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Test bench | Ford F-150 Lightning: today the exception, tomorrow the norm

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The all-electric F-150 Lightning blends in completely with the formal language of the range, but its revolution is interior.

The revolution in motion

To appeal to a loyal and often conservative clientele, this F-150 Lightning does everything to look like a regular pickup truck. And this is not the greatest of its qualities. It might even help save the planet. Nothing less.

For too long locked in a dusty conformism, the van segment has been lugging around for a few years an overflowing dumpster of new ideas, each as attractive as the other, but without ever giving up its dependence on fossil fuels. Promises of electrification, there have been several, but in Canada, history will remember that Ford (and not Rivian or Tesla) was the first to keep them. Luckily, others will follow.

  • Without being surgically precise, the steering of the Ford F-150 Lightning allows you to negotiate turns with confidence and without worrying about impromptu body movements.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    Without being surgically precise, the steering of the Ford F-150 Lightning allows you to negotiate turns with confidence and without worrying about impromptu body movements.

  • Pickup trucks are not only found on construction sites and in rural areas, but sometimes, yes..

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    Pickup trucks are not only found on construction sites and in rural areas, but sometimes, yes..

  • Like many others, the F-150 Lightning is freed from several commands, returned to the tree structure accessible through the infotainment screen.

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    Like many others, the F-150 Lightning is freed from several commands, returned to the tree structure accessible through the infotainment screen.

  • Ford F-150 Lightning dumpster

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    Ford F-150 Lightning dumpster

  • The front trunk of the Ford F-150 Lightning

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    The front trunk of the Ford F-150 Lightning

  • The interior of the Ford F-150 Lightning

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    The interior of the Ford F-150 Lightning

  • Charging the Ford F-150 Lightning

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    Charging the Ford F-150 Lightning

  • The continuous torque of the Ford F-150 Lightning's two electric motors and the absence of a gearbox combine to make the driving experience special.  No jolts, a linear, soft and instantaneous torque force...

    PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

    The continuous torque of the Ford F-150 Lightning’s two electric motors and the absence of a gearbox combine to make the driving experience special. No jolts, a linear, soft and instantaneous torque force…

1/8

This energy transition in the pickup truck sector is, by far, the one that will have the most impact in North America. As long as the industry accelerates the pace (by increasing the rate of production) and that the consumers adopt it. And that’s good. According to a recent study (March 2022) conducted jointly by Ford and the University of Michigan, an electric pickup truck significantly reduces the environmental footprint compared to an equivalent model equipped with an internal combustion engine.

At present, this electrified F-150 cannot satisfy all needs. While its towing capacity is remarkable, the F-150 Lightning could cause some frustration with the number of refuelings required. With the trailer (7700 lb or 3492 kg) used during the pickup truck tests, the range of the F-150 Lightning drops by more than half. A result that does not surprise Jean-François Pelchat, reader and owner of an F-150 Lightning XLT with a standard battery life. “When I transport my 20-foot enclosed trailer, the range drops by 50%. Added to this inconvenience are the charging stations. These are rarely accessible to a van with a trailer in the back, we found. Under these conditions, the F-150 Lightning drains its battery in no time.

Few complaints

These pitfalls will worry some consumers. Not all. Indeed, the vast majority of vans that travel our roads do not transport planks, concrete blocks or tool boxes. What do consumers use them for then? Transporting furniture you got from an antique shop? To drop off your skis and snowboards there? Certainly, you have to look elsewhere – not just on construction sites and in rural areas – what’s so appealing about a pickup truck. Ford alone sells nearly 1 million per year. We can therefore understand the impact of the F-150 Lightning in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Towing aside, the F-150 Lightning outperforms its thermal equivalent in every way.

Benefiting from a solidified architecture, a fully independent rear suspension, an almost perfect distribution of its masses and a lowered center of gravity, this electric pickup truck is astonishing.

No racket hits on bumpy asphalt, but an unusual poise and smoothness for a vehicle in this segment.

The feeling of heaviness generally associated with many electric vehicles on the dynamic level appears here much less significant than usual. Without being surgically precise, the steering allows you to negotiate turns with confidence and without worrying about impromptu cash movements. The weight, however, has an impact on the braking, the power of which is correct, but nothing more. This van also offers the option of one-pedal driving, but the regenerative force seemed a little excessive to us and requires a period of acclimatization.

Although it tows just as heavy – but not for very long on a full load, of course – the F-150 Lightning is sure to challenge certain received ideas. The continuous torque of its two electric motors and the absence of a gearbox combine to make the experience confusing (in the positive sense of the term). No jolts, a linear, soft and instantaneous torque force…

As for autonomy, Ford offers (see the “Specifications” tab) two types of batteries across its entire range, with the exception of the Platinum version. This last plate has its biggest belly, which is offered at an additional cost on the other versions. It comes at a substantial outlay, but given its faster recharging and overall performance, it’s arguably the more informed choice.

A seemingly familiar environment

If you have never taken place in such a vehicle, you will be pleasantly surprised. There’s nothing rustic about it, but it doesn’t flirt with science fiction either. The F-150 Lightning allows you to configure everything (or almost) and introduces a different relationship to the automobile. Motorists can manage the operation of their vehicle as closely as possible as if they were driving a prototype rather than a production model. Like many others, the F-150 Lightning is freed from several commands, returned to the tree structure accessible through the infotainment screen. Alas, laboriously mastering these commands presents some challenges and is distracting.

With this Ford, you can power your house, create a real tailgate party (tailgate party) by placing a television in the dumpster and even to “boost” another electric vehicle. So many “dumpsters” ideas.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Price range

From $68,000 to $110,000

Average consumption and autonomy

27.6kWh/100km
370 km (standard range)
483 km (Platinum/extended range)
515 km (extended range)

WE love

Increased functionality (compared to its thermal equivalent)
Ride comfort and silence
Dynamic despite the weight

We love less

Counted towing distance
Slow and distracting interface
Deficiencies in the public charging network

Our Verdict

A successful transition

Technical sheet


PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

Ford F-150 Lightning

Engine

  • Standard autonomy: electric motors (x2), power: 452 hp (337 kW), torque: 775 lb-ft (1050 Nm)
  • Extended autonomy: electric motors (x2), power: 580 hp (433 kW), torque: 775 lb-ft (1050 Nm)

Performance

  • Minimum empty weight: from 2799 kg to 2989 kg
  • Battery dimensions (useful): 98 kWh (standard runtime), 131 kWh (extended runtime)
  • Maximum towing capacity: 3493 kg (standard range), 4536 kg (extended range)

Gearbox

  • Standard: automatic
  • Optional: none
  • Drive mode: four wheel drive

Tires

  • 275/60R20 (XLT and Lariat)
  • 275/50R22 (Platinum)

Charging time

  • Level 2: between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. (from 15% to 100%)
  • Level 3: from 41 minutes to 122 minutes (from 15% to 80%)

Consumption and autonomy

  • 24.8 kWh/100 km (best consumption obtained)
  • 370 km (standard range)
  • 483 km (Platinum/extended range)
  • 515 km (extended range)

Dimensions

  • Wheelbase: 3696mm
  • Length: 5910.5mm
  • Height: 1989mm
  • Width: 2032 mm (exterior mirrors excluded)

Same, not the same


PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

The architecture of the Ford F-150 Lightning

In appearance, the F-150 Lightning has everything from the thermal F-150. Same cabin, same tipper, but the structure is new. In addition to the four-wheel independent suspension, the architecture is completely different to accommodate the two electric motors (one on each axle) and the battery. There are two configurations in the catalog and the most powerful (extended range) entails an additional outlay of $13,380.

Short distance


PHOTO PROVIDED BY FORD

The Ford F-150 Lightning with a trailer

There are so many parameters involved (temperature, driving, route, etc.) that it is important to bring several nuances. That said, the F-150 Lightning can indeed tow heavy loads, but only over short distances. With a 7700 lb trailer, a battery filled to maximum capacity and a relaxed ride (100 km/h), without air conditioning and with an outside temperature of 18 ohC, “our” Lightning could travel 157 km.

Share your experience

The Press will soon publish the test of the following vehicles: Audi Q4 e-tron, Honda Civic Type R, Kia Niro, Mercedes-Benz EQB, Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, Nissan Ariya, Range Rover and Vinfast VF8. If you own one of these vehicles or are considering purchasing one, we would love to hear from you.



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