the Lightning, we can assume that it will likely improve the operation of the transmission.

The tri-motor Cybertruck can do 0 – 60mph in 2.9 seconds whereas the best times Lightning can do are in the mid-4 seconds. Cybertruck certainly wins in this category as well.

Lightning can travel about 300 miles on a single charge of the battery, but the Cybertruck can drive more than 500 miles on a charge. Once again, the Cybertruck comes out on top.

All this is not to say that F-150 Lightning is just a worse version of the Cybertruck. The F-150 has a number of factors going in its favor.

For one, Lightning has multiple available colors and versions that are not nearly as unusual as Cybertruck’s odd aesthetic.

Lightning is capable of powering the average American home for up to 3 days during a power outage using its battery. The Cybertruck has not announced anything similar to this innovative feature, and for customers that care about having that safety net, this might be a key factor.

Ultimately, whether the Cybertruck is more suited for any given consumer will depend on what is important to them, but the top-range Cybertruck does pack a bigger punch than the best F-150 Lighting models.

What else should I know about the Ford F-150 Lightning?

There are a couple of other key features that make the Ford F-150 Lightning an intriguing electric vehicle.

Lightning can plan trips in advance and let the driver know whether they ought to charge the vehicle’s battery first. On top of that, users can use their phones to unlock, lock, start, and stop.

All currently announced models of Lightning will come with Ford Co-Pilot360, a driver assistance system that includes a suite of features including automatic emergency braking, automatic high-beam activation and a system to keep Lightning in lane. On top of that, Lightning will also have BlueCruise — an intelligent system integrated with the truck that will enable hands-free driving on certain stretches of North American highway.

Ford F-150 Lightning price

Ford has not disclosed full details of the F-150 Lightning.

Like with the conventional F-150, the electric F-150 Lightning will be available in a wide range of configurations and trims.

We know that the base model Ford F-150 SR will start at $39,974, plus a mandatory destination fee (tax for delivering the vehicle to dealership) that’s likely to add another $2,000.

The next trim level, the XLT, will start from $52,974. We don’t know the exact prices of the other two versions – Lariat and Platinum – but we know the Platinum will reach the $90,000 price range.

It’s also important to note that folks who purchase the Ford F-150 Lightning may be eligible for state and federal EV incentives, that could shave off up to $10,000 from the price of the truck. That depends not only on where you live, but also on when you buy the F-150 Lightning. Like other carmakers in the US, Ford has a cap on how many incentivized EVs it can sell – after hitting the 200,000 units cap, customers will no longer be able to avail of the $7,500 federal tax credit. You can get more information on the federal EV tax credit here.

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Is the Ford F-150 Lightning a good deal?

Most industry followers seem to agree that the Ford F-150 Lightning is aggressively priced.

While it’s difficult to compare the Lightning to ICE-powered F-150’s, the prices generally fall in the same range, and that’s without taking into account incentives and the lower cost of ownership of the EV.

The Lightning may be not for everyone, owing to things like range, bed size, or towing capacity. However, if those aspects don’t bother you, the electric F-150 is definitely competitive with gas-powered F-150s.

Compared to other electric trucks, we can only talk about estimates as none of the Ford F-150 Lightning have hit the market yet. The Tesla Cybertruck will cost  around $50,000 in the most similar configuration, with production set to begin later this year. The Rivian R1T will start from $67,500, while the Hummer EV will eclipse its competitors at a $113,000 starting price.

When is the Ford F-150 Lightning coming out?

If you want to reserve a Ford F-150 Lightning right now, you can do so by making a refundable $100 deposit on Ford’s website.

Actual orders will be made starting fall 2021, with the first shipments due in spring of 2022. These are just estimates though, and considering EVs are still fairly new technology for Ford, delays wouldn’t be surprising.