The Electric Truck For Everyone
The Ford F-150 was the best-selling vehicle in America last year – again, for the 41st consecutive time. So when Ford released the Lightning, the company knew that its first electric pickup didn’t need to stray far from the same basic formula that’s worked for more than four decades.
The Lightning has an understated but appealing design, just like its gas counterpart, and a familiar yet upscale cabin. It still has all the capabilities you want off a normal F-150, like impressive towing and hauling, but with zero emissions. Really, the only complaint you can lob against the F-150 Lightning is that it doesn’t have the same flash as some of the alternatives. Sure, the GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T can do all sorts of neat things, but when you just need a truck, the Lightning nails the fundamentals.
Brandon Turkus, Managing Editor
Favorite Thing: Progress In Action
Least Favorite Thing: For Crying Out Loud, Just Do What I Tell You
I received a Ford F-150 Lightning about two weeks after we crowned it Motor1.com’s Best Truck and InsideEVs’ Best EV, mainly because I was so impressed during testing that I wanted a week with it all to myself. To my surprise, the very good Lightning was a little better when it arrived, boasting an updated version of the Sync 4A infotainment system.
Automakers do a great deal of crowing about the potential of over-the-air updates, but finally seeing it in person is something different entirely. The changes to Sync 4A were not earth shattering. In fact, so far as I can tell, they were mostly minor, with menus and options laid out in different locations. But still, it’s good to see a modern vehicle get updates like a smartphone’s operating system.
The downside is that Ford didn’t update the convoluted system for programming preconditioning and charging. My week with the Lightning, just prior to Christmas, was among the coldest of the season in Michigan and while I instructed the truck to warm itself at H Hour, D Day while on my Grizzl-E Classic charger, it never did the deed. Fortunately, thanks to the charger, maximizing range via preconditioning wasn’t a major priority. My ass, however, still hasn’t thawed out from those freezing-cold leather chairs.
Jeff Perez, Senior Editor
- Favorite Thing: It’s Just A Truck
- Least Favorite Thing: It’s Just A Truck
Unless you really have a keen eye, the Lightning looks like any other gas-powered F-150. The design is totally inconspicuous compared to some of the other “edgy” electric trucks out there, and I prefer my styling on the anonymous side. The GMC Hummer EV and the Tesla Cybertruck are spaceships by comparison.
On the one hand, I love how “normal” the Lightning is. Beyond its basic-but-likable styling, the cabin and drive experience feel akin to a traditional F-150. The ride is comfortable, the handling is decent enough for a full-sizer (aided by the Lightning-exclusive independent rear suspension), and the cabin has all the same very good tech and features you’ll find throughout the rest of the Ford range.
Towing and hauling are even on par (on paper). The Lighting can tug up to 10,000 pounds when equipped with the $865 Max Trailer Package and the payload can hold just over 2,000 pounds. Even clever features like the fold-down shifter and fold-up workbench carry over from the gas model.
My list of issues with this truck is basically one, and it’s a minor one: The Lightning might be too normal. Rumors of a hot-pot version have me excited about what the F-150 Lightning could be in the future, but for now, it feels less like a toy and more like a very good tool. Granted, that’s what Ford was going for, but a little bit of life injected into this truck would do it some good; give it 700 horsepower and a boost button, you cowards.