FORD BETS BIG ON AN EV FUTURE
The all-new F-150 Lightning is a great pickup for the right buyer.
by Brian Douglas
Some people are surprised to learn that Ford’s burly F-150 trucks are the most popular vehicle sold in the USA. Although it’s not reported how many of these big galoots are used for the rugged, commercial work they were originally designed to do, my guess is that at least half the sales are personal. It’s like guessing how many Jeeps, or Ford’s new Broncos, really venture off road, but we’re not being judgmental.
In most cases, full-size pickup trucks do not offer a smooth driving experience on public roads when you’re not hauling or towing something. That’s because the suspension is designed to work for a living, not cruise. But you don’t have to load the new Lightning up with passengers or cargo to attain smoothness, since the big battery adds at least 1,000-pounds, and it’s down low so handling isn’t negatively affected.
Despite its curb weight just north of 6,000-pounds, the Lightning lives up to its legendary, high performance moniker. At half throttle, the instant 775-foot pounds of torque leaves most vehicles in the rearview mirror and the big guy will even embarrass that rumbling F-150 Raptor that you’ve encounter at a stoplight. In fact, this very capable truck is so quiet and responsive that if you’re not careful, you could easily find yourself discussing the Lightning’s thrilling performance in a local traffic court.
To avoid unwanted conversations with patrol officers and judges, I engaged the Lightning’s Co-Pilot 360 Active “Blue Cruise”, a dynamic, hands-free cruise control system that borders on autonomous driving. At least if I was busted, I’d have a digital alibi. Listening to my high-resolution music files on the Lariat’s standard Bang & Olufsen sound system was another treat that takes advantage of this truck’s uncannily quiet ride.
Fellow enthusiast Jay Leno compared his Lightning experience to motoring in a Rolls-Royce. That only seems absurd until you cruise in this leather upholstered quiet cabin, looking down at normal vehicles and feeling a substance that its mass provides. The experience does seem like the EV future is as bright as proponents allege.
Ford has clearly created a compelling battery electric version of its most important model. The optional 131 kW battery does provide a realistic 320-mile range in normal passenger transport and that’s reasonable for most owners. There’s also nearly 2,000-pounds of payload and 10,000-pound towing capability and even 9.6kW of Pro Power that supplies ten 120V and one 240V outlet for your tailgate bash or a worksite. But towing a decent RV trailer cuts the range in half and powering a construction project or home has obvious limits. And while recharging the big fella from 15% to 80% is just 41-minutes if you locate a 150kW DCFC fast charger, the supplied 80-amp 240V home charger connection is a more leisurely eight hours and 120V wall outlet option will take nearly three days for a fill-up. It’s all a balancing act in our brave new EV world
THE FINE PRINT
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat
TYPE: Dual motor, all-wheel-drive
BATTERY: 131 kWh
MPGe 78-city, 63-highway, 70-combined
BASE PRICE: $75,974.00
AS TESTED: $89,089.00