Ford revives a legend with the F150 Lightning!

It's not just the first all-electric pick-up offering from the American automaker but also the smartest and most innovative truck yet.

America’s love for trucks is no hidden affair! Especially the F150, considering it has been the best selling vehicle for so long. One thing the Ford Motor Company is well known for apart from wooing personalities like Carroll Shelby or Joe Biden, is to make those Big Muscular American Pickup Trucks.

But what can an automotive giant like Ford do when the earth is struggling from all the carbon footprint generated by these heavy petroleum engines? Simple, you put your bestseller on the electric chair! But this time around, this electrocution won’t kill anyone. Ironically, it will bring an old legend back to life!

Ford has finally revealed the electric version of its best selling pick-up truck, the F-150 Lightning, during a live event at the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. This is the Blue Oval’s second EV after the electric Mustang Mach E. And this is not just the first all-electric pick-up from the automaker, it’s also the smartest and most innovative truck yet, as per the brand’s own claims… of course!

Just imagine, Ford Motor’s F-Series truck, which is dominating the segment sales chart for decades (44 years to be precise), bundled in an electric avatar and tagged with the 90s legendary Lightning nameplate! Or don’t stress out your brain, as we already have all the details on our hands, and we’re gonna take you through all of them.

To begin with, the F-150 Lightning got some mad raw power, to say the least! If DC’s Black Lightning can stop a train full of passengers, Ford’s new Lightning can pull a freight train weighing more than 1 million pounds (over 453 ton). Yep, that’s exactly what it did! No kidding! Linda Zhang, the chief engineer of the Ford F-150, towed 10 double-decker rail cars loaded with 42 F-150s (2019 model) by an electric F-150 prototype in July 2019 to show its capability. (If this doesn’t want you to have more Ford models launched in India, then I don’t know what will!)

This earth-moving power of the new electric F-150 is generated by a dual-motor setup with a targeted output delivery of 563 hp and 1050.8 Nm (775 lb-ft) of torque. To power the motors, there are two different battery size options available – a standard-range and an extended-range. The standard battery gives the pick-up a claimed driving range of 402 km (230 miles) while opting for the extended one will stretch the range up to 482 km (300 miles). The power unit is complemented with a standard all-wheel-drive (AWD) capability. Despite its heavy muscular body, the EV will be capable of doing a 0-100 kph (60 mph) sprint in about 4.4 seconds.

Ford also said that the battery will not just provide power to the truck, but is also capable to charge tools and generator. The electric pick-up will have a 908 kg (2,000 lbs.) payload and 4.54 ton (10,000 lbs.) of towing capacity. Ford has also equipped the F150 lightning with a feature that will be able to estimate the driving range based on the payload size to help with range anxiety.

The electric F-150 will come with an 80-amp charging station as standard that is capable of fully charging it in 8 hours or can add an average of 48kph (30 mph). The EV is also fast DC charging compatible, and connecting to a 150-kilowatt unit will allow it to juice up from 15% to 80% in just 40 minutes.

In terms of design, the new Ford EV looks pretty similar to a standard petroleum F-150 with the same dimensions. However, the front facia has some new elements that give the F-150 lighting a futuristic look. The most prominent of these is the new headlamps set up, which now comes with an LED bar that wraps both the headlight units from the edge and runs symmetrically to the hood line.

Beneath this setup, the front grille has also been closed-off to provide better aerodynamics. In fact, the US automaker claims it to be the most aerodynamic F-150 ever. The grille on the EV has a more modern blackened look with a prominent Blue Oval badge grafted in the center instead of a heavily chromed-out unit seen on the ICE model.

Ford claims the F150 Lightning’s body has been made with a high-strength, military-grade aluminium alloy that is underpinned on an all-new frame built with the strongest steel ever put in an F-150 frame. The whole structure sits on 18-inch wheels. The truck also has a new independent rear suspension that delivers improved ride comfort.

Blue Oval has packed the all-electric F150 with intelligent features to create a truck that’s even smarter and more productive. The dashboard flaunts a sleek tablet like 15.5-inch portrait touchscreen with a modern interface that has been designed to adapt to the driver’s behaviour. It also comes enabled with natural voice control, cloud-connected navigation, and wireless access services like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, integrated Amazon Alexa and SYNC AppLink apps. With FordPass Power My Trip, the infotainment system also identifies charging routes before even starting the journey.

There’s also a 12-inch instrument cluster, featuring a customizable interface for drivers ease. It shows multiple information to the rider for stress-free riding. From animated graphics during hands-free highway driving mode to data figures on the vehicle’s regenerative braking performance, it keeps the driver well informed all the time.

Talking of safety features, with Ford Co-Pilot360 technology, the F150 Lightning comes with BlueCruise for true hands-free driving, Phone As A Key that allows customers to lock, unlock and start their truck without taking their phone out of their pocket or using a key fob. The F-150 Lightning also gets Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, which automatically controls steering, throttle and brake inputs to make hitching trailers even easier. Ford informed each truck will get Ford Power-Up OTA software updates that will help improve the performance, by delivering quality upgrades, updating existing features and adding all-new functions and capabilities.

One unique feature on the F150 Lightning is the new Ford Intelligent Backup Power, which allows the F150 Lightning to offload 9.6 kilowatts of power during a power outage providing security by powering home appliances, security systems and more. It will be enabled by the home management system that Ford will install with the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro. It will enable the electric truck to automatically kick in and power the house during power-cuts. Once power is restored, the truck automatically reverts to charging its battery. Ford claims, the F-150 Lightning with the extended-range battery can provide power for up to three days to full-home which has an average 30kWh of consumption per day.

Other cool features include a 360-degree Zone Lighting, which can light up a specific zone or the entire area around the vehicle, and a water-resistant space under the hood which comes equipped with four electrical outlets. With 2.4 kilowatts of power, these give the capability to plug in power tools, TVs, laptops, speakers, crockpots and more in a secure, lockable and easily accessible 400-litre “front-trunk” which could also be used as a normal storage space otherwise.

Ford will start production of the F-150 Lightning next spring at its all-new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. The F150 Lightning will be available in four trims – Platinum, Lariat, XLT and a soon to be launched, commercial oriented version. The commercial-oriented entry model will start at $39,974, while the mid-series XLT model come with a starting price tag of $52,974, offering additional comfort and technology. Ford has informed a detailed pricing will be disclosed in Fall 2021. On launch, the Blue Oval’s new offering will go against other upcoming electric pickups such as the GMC Hummer EV Pickup, electric Chevy Silverado, and Tesla Cybertruck. 

Interestingly, the US president, Joe Biden was seen racing around in an electric Ford F-150 Lightning a day before the launch event, to promote the government’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, which includes $174 billion for electric vehicle development. Biden described the F-150 Lightning as a critical aspect of the fight to “save the planet” from global warming. And given the market share the Ford pick-up trucks have in the US, it could definitely trigger a big environmental movement among the auto-enthusiasts in the States, if backed with the proper public charging infrastructure.

“For both Ford and the American auto industry, F-150 Lightning represents a defining moment as we progress toward a zero-emissions, digitally connected future,” said Bill Ford, executive chairman, Ford Motor Company during the launch event. “F-Series is America’s best-selling truck for 44 years, the backbone of work across the country, and a trusted icon for generations of customers. Now we are revolutionizing it for a new generation.”

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Himanshu Harsh

My love for automobiles is what fuels my writing. You can catch me twisting synth knobs when I'm not drooling over cars.

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