The F-150 Lightning is one of the stars of Ford’s drive to electrification.
And the battery-electric fullsize pickup shows it’s worthy of the ballyhoo by being named a Wards 10 Best Engines & Propulsion Systems winner for 2022.
The Lightning with 131-kWh extended-range battery impressed us with 580 horsepower – and wowed us with a breathtaking 775 lb.-ft. (1,051 Nm) of torque.
We tested the extended-range model with a 131-kWh battery, providing 320 miles (515 km) of range. The standard, 98-kWh battery is rated at 230 miles (370 km) of range.
Two inboard three-phase fixed-magnet AC electric motors, one at the front and one at the rear, send power to all four wheels at all times. The extended-range model’s extra horsepower comes from having more battery cells.
All that horsepower and torque are more than remarkable; they’re practical, too. The towing package in the $80,000 Lightning we tested allows it to tow up to 10,000 lbs. (4,540 kg) and haul 2,235 lbs. (1,014 kg) with the extended-range battery
The same battery that creates all that towing muscle can be used to power a household during a blackout with the equivalent of 10 standard car batteries; supply juice to a job site or remote campsite; or even jump-start a BEV whose own battery is depleted.
As judge Bob Gritzinger notes: “For anyone who can afford to have a truck for short-range use and can charge overnight, the Lightning is the perfect tool for the job. Construction workers will be key buyers, which is why Ford made a point of making a bare-bones commercial version.”
Ford is helping Lightning and other BEV owners find available charging outlets along their routes through the FordPass Power My Trip mapping system. Its Intelligent Range function factors in everything from driving behavior, climate control use, traffic speed, outside temperature and routing to recommend charging options along the way. When towing, the system also uses trailer weight to locate charge points.
The Ford BlueOval Charge Network provides more than 20,500 charging locations and more than 70,000 outlets, including 7,300 DC fast chargers. At the 150-kW rate available through Electrify America DC chargers, the Lightning can fill up from 15% to 80% charged in 41 minutes, Ford says.
We observed that Ford has done with the F-150 Lightning what it did with the Mustang Mach-E: put forward-looking electrified technology underneath familiar-looking sheet metal. The 6,590-lb. (3,000-kg) Lightning does get a new frame to support the battery but also shares some body panels with its ICE sibling.
As judge Drew Winter enthuses: “The power and acceleration are far beyond anything a pickup owner has previously experienced…Ford did a great job making this vehicle feel familiar and normal.”
Judge Dave Zoia calls the Lightning “groundbreaking, and sets the bar for others in the segment to beat.”