Ford’s New Electric Pickup Breaks Cover: 12 Key Points About The F-150 Lightning

Modified On May 20, 2021 05:43 PM By Sonny

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This pickup develops over 1,000Nm of torque and could even be used as a power backup for your home

Ford has just taken the covers off its new electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, based on the brand’s most popular model in North America, the F-150. It is the latest step in Ford’s plan to electrify its biggest brands first, starting with the Mustang Mach-E electric sports SUV.

Electrified Design Details for a Familiar Shape

The pure electric Ford pickup has the same overall shape as the regular F-150 but it gets a host of design updates. It’s the most aerodynamic F-150 yet with a sculpted hood and new running boards to reduce drag. The various air intakes on the conventional front fascia are replaced by smoother surfaces, a common design trait of EVs over combustion-engined vehicles.

It also features a more futuristic lighting design, especially the top-spec variants, with connected headlamps and tail lamps.The subtle design updates are a contrast to upcoming electric pickups such as the Tesla Cybertruck or Rivian R1T.

Also read: 7 Things You Need To Know About The Hummer EV

Quickest F-150 till Date

Ford has been delicate with the wording of a few specifications it has revealed about the F-150 Lightning. In its best version, the electric pickup will pack an estimated peak performance of 563PS and 1,051Nm. The carmaker states a 0-96kmph time of mid-4 seconds which is impressive for a vehicle of this size and mass.

Up to 480km of Claimed Range

The exact details of the battery packs are yet to be revealed but Ford states it will offer the F-150 Lightning with two choices: standard and extended range. The standard battery pack claims to offer 370km on a single charge, while the extended range version is estimated to deliver 483km (as per EPA testing in the US).

15 to 80 Percent Charge in Less Than an Hour

The extended range model can be charged from 15 to 80 percent in 41 minutes using a 150kW DC fast charger, or simply add 87km of range in 10 minutes. Ford’s 80amp wall box charger, to be installed at home, will take 8 hours to charge from 15 to 100 percent. The EV system of the standard range model will take 10 hours to do the same.

Ford seems to have opted for a more widely accessible charging architecture, unlike new EVs from the likes of Hyundai and Audi which can support up to 350kW fast charging. Buyers can use the public charging infrastructure in the US and Canada with ease thanks to FordPass for access and payments.

Related: Hyundai Unveils Ioniq 5, The New Electric Crossover That Promises 100km From A 5-Minute Charge

It Can Power Your House, Tools, and Electronics

The fact that a modern EV can act as a giant battery bank for electronics has now been established but the F-150 Lightning takes it one step further. Ford is offering a feature called Intelligent Backup Power, which can be utilised with the Charge Station Pro installed at the owner’s home. This allows the pickup’s battery to power your house, in case of a power outage (often due to bad weather), and revert to charging itself once the main supply is restored. The top variant can offload up to 9.6kW from a fully charged battery and Ford estimates it could power your house for up to 3 days. 

The same power offloading function can also be used for more conventional purposes via the numerous power outlets in the pickup’s cargo bay and luggage area. From tools at work to appliances while camping, the F-150 Lightning can be the modern buyer’s power bank on wheels.

Updated Dash with a Large Central Display

Like any new EV, the F-150 Lightning gets a large central display. It’s the same vertically oriented 15.5-inch touchscreen unit that debuted on the Mustang Mach-E with integrated rotary dials towards the bottom end. Unlike previous Tesla screens, this one sits upright which Ford says is ideal for the cabin ergonomics of its pickup.

While the new central display has forced some dashboard design changes, the electric pickup has the same 12.0-inch digital instrument cluster as the standard F-150. However, it does get new EV-relevant graphics which make for a different experience.

Packs a Lot of Tech Including Hands-free Driving

The F-150 Lightning features Ford’s latest SYNC 4A infotainment system that offers wireless connectivity, connected car technology, and a modern interface suitable for the new 15.5-inch central display. The new system will also get over-the-air software updates from Ford to update existing features as well as offer new ones.

It also comes with Ford’s advanced driver tech in the Co-Pilot 360 suite, which includes hands-free driving via a feature called BlueCruise. This is only usable on certain highways in the US and Canada but will likely be offered in other markets once they allow the use of these autonomous driving systems.

Clever Range Calculating Systems

Most cars come with a range estimator that tells you how far it will go before it runs out of fuel, or in this case, electricity. This function is even more significant with EVs as owners have to plan ahead based on the charging infrastructure accessible to them. Ford claims it has worked diligently to ensure the most accurate readout range possible, that will actively update itself based on various driving conditions.

Since the F-150 Lightning has a weighing scale built into its cargo bay, it can show the exact weight of your cargo on the central display. The range calculating software will take into account that payload or any towing load to show the driver a more accurate figure. It will also revise this info on the on-board navigation system to update its route and likely charging stops based on the new range estimate.

It’s Got a Proper Boot… In the Front

The F-150 Lightning follows the same basic EV layout with its batteries under the floor and compact motors on both axles. This allowed Ford to convert the massive bonnet space that would usually house a large engine into a practical storage space with a 400-litre capacity. That’s more than the boot space of most sub-4m SUVs here in India. This is especially useful as a secure storage space since the pickup does not have a conventional boot. Ford calls this space the “mega power frunk”.

In its top spec, the frunk can be opened remotely too. It also gets four electrical outlets with a 2.4KW power supply for charging electronics or powering small tools. Its 181kg load capacity, wide opening, and accessible height means it could also be a place to chill.

Improved Driving Dynamics for the Road

The new EV layout that positions the heavy batteries low in the body and in between the axles, lowers the pickup’s centre of gravity, which should relatively improve its driving dynamics. Considering the tall stance of the F-150, such improvements are always welcome by drivers. It likely has improved rigidity as well thanks to the upgraded frame that uses even stronger steel than the standard pickup.

Another key factor that is responsible for the improved ride of the F-150 Lightning over the regular F-150 is the new independent rear suspension, instead of the solid axle. While common on most urban cars, it’s rare for body-on-frame vehicles that are intended for rugged use on and off road.

4x4 as Standard with a Rugged Construction

Since the Ford F-150 Lightning uses a dual-motor setup, one on each axle, it gets four-wheel drive as standard. It can also electronically lock the differential in its off-road driving mode. Unlike some 4WD vehicles that can switch between 2WD and 4WD, the electric pickup is always in 4WD mode.

Ensuring the EV version retains the “toughness” the model is known for, Ford has secured the battery pack housing in an exo-structure, further protected by impact absorption structures and metal skid plates.

Broad Spectrum Pricing

One of the reasons the Ford F-150 is one of the best selling pickups ever is that it is accessible to various buyers, for both personal and commercial use. The all-electric F-150 Lightning aims to follow the same path with prices starting from Rs 29.23 lakh (USD 39,974) and going all the way to Rs 65.82 lakh (USD 90,000) for the top-spec extended range version with all the tech options.

Ford states the F-150 Lightning will hit North American showrooms by the second quarter of 2022 and buyers can join the pre-order queue for just Rs 7,313 (USD 100). Of course, the F-150 Lightning is unlikely to come to India in the distant future.

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