The Ford F-150 Lightning is more than the usual. It deserves a really close look and a detailed evaluation. This will be one of several videos I do prior to posting the usual full-length review.
The truck arrived later than usual – because it took longer than usual to drive it to my place here in SW Virginia, which is about 240 miles away from the “press pool” in the DC area. As it happens, 240 miles is the touted range of the standard 2023 Lightning on a full charge (a slight increase over the 230 miles touted by the ’22 model). As it turned out, the driver had to stop twice along the way to get more range. Because it didn’t have enough juice to travel the touted 230 (240) miles on a full charge.
It arrived with 180 miles of indicated range remaining. We’ll see how far it actually goes – which I will report about in Part II, probably later today. My plan is to drive it into Roanoke, Va. – which is about 35 miles away – and back home again, a round trip of 70-ish miles. Which ought to be well within the remaining indicated range of 180 miles.
I am hoping I will not have to stop (and wait) along the way – for a “fast” charge – in order to be able to make it back home.
I took a look at the instruction book that came with the truck, where it counsels care about “fast” charging . . . if you care about the long-term health of the battery. Which is something you would probably care a great deal about, if you owned this truck – and wanted to avoid having to buy a new battery for as long as possible. “AC charging” – by which is meant trickle-charging on household 120-240V AC current – “is the preferred method as it preserves the health of the battery.”
“DC charging” – that is, “fast” charging – “allows you to charge your vehicle’s high-voltage battery in significantly less time” at a commercial “fast” charging station where very high DC voltage is available. That is what makes it possible to “fast” charge an EV.
Everyone knows that, because everyone has heard that. I think it’s significant that – to my knowledge – no automotive journalist has pointed out that it is preferable to not “fast” charge, assuming you wish to preserve the health of the battery. But that means a lot more waiting, as it takes at least several hours to recover even a partial charge using 120-240V AC household power. Which is the only kind of power available, by the way, at private residences.
This is ok if you’re home – and don’t need to leave anytime soon. But what if you aren’t – and do?
The conundrum thus appears to be:
Use the DC “fast” chargers available commercially (not residentially) so as to not have to wait for several hours – and so be able to use the vehicle to get where you need to be as opposed to where you’re stuck for awhile – and risk the “health” of the battery – or plan around the several hours’ wait for each 120-240V AC trickle-charge, in order to preserve the health of the battery.
Meanwhile, a gas-engined F1-50 could easily have made the 240 mile trip to my place without stopping and had at least that much range remaining. I could also “fast” fuel it – without any risk to the engine (or gas tank) in about five minutes, at the gas station just down the road from me.
I hope I am not coming off as unduly harsh on the Lightning. I intend to just state the facts – and let them speak for themselves.
Part II will encompass my first test-drive from here – my place in SW Virginia – to there (downtown Roanoke) and then (hopefully) back again.
If you don’t hear from me for awhile, you’ll know why!
Part II is here.
. . .
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