The Ford Motor Company has nibbled around the edges of the EV world recently with an all-electric pickup truck, trying to change the meaning of truck power with a system that can provide energy to customer’s homes in the event of an outage. This first electric pickup truck by Ford is labelled as Ford F-150 lightning , resembling closely to its siblings from the F-series. This unique announcement by Ford is aimed squarely at Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck. F-150 being the best-selling truck by Ford for the past 4 decades, provides enough build up for their brand new F-150 Lightning.
Lightning stays true to the F-150 signature look but uses a more flush aerodynamic design to reduce drag. It looks distinct, but clearly an F-150 with evident traces of the Mustang Mach-E as well. According to Ford, it did not try to fix what was not broken. Jasen Turnbull, marketing manager for Ford F-150 Lightning, said, “Anything that we did, we maintained that goal of, ‘It needs to be a truck first, and then we are using electrification to amplify the drive experience and capabilities.
One of the unique features in the Ford F-150 Lightning is the boot space under the hood due to the absence of an internal combustion engine. It opens up around 400 litres of space for luggage, besides other conventional storage areas around the vehicle.
The F-150 Lightning will come with dual electric motors, one on each axle, and will achieve 563 horsepower and a staggering 1050 Nm of peak torque, making it the most powerful F-150 available. In terms of acceleration, the F-150 Lightning can go from 0 to 100 kilometres per hour in just 4 seconds.
The electric pickup truck from Ford will only be available as a five-passenger, four-door SuperCrew cab with a foot bed. It has a total payload capacity of a total of 907 kilograms. It is 181 kilograms more as the empty engine compartment can now be used as additional storage. It also has a towing capacity of 4535 kilograms.
Two lithium-ion liquid-cooled battery packs will be offered. One with a standard range of 370 kilometres estimated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and another one with an extended range of 483 kilometres. Using a DC fast charger, the respective 15% – 80% charge times are 44 and 41 minutes. Using a level 2 charger, they will go from 15% – 100% in 10 hours and 13 hours, respectively. The batteries can be charged up with a 150 kW fast charger.
The conventional F-150 offers a 2 kilowatt system, while the hybrid F-150 Power Boost bumps that up to 2.4 kilowatts or, optionally, 7.2 kilowatts. The F-150 Lightning can deliver up to 9.6 kilowatts of power as a combination of up to 2.4 kilowatts from outlets in the trunk and 7.2 kilowatts from the cab and bed. That capability comes standard on Lariat and Platinum variants by Ford, and is an option on the XLT (Extra Luxurious Truck).
By pairing the F-150 Lightning with the necessary V2H (Vehicle To Home) gear, the pickup truck could detect automatically if your house loses electric power and will help to power-up homes and replace or reduce the use of fossil-fuelled generators. The F-150 could backup these homes comfortably for up to 3 days, or much longer if they use energy more efficiently. Charging the vehicle overnight at home when the demand is much lower would help shift some of that load for usage during the peak times when there is load-shedding.
Inside, there’s a 12-inch digital instrument panel and a vast 15.5-inch infotainment touchscreen, both lifted more or less directly from the Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV. The front seat turns into a work space since the gear shifter folds flat. The seats in the top-end Platinum model also recline 180-degrees, so you can nap while the truck recharges.
BlueCruise, Ford’s hands-free driver assistance system, is available with a front-facing camera to make sure the driver is still paying attention while the car takes over.
The hands-free capability uses cameras, radar sensors and software to provide a combination of adaptive cruise control, lane centering and speed-sign recognition.The system also has an in-cabin camera that monitors eye gaze and head position to help ensure the driver’s eyes remain on the road. To use BlueCruise, the driver activates the technology. If conditions are right, the system will take complete control of the vehicle, allowing the driver to let go of the steering wheel. BlueCruise uses adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go, lane-centering assistance, and speed sign recognition systems to handle all acceleration, braking, and steering tasks within the intended lane of travel.
The F-150 Lightning is also featured with Phone As A Key, which allows owners to use their smartphone to lock, unlock, and start the truck without taking their phone out of their pocket or using a key fob. With the over-the-air (OTA) Ford Power-Up software updates, these features will be upgraded and updated to add all new functions and capabilities.
Military grade aluminum alloy body, a new independent rear suspension, and an all new frame using the strongest steel ever put into an F-150 frame makes this extravagant pickup much more refined. Rugged underbody cladding protects the battery, with metal skid plates shielding both the battery and inboard motors from tough terrain. The battery itself is secured inside a waterproof casing surrounded by crash-absorption protection and has been tested at temperatures as extreme as minus 40 degrees Celsius.
Ford is expected to start its production for F-150 Lightning by the mid 2022s with a starting price of around ₹29 lakhs for the standard option and ₹39 lakhs for the midrange option.
“For Ford and the American auto industry alike, the F-150 Lightning represents a watershed moment as we move toward a zero-emission digitally connected future,” said Bill Ford, CEO of Ford Motor Company.