I managed to get a full charge into the F-150 Lightning . . . by charging it overnight, at home. I could have done this at the “fast” charger I’ve been visiting regularly, but I didn’t have the time.
The last time I went there, I got 100 miles of charge after waiting about an hour and 15 minutes, which is a long time to wait in a strip mall parking lot. We plugged in and went shopping at the supermarket, got something to eat, came back to the truck – and sat in it, eating, while it charged. Luckily, the Lightning is a nice truck – with plenty of room to spread out for a long wait.
One could easily take a nap in the back, listening to the excellent B&O stereo.
But doing this every day – or even once a week?
Yesterday, I drove my truck down the mountain (while the Lightning was plugged in at home, trickle-charging) because I needed to get the Lightning up to full charge before testing it with a trailer attached and I didn’t have time to do that at the “fast” charger – and even if I did, it would no longer be fully charged by the time I drove it back up the mountain and home.
At which point it would be necessary to wait . . . again.
I glanced at my truck’s fuel gauge just once. Having seen it – and knowing I had about half a tank – I didn’t need to think about it at all after that. I knew I had enough range to make it down the mountain and back, irrespective of the day’s temperature or my use of accessories, such as the heater. I knew I could stop and get gas in minutes, too, if I needed to drive farther than I had planned to.
I was able to just drive – and think about other things.
Like how long it would take the Lightning to fully charge at home, where I had the time to wait for it.
As it turned out, I was able to put about 100 miles of range into the Lightning’s battery pack (more about this in a minute) using the supplied-by-Ford home charger apparatus and 120V household current. As I related in a prior report, I discovered the apparatus must be directly plugged in to a 120V outlet. The apparatus will not permit use of a standard extension cord, which isn’t heavy-gauge enough (apparently) to safely use the home-charge apparatus.
This can be a problem if your outlet is out of reach of the apparatus.
It was, for me – because my garage was full and I couldn’t get the Lightning close enough to bridge the gap between the plug-in port on the driver’s side of the truck and the outlet inside the garage. I ended up snugging the truck up as close to my work shed as I could and that was close enough to allow me to plug the truck in, there.
If you do not have a shed. Or a garage – with electrical outlets – or are unable to park close enough to wherever your electric outlets are – you may not be able to charge, at home.
At least, not without buying a longer, heavier-gauge cable. These aren’t inexpensive.
Charging at home on 220V is another consideration in that most homes do not have a 220V outlet in the garage. If not, you will probably need to pay an electrician to wire one up for you.
You will need one of these “Level 2” outlets to plug into, if you do not have overnight to wait for a full charge. Which is how long it took me to do using 120V “Level 1” charging. The good news there is it can be done in 120V – which every house has, ready to go. The bad news is it takes . . . overnight.
But at least I was waiting at home rather than at the “fast” charger,” far from home.
These, apparently, also vary in terms of how “fast” they charge – as I have discovered. Some may be able to put a substantial charge into an electric vehicle in the 30 minutes (or even 15) you sometimes hear about. But some take considerably longer to put not that-much-charge back into your vehicle.
This adds an additional planning element to your driving, if you plan on driving in an unfamiliar area. The “fast” charger you roll up to may not be as “fast” as expected. And thus, your wait may be a lot longer than expected, too. Bearing in mind you may not have time to wait.
Be advised, also, about the opacity of what all this costs.
The EVgo “fast” chargers I used told me how long I was plugged in and how much electricity had been pumped in. They did not tell me how much my credit card was charged for what was pumped in. The box wanted me to download an “app” – which would probably allow me to find out the cost of what I just bought. But I prefer being able to see what things cost before I buy them.
The same goes for at home. I have no idea what it cost me to plug in the Lightning overnight. I suppose I will find out – but not precisely – when my next electric bill arrives. It will have gone up, almost certainly. But how much of that is due to plugging in the Lightning vs. turning on the heat pump?
Cost opacity is a real thing with EVs.
We will see about towing, later today – hopefully. I wasn’t able to do that yesterday as I had planned, even though the Lightning was fully charged and ready – because extreme fog rolled in the night before and visibility was reduced to maybe ten yards ahead when on the road. Not good weather for towing using someone else’s truck – and besides, I wanted to do this tow test at normal road speeds, not crawling along at 25-30 MPH on account of the fog.
To read about the tow test, click here!
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