The Ford F150 Lightning Emerges to Challenge Tesla and Rivian

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Even though it hasn’t made it to market yet, the Tesla Cybertruck has claimed the limelight when it comes to electric trucks.  Lesser known but eagerly anticipated by those in the know,  the Rivian brand has been similarly analyzed by pundits.  However, while these two trucks have been widely touted, they aren’t here yet.  Into the fray, Ford has emerged with its own electric truck. The surprising thing is how affordable it is.  

Called the F-150 Lightning, it doesn’t look radically different from the current F-150.  The massive grille that gas or diesel trucks use isn’t needed here. So the nose is altered with what resembles a grille.  Across the top and down the sides of this grille-like feature, there’s a wide strip that lights up a bright LED white.  

Overall the design achieves the most aerodynamic shape of any Ford truck before it.  That adds a subtle difference that pickup truck enthusiasts would notice. Of course, there’s no gas tank. Instead there’s a place to plug in that is located by the driver’s door.  

If you lift the hood, instead of finding an engine, you’ll find a luggage compartment. Ford is calling this a MegaPower Frunk.  This feature alone turns a truck into a more useful vehicle for long trips, since now a traveler doesn’t have to worry about weather or security when it comes to luggage. 

The Lightning Can Work

If this electric truck had no capability, it would just be, well, a Prius.  Yet it has a 462-horsepower combined powertrain that generates 775 pound-feet of torque.  This makes the 2022 Ford F150 Lightning very quick.  It can run up to 250 miles between full charges.  That makes it useful for many work uses.

The ability to tow 7,700 pounds is impressive, given that the typical V6 pickup truck can handle about 6,500 pounds.  

The electric battery is underneath the cabin.  It weighs as much as 1,300 pounds, which could slow the truck down, but you have to remember that the truck doesn’t have a heavy engine.  In fact, this electric F-150 can claim much better weight distribution than its gas-powered siblings. The low center of gravity adds stability that makes the Lightning drive more like an SUV than a typical pickup truck. 

Apparently all an electric Ford truck needs is a single off-road mode to handle slippery or loose surfaces.  Ford has encased the battery in a metal case and surrounded it with crash absorbing material.  If you were to take it into the field or on a trail, steel skid plates are used for the entire length of the vehicle’s underbelly.

Kicking It Up a Notch

The thing is, those are all the basics.  There’s a more advanced battery pack for sale as well. That system increases the range to 300 miles, and it increases horsepower to a whopping 563.  This truck can run the 0-to-60 mph sprint in about 4.5 seconds.  

Ford reports that the key to the vehicle is its high torque rate harnessed at low speeds. This gives it an incredible push that overcomes its weight and lets it spring forward more like a sports car.  

See also: BMW Vision M Next | Speed, Price, Records, and Specifications (2021)

Here Come the Challengers

The build up to electric trucks has been slow, and that left an opening that Ford has exploited.  The brand obviously saw a value in getting into the marketplace ahead of the rest. It is the leader in light duty pickup sales, and it has to defend its territory if it wants to stay at the top.

Here’s some information about the timeline that challengers are on. Rivian began making its R1T model in September 2021. The original price is nearly twice that of the Ford Lightning. This makes it a more direct competitor with the faster electric powertrain.  Ford’s 300 mile range is surpassed by the R1T range of 318 miles.

Expected for 2022, the GMC brand is bringing out a Hummer electric truck, but this one will be even more costly than the Rivian.  The Hummer electric has been advertised as having 1,000 horsepower and an almost endless supply of torque. It looks more like a modern pickup truck, making it more like the Lightning when it comes to style. 

Tesla is taking orders for its Cybertruck, which may appear sometime in 2022. These trucks look like space age creations with angular noses.  They don’t shout about their athletic capability in the way that the typical pickup truck does.  At the single and dual-motor level, they seem to match the Ford in capability. Or is it the other way around? Since Tesla announced its intentions first.  

At any rate, the Tesla single motor powertrain with rear-wheel drive can pull 7,500 pounds.  The dual-motor variety pulls 10,000 pounds. Ford matches these figures with its two battery strengths.  Then Tesla has a tri-motor version that is said to pull 14,000 pounds. That would put it in league with the top Ford F150 diesels. 

Chevrolet and Ram recently announced that they are not too far behind. They have electric truck models slated for 2024.  

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