The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling pickup truck in North America for almost five decades for a good reason. It’s durable, capable, and versatile, and there are many different versions to choose from for all types of lifestyles, including EV fans. If you heard the news, Ford has made a significant commitment to electrification in its model lineup. They are planning to invest more than $20 billion in EVs in the next few years, and the goal is to have at least 40% of all new vehicles to be all-electric by 2030. The F-150 nameplate is extremely crucial to achieve their target, therefore we have the new F-150 Lightning available for buyers looking for a fully electric half-ton truck.
Starting with the looks, Ford did a great job with the exterior design. It still looks undoubtedly F-150, but with more modern and quirky design language. The front fascia is a reflection of its innovative technology and forward-thinking approach. The grille is larger and more pronounced than the traditional F-150, aiming to improve aerodynamics. The most distinctive design element is the daytime running lights, the light bar runs horizontally across the front fascia, giving it a futuristic and distinctive look.
The F-150 lightning has a modern side profile, though the “EV” differences are less noticeable. The truck sits relatively lower to the ground for better handling and aerodynamics. The Lightning with Platinum trim also comes with a set of 22-inch wheels designed specifically for the truck, it has a unique design with a machined finish and contrasting black accents that complements the truck’s modern looks. Regardless of the trim you choose, the Lightning only comes with the Crew Cab and the shortest 5.5-foot bed, which is one of the most popular combinations for a long time.
The rear design also has unique features such as the C-shaped LED tail lights, which run horizontally across the rear end. Despite it only comes with a short bed, it is still quite usable as a work truck or weekend getaway. It comes with an integrated tailgate step that allows people to climb on the cargo bed easily. I do not find the tailgate step as innovative and quirky as the other offerings, but it does not increase the overall weight, and you do not have to opt-out of features like the power-operated tailgate like you would with the GMC Sierra we reviewed earlier this year. The tailgate also comes with a work surface, with a built-in measuring tool, rulers, and a tablet holder.
However, the biggest difference between the Lightning is the number of available power outlets all around the vehicle, but more importantly, it comes with a frunk. As the electric motors are located underneath, there is a usable storage space (14.1 cubic feet) in the front which can carry up to 400 pounds. There are two 120V outlets in the cab, four in the frunk, and another four in the bed along with an available 240V outlet. You will also find USB-C and USB-A ports in the front storage compartment.
All Lightning pickups come with an onboard generator which is able to offload up to 9.6kW of energy. It means you can literally power your home in an outage, so you can keep using your electronics like TV and refrigerators for several days. For contractors, that means you don’t have to carry your gas-powered generator with you, as you literally drive your generator every day to work.
The interior design and features are what make the F-150 a bestseller for many years, and Ford has kept the golden formula the same here. They didn’t reinvent the wheel and go crazy just because it is an EV. It is both practical and comfortable, offering tons of features that make it well-suited for different lifestyles. Regardless if you are using it for work, or a family ride, it offers a nice balance of physical buttons and digital screens.
As the Platinum trim comes with the BlueCruise feature, it comes with a different dashboard design to accommodate the vertical 15.5-inch screen. The important features like the volume knob have a physical button integrated into the 15.5-inch touchscreen display. The screen offers the latest version of the SYNC infotainment system, which I found very easy to navigate around, but there is a slight input lag.
All Lightning models come with a 12-inch fully digital instrument cluster that can show tons of different information, but it does not have different layouts and looks, other than the calm screen mode. I wish Ford offered different colours and map integration that would have made it much more usable. It also comes with a stowable shifter that allows you to have a workstation, and I found this feature quite useful even if you are not a contractor.
The front seats are exceptionally comfortable even for large adults. It comes with heated and ventilated 10-way power-adjustable seats in the front. You will have no issues when it comes to the overall legroom and headroom in the front, and I like the fact that the steering wheel has a great adjustment range, so you don’t have to adjust the seat based on the limited range. I wish the base XLT trim comes with a 6-seat configuration for extra flexibility, but the bucket seats with a large center console offer a very comfortable driving position.
The rear seats are just as comfortable for all body sizes with zero legroom and headroom issues. There are also nice creature comforts like the heated rear seats. However, the rear seat area can also be utilized as cargo space, as you can lift the bottom cushion up and place larger items in the back. If you have a rear-facing child seat, you do not have to move the front passenger seat to the front, and I think this is the main reason many families choose half-ton trucks.
Even though it is a fully electric vehicle, there is absolutely no compromise when it comes to the interior or cargo space. Having two electric motors on each axle also means it’s much better than a gas-powered F-150 if you are prioritizing overall cargo space, mainly because electric motors are much smaller than any type of internal combustion engine. The battery is located at the bottom of the vehicle, and it is a great fit for large vehicles with a body-on-frame structure.
The F-150 Lightning comes with two different battery packs. The standard range battery pack has a capacity of 98.0-kWh with an estimated range of 230 miles or 370 kilometres on a single charge. However, if you are looking for the maximum range, there is also an extended-range battery with a capacity of 131.0-kWh that can offer an estimated range of 300 miles or 500 kilometres. Both batteries are lithium-ion with thousands of individual cells in a waterproof and dustproof enclosure.
Our tester, the top Platinum trim only comes with the bigger battery pack, which can be charged in less than 12 hours with a standard level 2 charger. If you can find a very fast DC (level 3) charger, it can provide a full charge in less than an hour. Both electric motors produce a total of 563 horsepower and a whopping 775 lb-ft of torque available everywhere, allowing the F-150 lightning to accelerate from 0-60 mph in less than 5 seconds, quite an impressive number for a truck that weighs almost 7000 pounds.
All Lightning trims come standard with an all-wheel-drive system, but you cannot manually choose if you want to switch to two-wheel-drive mode. However, the biggest difference compared to the regular F-150 is the suspension components, especially in the rear. All Lightning models come with a fully independent rear suspension with huge aluminum knuckles and control arms, aiming to provide the most refined driving experience, unlike the gas model’s solid rear axle. Despite the changes focusing on refinement, the Lightning can tow up to 10000 lbs with the bigger battery pack, but you need to be mindful when it comes to total range if you are planning to tow on a regular basis.
The lightning-quick acceleration is one of the main reasons why EVs are fun, and it is no exception here. The F-150 Lightning is not only fun on a straight line, but it is quite capable on twisties mainly due to the lower center of gravity, thanks to the battery packs located at the bottom of the vehicle. The suspension is tuned quite soft and plush, so there is a lot of body roll, but trying its best to give you the impression that this can also replace your luxury car.
Along with the Mustang Mach-E, the F-150 Lightning represents the new era for the blue oval. The starting price of the F-150 Lightning is relatively reasonable at $79,000 CAD, but the price goes up quite rapidly if you choose higher trims. If you want the top Platinum trim like our tester, that’s when it suddenly becomes a status symbol and a fashion statement more than a purpose-built work truck due to its $125,000 CAD price tag.
No matter how big the battery packs are, you still have to deal with typical EV compromises, and aside from the price tag, that’s the main reason it is not easy to recommend the F-150 Lightning to the mainstream truck audience using their truck to make a living, driving for long distances and towing on a regular basis. On the positive side, if you want an EV truck and don’t mind waiting several years to get your hands on it, you really can’t go wrong with the traditional F-150 formula with an electric drivetrain.
|Engine||Permanent-magnet synchronous AC (both axles)|
|Battery Pack||131.0 kWh – Liquid-cooled lithium-ion|
|Max power||580 hp|
|Max torque||775 lb-ft|
|0-100 km/h||4.2 sec|
|Curb Weight||6855 lbs – 3109 kg|
|Range (observed)||250 mi – 400 km|
|Price (as tested)||$125,220 CAD|