Ford shows drive with electric version of bestselling truck

By Steve Sturgess19 July 2021

Plugging into the bi-directional charging in the US, the F-150 Lightning Pro is Ford’s inaugural all-electric F-Series truck that is steered towards commercial customers.

Ford has made it harder for the battery electric pickup startups to get off the ground with the launch of the all-electric F-150 Lightning Pro. Since its May 2021 debut there have been reservations off the charts for one of the most complete battery electric vehicle and software package that appears to check all the boxes.

The F-150 Lightning Pro highlights include two available range options of a standard, available for retail and commercial customers at just under US$40,000, and an available extended range that is available only for commercial customers regardless of fleet size.

Ford F-150 Lightning The Ford F-150 Lightning is engineered to be both cost-effective and practical.

The available extended range option starts at just under US$50,000 that includes the 80 amp Ford Charge Station Pro that delivers fast overnight charging, ideal for drivers or small businesses who take their vehicles home at night.

No frills commercial user benefits include vinyl seats and standard full-size spare tire, quite the reverse direction from the over-spec’d luxe pickups that have propelled the prices of these full-size trucks to astronomic sticker prices that Mercedes-Benz would be embarrassed to put on its cars.

But the really sweet news is the seamless integration to Ford EV Telematics dashboard active, as it is called.

Vehicle data is shared seamlessly over the cloud so fleet managers can track vehicle health, status and range, log and pay for public charging events centrally, reimburse employees for home charging, remotely pre-condition the cabin while plugged in and generate alerts and reports for terminal managers. This, more than anything, gives Ford a leg up on the Rivians, Workhorse/Lordstown and the super-wedge Tesla pickups.

Excitement over affordable electrified future
The always-on 4x4 F-150 Lightning Pro with the standard range battery targets an EPA estimated 230-mile range and includes a complimentary 32 amp Ford Mobile Charger, making the battery-electric transition affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses. 

Targeted to generate 426 hp and 775 lb.ft. of torque with its standard lithium-ion battery pack, the base truck has a 2000lbs maximum payload capacity and up to 5000lbs of towing capability, with up to 7700 lb. with the optional Max Trailer Tow package.

Where more power, towing and range are needed, there will be an extended-range version with EPA estimated 300-mile range. This version offers customers a 563 hp  4x4 powertrain, while torque remains 775 lb.ft. It includes an 80 amp Ford Charge Station Pro. Equipped with the optional Max Trailer Tow Package,  maximum towing capability increases to 10,000 lb.

Front and center is the Mega Power Frunk (front trunk) on this electric F-Series pickup. Under the hood, where an internal combustion engine used to be, is a spacious, high-tech cargo area complete with four 120V ac ProPower Onboard electrical outlets and two USB ports.

Steve Sturgess California-based Steve Sturgess is an independent trucking writer and consultant.

It also incorporates a large watertight space strong enough to store 400 lb. of cement bags. This well-lit space can be locked, unlocked and accessed from either the remote key fob, an exterior button or from inside the vehicle. A one-way drain makes cleaning easy.

To help gauge potential purchase and operating cost savings, Ford commercial customers have exclusive access to a new Ford digital fleet planning tool that calculates a variety of factors including purchase and lease costs, federal and regional tax incentives, and regional fuel and energy costs. 

The F-150 Lightning Pro targets reducing scheduled maintenance costs by 40% over eight years and 100,000 miles, with potential for further operational cost savings through lower fuel cost.

Charging capabilities offer more energy independence
The Lightning will be one of the first electric vehicles to take advantage of bi-directional charging in the US market, in a form Americans will appreciate. It will give them just a bit more energy independence, and with a solar option it could help get them in emergencies with enough for full home power for about three days (or partial power for up to 10 days). 

The system will also be put to use in the future with a Ford Intelligent Power feature, which automatically allows home power to come from the truck during peak times and charges the truck when energy is cheap.

Continuing the electric theme, Ford has also introduced the Maverick, a smaller-than-Ranger with a hybrid drivetrain as standard. At under US$20,000, it will be the cheapest hybrid available in America.

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This story first appeared in the July issue of Diesel Progress. For a free subscription, click here.

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