Ford F-150 Lightning: Electrified Bestseller


For decades, Ford's F-150 has topped the sales charts in the U.S. This pickup is as emblematic of the traditional American image as hamburgers, baseball, and country music—or high-displacement V8 engines. So, it came as a surprise to many when, in 2019, Ford announced an all-electric version of this best-seller. But even more surprising was the enthusiasm the F-150 Lightning, unveiled in May 2021, sparked among consumers. By December, Ford had already received over 200,000 orders. Deliveries started in May 2022. Let's take a closer look.

Ford F-150 Lightning Capable of towing up to 4,500 kilograms, the F-150 Lightning remains a versatile choice. Two battery sizes (98 kWh or 130 kWh) offer a range of up to 512 kilometers. Photo: Manufacturer

Ford F-150: 40 million vehicles sold in nearly 75 years

The long-standing success story of the Ford F-Series began in 1948 when the Detroit-based automaker introduced the first generation of this versatile model. From the get-go, only 6- and 8-cylinder engines powered these trucks—a fact that remained constant through 14 model generations until the debut of the F-150 Lightning. Since 1983, diesels have been available alongside gasoline engines. To date, more than 40 million units of the Ford F-Series have been sold. Since 1977, Ford has dominated the pickup segment in the U.S. with this model. And since 1981, it has been the best-selling vehicle in the U.S. every single year.

Mission: Making EVs mainstream

To ensure the enduring leadership of this pickup icon in an evolving market, Ford made a proactive move in 2019 by announcing its electric variant. They didn't want to leave the electric segment uncontested to challenger Tesla. Elon Musk, Tesla's CEO, announced the Tesla Cybertruck that same year, but its production start date has been postponed multiple times. Presently, experts anticipate its market debut no earlier than late 2023. While the futuristic-designed Cybertruck may not target traditional pickup buyers in the American Midwest, Ford aims precisely for this demographic with the F-150 Lightning—intending to make electric vehicles popular with the masses.

Acceleration akin to a sports car

To achieve this, Ford isn't skimping on power. There are two motor options: The base model delivers 452 horsepower, while the top variant boasts 580 horsepower, accelerating the three-ton pickup to 100 km/h in a staggering 4.5 seconds. Both variants are equipped with dual motors. With 1050 Nm of torque, the F-150 Lightning outshines all its combustion-engined counterparts. Its maximum towing capacity is around 4.5 tons.

Electricle Ford F-150 Visually, the all-electric F-150 Lightning closely mirrors its combustion engine counterparts. The Lightning can produce up to 580 horsepower and offers 1050 Nm of torque—more than any other production Ford. Photo: Manufacturer

Over 500 kilometers of range

But raw power and impressive acceleration alone won't sway staunch petrol enthusiasts. Here, Ford seeks to impress with a commendable range and efficient charging capabilities: The base model, equipped with a 98 kWh battery, offers a nominal range of 370 kilometers. It can recharge from 15% to 80% in just 44 minutes at a fast-charging station. The top model, with its 130 kWh battery, takes 41 minutes for the same charge and offers a maximum range of 512 kilometers. Both models use 400-volt technology and can charge at up to 150 kW. As a unique feature, Ford highlights that the F-150 Lightning can power a home for up to three days during an outage.

The Ford F-150 Lightning: A familiar sight

Visually, this electric pickup barely differs from its conventionally-powered Ford siblings—probably a strategy to not alienate traditional buyers at first glance. The F-150 Lightning measures 5.91 meters in length, 2 meters in height, and a broad 2.44 meters wide, including extended side mirrors. The four-door aluminum body rests on a steel frame. With a wheelbase of 3.70 meters, the five-seater offers ample interior space. The controls in the Lariat and Platinum trim levels are operated through a 15.5-inch vertical display in the center console or by voice command. Where the combustion engines would typically be, the F-150 Lightning has a 400-liter storage space.

Competitive starting price

Price remains a significant purchasing factor—and it seems to resonate with consumers, as the numerous pre-orders attest. The base version starts just under $40,000, with the top variant available from close to $91,000.