Science & Tech

The most important EV of the decade? We drive the F-150 Lightning

At first glance, this could be any other Ford F-150 pickup, but the aerodynamic wheels and nose treatment mark it out as the all-electric F-150 Lightning. This is the top-spec Platinum trim.
Enlarge / At first look, this may very well be another Ford F-150 pickup, however the aerodynamic wheels and nostril remedy mark it out because the all-electric F-150 Lightning. This is the top-spec Platinum trim.

Jonathan Gitlin

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS—Simply put, the Ford F-150 Lightning is an important new electrical automobile we’ll drive for a while. Auto journalists might be accused of utilizing that cliché all too readily, however on this case, I feel it is defensible. Americans love pickup vans greater than another four-wheeled automobile, and in relation to pickup vans, they love Ford’s F-series sufficient that it has been the nation’s bestseller for nearly so long as I’ve been alive.

Making a totally battery-electric model of its favourite pickup due to this fact looks like a great way to spur adoption of electrical autos in a rustic that is lagging behind Europe and China. But provided that the truck is any good. Part of the explanation Ford sells so many F-series vans is that a lot of them are put to work, pulling trailers or hauling heavy masses of their beds. And it is simply as necessary to decarbonize these vans, which signifies that a stripped-down electrical F-150 has to have the ability to minimize it on the job website simply as a lot as within the position of a suburban dad’s absolutely loaded commuter pickup.

To an off-the-cuff observer, there’s little that marks the F-150 Lightning as being something different than simply one other F-150 with a brilliant crew cab and a 5.5-foot mattress. Instead of an open grille, there is a extra aerodynamic remedy on the entrance, plus some distinctive daytime operating lights. The alloy wheels’ surfaces are extra disc-like than you’d usually see. And should you look rigorously, you may spot the occasional lightning bolt. The cab is gentle and ethereal because of massive glass moonroofs, and there is loads of room within the again for big adults.

The F-150 crew cab's back seat is a spacious place.
Enlarge / The F-150 crew cab’s again seat is a spacious place.

Jonathan Gitlin

The powertrain between the rails

All of that will lead one to underestimate the quantity of labor that Ford’s engineers and designers have put in over the previous few years. The physique would possibly seem like most F-150s, however that is the fantastic thing about utilizing a body-on-frame building. And in contrast to the opposite electrical pickups we have pushed within the previous couple of months, this one is resolutely body-on-frame. That’s the place plenty of the exhausting work has gone. The battery pack, encased in its protecting shell, is remoted from the body moderately than simply being bolted in—higher to withstand the shocks and vibrations that will happen, in keeping with Ford’s engineers.

Redesigning the body moderately than simply taking out inside combustion bits and shoehorning electrical ones of their place signifies that Ford hasn’t crammed the nostril of the truck with the air con elements and different ancillaries we too usually discover in European BEVs. Rather, there’s an impressively helpful frunk, sufficiently big for units of golf golf equipment or a bunch of carry-on suitcases, which might be locked away from prying eyes.

The F-150 Lightning might be ordered with a alternative of batteries. The standard-range pack gives a useable capability of 98 kWh, which is enough for an EPA-estimated vary of 230 miles (370 km), and carries an onboard AC charger that may settle for as much as 11.3 kW and output 10.5 kW. The battery pack additionally dictates energy output; select the smaller pack, and the entrance and rear everlasting magnet electrical motors will output a mixed 452 hp (337 kW) and 775 lb-ft (1,050 Nm).

The extended-range battery offers 131 kWh of useable capability, which ought to enable for between 300–320 miles (482–515 km) between expenses, relying on the trim. The bigger pack additionally provides extra energy to the motors—580 hp (433 kW) on this case. Torque is similar to the standard-range pack, however along with the larger-capacity pack, Ford additionally suits an onboard AC charger that may settle for as much as 19.2 kW and output 17.6 kW.

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