Electrical autos are rad. They provide a singular driving expertise that’s fairly enjoyable, even in fundamental, low-power fashions. I’ve pushed and loved the 1,000-plus hp Lucid Air as a lot as the Fiat 500e. What I’ve by no means pushed, however have been tremendous interested in, is an electrical pickup truck. Proper now, there are just a few that you would be able to purchase, together with the Rivian R1T, the Hummer EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning. The latter, to me, is probably the most fascinating, as a result of the Lightning has to cater to not solely EV early adopters, however it additionally has to win over individuals who purchase regular vehicles.
Full Disclosure: Ford needed me to drive an F-150 Lightning so badly, the corporate dropped off a 2023 Platinum mannequin at my home with a full battery pack for me to make use of as I happy for every week.
The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum that I’ve as a take a look at automobile is a fairly critical piece of apparatus. It comes geared up with Ford’s extended-range battery pack, which is sweet for a claimed 300 miles of vary (320 within the much less luxe XLT or Lariat trims), 580 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque from its dual-motor all-wheel drive setup. For these of you enjoying at house, these aren’t fairly diesel Tremendous Obligation numbers, however they’re not too far off. The dash to 60 mph is available in 4.5 seconds, which feels depraved quick for a full-size truck.
Whereas the physique of the Lightning says F-150, beneath, it’s a reasonably completely different beast, and we’re not simply speaking concerning the drivetrain. For instance, the Lightning is the primary F-150 to supply impartial rear suspension. This, together with the Lightning’s almost 6,500-pound curb weight, has the good thing about one of the best journey high quality I’ve but skilled in an unladen pickup truck.
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The Lightning is also built to work like a truck, with up to a 10,000-lb towing capacity (8,500 lbs in my Platinum tester) and a payload capacity of 1,952 lbs on all extended-range models. These aren’t the best or the worst figures in the F-150 lineup, and in fact, they skew right toward the middle. Of course, just as with internal-combustion models, efficiency will take a nose dive when towing or hauling.
Thanks in part to the excellent ride quality, the Lightning is actually really nice to drive, particularly around town. The steering is light and accurate, and the brake transition from regen to physical brakes is fairly smooth. However, I mostly find myself using Ford’s well-calibrated one-pedal driving mode and rarely touching the brake pedal as a result. The cabin is well-insulated and, in my Platinum model, very well-equipped.
Being Ford’s flagship F-150 model, the tech on the Lightning is great. The large portrait-oriented central dashboard screen is sharp, responsive and super easy to use. It’s the same unit found in the also-excellent Mustang Mach-E. Wi-fi Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are commonplace and work like a appeal. There’s additionally a wi-fi charging pad, and the retractable shift lever is cool however in the end not that helpful, even with the middle console lid flipped over into desk mode.
Security tech can be fairly nice, with Ford’s wonderful BlueCruise superior driver help system coming alongside for the journey in addition to all the person options that make BlueCruise work, like lane-keep help, adaptive cruise management, automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and so forth. Considerably predictably, all these goodies are commonplace on the top-tier Platinum mannequin.
Whereas the inside of the Lightning Platinum is a pleasant place to be, the standard of the supplies is nowhere close to what you’d anticipate from a automobile that stickers for an eye-watering $99,759, together with a $1,895 vacation spot charge. The seats look nice however aren’t particularly comfy, regardless of plenty of adjustability. The leather-based is nice for an F-150 however could possibly be higher high quality for the cash, and the sprint appears plasticky and low cost in lots of locations. It’s removed from being a penalty field, however when you’re going to cost big-league cash, you’ve got to have the ability to again that up with big-league luxurious.
Even with its mega price ticket and its handful of flaws, the Lightning stays a large achievement for Ford. It seems like an actual truck, able to do all the actual truck issues homeowners purchase vehicles for. As a primary effort, it’s a staggering achievement. Now, Ford must work on driving the value down. Even the “work truck spec” Professional model begins at $59,014, and that’s nonetheless possible an excessive amount of for most individuals to need to make the change. Even at that value, it’s cheaper than a Rivian R1T, which begins at round $73,000 and is aimed toward a way more overland-y purchaser.
Do you have to purchase a Ford F-150 Lightning? If you happen to’ve bought the money, you’re ready to cope with the present crappy state of America’s charging infrastructure, and also you don’t have to tow loopy hundreds, then yeah, completely. It’s a killer drive, gives distinctive and helpful options, and, because of Ford’s “Energy Up” over-the-air updates, is probably going solely going to get higher with time. It lives as much as the F-150 identify and provides new worth to it too, which is a large achievement.