When Tesla first announced the Cybertruck in November 2019, we thought that Elon Musk just delivered a strong blow to the established order of the North American pick-up truck class. While the concept car look wasn't for everyone, the performance potential of Tesla's electric pick-up had the world very interested.
The thing is, Tesla may have announced it too soon as deliveries will only start much later this year. That gave Ford enough time to catch up and make Tesla Cybertruck customers a moment of pause.
After a few teasers and a guest appearance at U.S. President Joe Biden's factory visit, the Ford Motor Company has just taken the digital covers off of the new Lightning; otherwise known as the pure electric version of the F-150.
The Dearborn-based automaker says that the new truck is the smartest and most innovative one they have ever designed. The first units will roll off their River Rouge complex (the same one used to build bombers during the war) in 2022.
“F-Series is America’s best-selling truck for 44 years, the backbone of work across the country, and a trusted icon for generations of customers,” said Bill Ford, executive chair of the Ford Motor Company. “Now we are revolutionizing it for a new generation.”
It's not hard to understand the importance of the F-150 Lightning for the company as the F-150 is the number one selling truck in the United States. Electrifying it is a shot across the bow of Tesla and any other automaker. They even used the great Lightning name for the truck which is apt given the powertrain and the performance.
All F-150 Lightning models will be four-door pick-up models (SuperCrew) with a high-strength steel frame and aluminum body. As with other F-150 models, the bed is 5.5 feet long (168cm long) and it has independent front and rear suspension. Ground clearance is 226 mm (8.9 inches). There will be three grade options: XLT, Lariat, and Platinum.
At the heart of the F-150 Lightning is a powerful dual-motor (front and rear) electric drive system; that means all Lightning variants are all-wheel drive. There will be two battery options with either Standard Range and Extended Range and will have varying power and torque figures. The Standard Range Lightning will have 432 PS (426 hp) while the Extended Range will have 571 PS (563 hp).
Torque will be the important thing especially since this is a truck. Torque for both models will be at 771 foot-pounds or 1,045 Newton meters. To put that in perspective, a typical turbodiesel pick-up truck in our market will have around 400 to 500 Newton meters of torque. And given that the Lightning is electric, that means max torque will likely be available from the moment the motor starts turning.
According to Ford, the performance of the F-150 Lightning will be impressive. They are aiming for a mid-4 second acceleration time from 0-60 mph (0 - 97 km/h). The Standard Range model will have the ability to carry 2000 pounds (907 kg) while the Extended Range model will have an 1800 pound capacity (816 kg); we think that the Extended model has a lower payload because of the extra battery weight. The Standard can pull up a 7,700 pounds (3493 kg) trailer, while the Extended can handle up to 10,000 pounds (4536 kg).
Ford says Standard models will have a range of 370 kilometers (230 miles) while the Extended models will have a range of 483 kilometers (300 miles). If hooked up to a Level 3 charging port (150 kilowatts), the F-150 Lightning can achieve an 80% charge from a 15% starting point in 41 to 44 minutes. A 10-minute “splash and dash” type charge can give the Lightning an extra 66-87 kilometers (41-54 miles) of range, depending on the variant.
The Lightning will have a variety of advanced and premium features such as SYNC 4 or 4A, Apple Carplay, Android Auto, Co-Pilot 360 advanced safety, an option for Bang & Olufsen audio (up to 18 speakers), and more. And being an electric truck, the Lightning will have the ability to transfer electric power back to a home if need be.
So yes, Ford is going to give the Cybertruck a run for its money, as the Lightning's prices are quite similar to the Tesla at just under USD 40,000. Now the F-150 isn't a truck that is normally offered outside of North America, but Ford Philippines did relaunch the nameplate recently, even though the model is technically the previous generation.
Does that mean there's a possibility we'll see the new generation F-150 and possibly the Lightning in local showrooms? Let's see how things shakeup in the near future, particularly with charging infrastructure, import duties, and production capacities.