Lightning is Coming . . .

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Ford is sending me an F-150 Lightning (the electric version of the F-150 half-ton pick-up)  to test-drive this week. It should be an interesting week, for once!

How far will it actually go – as opposed to how far Ford says it can go? How much will the cold weather we’re having (and use of accessories, such as the heater) affect how far it goes? How about driving up grades?

How far doesn’t it go with a trailer attached to the back?

There is also the matter of real-world (as opposed to “fast”)  charging. Meaning that in the real world, many people do not have the time or the desire to drive to a “fast” charger in order to recharge. They want to be home. But you cannot “fast” charge an EV at home – at least, not unless you have had your home’s wiring upgraded to commercial capacity and have installed all the necessary equipment (this costs in the neighborhood of $30,000) and the local infrastructure can support that kind of load. So, that means plugging in to either a 240v dryer-stove type outlet and waiting about nine hours . . . or plugging in to a standard 120v outlet and waiting overnight.

What will that be like?

Ford says the standard Lightning Pro will go about 240 miles before it needs to be recharged. For me, that would mean about three days of driving, based on my usual daily round-trip of about 70 miles “down the mountain” and back up again. Will I get three days out of it? If not, how often will the Lightning be plugged into my 240v outlet – and for how long?

Most of the reviews I’ve seen so far do not answer these questions – so I will try to.

If any of you have any questions about the Lightning you’d like to ask me to try to answer, please submit them in the comments boxes that follow!





  1. Was at a Ford dealership a few months past in Show Low, AZ, my explorer needed some maintenance. Walked the parking lot and spotted a $93,000* Ford Lightning truck. What a beast, but useless for hauling and distance traveling as noted by the salesperson. No mechanic on the premises that could do any repairs. No available battery for the lightning and limited chargers in the area. The best part the salesperson told me is like that of owning a boat, and that is, in selling it to another guppie.

  2. I would like to see a towing test if you have a way to do it. I read an article a while back that said the Lightning was pretty great until they tried to tow a car on a trailer, and then the range decreased to about a third. I think it was an open trailer, so maybe 5000 to 6000 pounds of towing weight. My last truck was a 2007 F150, and it pulled my car and trailer effortlessly. You could barely tell it was there. The gas mileage with the towing load went down, so there was a range penalty, but it was nowhere near two thirds (I would estimate around 25 to 30 percent). My trailer was aluminum, so the towing weight was around 4500 pounds.

    • Kim, just saw that and came here wondering if Eric had seen – it’s crazy – it basically becomes a city car for the school run, which is way too big for the city !

      What was also interesting in the video was what he pointed out about the hummer and its gigantic battery – it costs over 100 dollars to charge (not counting time wasted) making it more expensive to fill than the H2 !!! Guess it’s the sign of the reality of things too come !!

  3. I’m kinda interested in the “contractor” angle they were selling as using the ‘truck’s’ battery to run power tools.

    I have a feeling that one could not use this vehicle to drive 1 hour each way to a job site and have a trip to the closest hardware store and back and have all the power needed to run intermittent power tools for a day’s use to make for a full work day without a charge somewhere in between.

  4. Didn’t you say there was a charging station being installed near the woods? If it is active maybe try it out and give us a report of that too.

    Also very interested in seeing how tempature affects charging time. Most lithium cells want to charge above 50º F and below 95º. DK what the weather is like in your area but I know western VA gets snow, so probably chilly at night this time of year.

  5. Take a day trip. Since the biggest hesitation driver is range, this would provide a good measure of the planning & challenges it takes for a trip that exceeds the total range for a 1 day venture.

    Other than that (if you have it long enough) how does it perform as a replacement for a daily driver.

    Hope you don’t have any power outages, though that would provide a good lesson too.

  6. Call your home insurer and inform the insurance agent that you’ll be using a 240 volt charging outlet to re-charge the battery in a Ford electric vehicle.

    Ford has to be liable if the Lightning self-immolates, lightning does strike at a million volts. Thermal runaway instantaneously.

    Drive until it is 50 percent, turn around and head back home, hope you make it.

    Go to a mechanic’s shop, lift it up with one of those floor lifts for cars, suspend it, push start, let ‘er rip in a stationary position at 100 kph, start a time clock, when the Ford Fake 150 stops, that’s how far it will go.

    The odometer can be compared to a smartphone receiving the telemetry. Deduct a percentage for road resistance.

    No risk of becoming a potential crispy critter.

  7. I’m curious, how accurate is the remaining charge gauge? Will it tell you what you want to know or the truth? Will it tell you how much charge is remaining or surprise you and leave you stranded? I’m not educated enough to know how to gauge that with external devices.

  8. If you take it for a three or four hour cruise through the woods, up and down hills, in the cold, I wonder how hard it is to push to the side of the road if it ‘Died Suddenly.’ Still waiting for the 2.0 version with standard flux capacitor.

    Chevy claims, in their commercials to have a truck with 400 mile range. Which is still less than my dodge on a full tank of gas.

    • And that Dodge, like MOST full-sized pickups, can have those “Saddlebag” gas tanks, which give the vehicle quite a bit of RANGE. If you have a diesel, your mileage will be considerably more on the highway…so with, say, 100 gallons on board, you could probably go 1,800 to 2,000 miles, save that you’re pulling a larger trailer or have a huge camper.

    • Cumulative F-150 Lightning sales:

      ‘Ford reported selling 2,062 units in November of the all-electric F-150 Lightning, which was one of the first battery-electric pickups to launch in the U.S. earlier this year and so far is the best-selling with a total of 13,258 sales.’

      For perspective, Ford sells hundreds of thousands of gasoline-powered F-150s every year.

      One pitiful news story asserts that Ford has delivered at least one F-150 Lightning to every state. Wow. Just wow.

      Well, I was movin’ down the road
      In my EeeVee Ford
      I had a shine on my boots
      I had my sideburns lowered
      With my New York brim
      And my gold tooth displayed
      Nobody give me trouble
      Because they know I got it made

      I’m bad, I’m nationwide
      Well, I’m bad, bad, bad
      Bad, bad, I’m nationwide, yeah, yeah

      — ZZ Top, I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide

  9. How much power and for how long can the truck realistically supply to typical power tools used by a tradesperson working on a remote job site? Are there any kinds of configurable warning systems in the truck to alert the owner if the battery drops to dangerously low level while drawing power from the battery for the tools?

  10. Looks like your last review of a conventional F-150 was in January 2021.

    My question is whether the F-150 Lightning will ever break out of its current ~4 percent share of all F-150s sold.

    A virtual side-by-side comparison of the IC-engined and EeeVee versions of the same truck might shed some light on this issue.

  11. Eric,

    Very interesting, indeed! How will the Lightning stand up to a critical driver, not in the clutches of the regime?!

    I’ll get the popcorn ready.

    I can’t think of a question you likely won’t answer already.

  12. Hi Eric,
    Any way you could figure out how much it costs you to charge that beast at home? By comparing your last month’s electric bill to the one for the month when you had the truck should give a rough idea. Inquiring minds want to know 😆.

    • Hi Mike,

      That’s a tough one. It is hard to separate out a single device. But if my next power bill is up by “x” it will almost certainly be due to the EV and I will report the spike, if any!

      • Eric,

        Read your electric meter prior and after. It will be off a bit due to whatever else is running in your house, but will give you a feel for consumption during charging. Watch that meter really take off when you start charging!

        Too bad it’s not below zero around you as I am interested to see how the range drops with the heater running (and A/C).

        I will keep my F150 with the 302


    • Hi Mike,

      Well, I am fair. I don’t just slam a vehicle because I don’t like it. Who cares whether I like it? What matters are the facts, which determine whether you like it!

      • Mike: I’m surprised they offered to let you review it.

        Eric: Well, I am fair.

        Horst: Like Mike said, I’m surprised they offered to let you review it.

    • Hi Hans,

      We were just talking about that! The base model has an advertised range of 240 miles (2023). The press pool is almost exactly that far away from where I live. So, the truck could – in theory – just barely make it here on its own. But I expect they will have to stop along the way to “fast” charge it. And it may be half-discharged by the time they get here. Or, they may just flatbed a fully charged test vehicle here. So that I can drive it rather than wait for it.

      • It will be interesting to see how they present it to you. I am guessing they already know you are critical of electric (and other things that don’t really work well)vehicles.

        If they don’t care, they will drive out the truck and it will be largely useless until you charge it. I would think the full charge would likely be longer than one night of charging on household power. So you would likely have a paperweight for the first 24 or so hours. And you will not sugar coat that annoyance. And you shouldn’t.

        If they do care about the presentation to you, they will flatbed it to you with a full charge so you can use it right away. Of course you will make fun of them for flat bedding it, so in some ways they are in a rock and and hard place. But that is the point isn’t it? Many pickup truck buyers are rural, so if electric doesn’t work for out in the country, it just doesn’t.

        It will be nice to see a review that doesn’t gush over it. I am so sick of the cheerleading for electric from the so called car media. If anything they should be the ones most critical about it. But they aren’t except largely for you! Kind of surprised they are sending it in the cold.

        Looking forward to it. Hope it doesn’t strand you somewhere.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here