The Ford F-150 Lightning: What you need to know

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F-150 Lightning

For the past 39 years, the iconic Ford F-Series, including the F-150, has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States, selling just shy of a million cars in 2020. As automakers across the U.S. race to electrify their fleets, there's been one significant gap in announcements of new electric vehicles: what would happen with America's best-selling car? In May 2021, Ford ended that speculation, launching the new Ford F-150 Lightning.

While the Lightning won't be the first electric pick-up truck in the U.S., it may be the most important. It's not only a more robust, faster version of the trusted F-150, but by being completely electric, the F-150 Lighting comes with additional features that could attract new and former F-150 customers. In its first 48 hours of accepting reservations, Ford had almost 45,000 reservations; after a week, this number increased to 70,000. The truck officially goes on sale in 2022.

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Key takeaways

  • The F-150 Lightning is Ford's recently announced electric pick-up truck, and the base model is priced at just below $40,000

  • The Lightning can provide backup power to your home in case of a power outage

  • Commercial fleet Lightning Pro owners can use Ford's software for easy connectivity and tracking of their vehicles

  • Incentive and infrastructure availability are common concerns for new EV owners, but the Biden Administration's infrastructure plan should assuage those concerns

  • Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to install a solar system to power your F-150 Lightning

While many electric vehicles (EVs) come with a hefty price tag, the base model for the Lightning is actually cheaper than its closest gas-powered counterpart, which is the 2021 F-150 SuperCrew four-wheel drive, with a 5.5-foot bed. All Lightnings will come with an all-wheel drive and a crew cab (four doors). The vehicle also boasts 14.1 cubic feet of extra storage in its water-resistant front trunk (sometimes referred to as its "frunk"), which also includes an extra set of electrical outlets. The Lightning will be available in four different models, including (from base to most expensive): Pro, XLT, Lariat, and Platinum.

Below, we've included a table to quickly compare the Lightning Pro to its gas counterpart (with its standard 3.3-liter (L) V6 engine) and its hybrid counterpart, which includes the same specs as its gas counterpart, but with an upgraded 3.5L PowerBoost™ Full Hybrid V6 engine.

(Click to sort ascending)
Lightning Pro (with Standard Battery)
Cost (before delivery fees)$39,974*$40,160$44,655
Range230 miles**Up to 520 miles***Up to 624 miles***
Horsepower (watts)426 W290 W430 W
Torque (Newton meters)775 Nm265 Nm570 Nm
Included Pro Power Onboard (kilowatts)2.4 kWN/A2.4 kW

*Before EV incentives
**Recent reports suggest this is based on a vehicle carrying 1,000 pounds of cargo. The actual range may be higher. 
***Based on estimates from the U.S. Department of Energy.

During the infamous Texas blackouts in February 2021, Ford made the news by sending letters to its dealers in Texas to encourage them to use the F-150 hybrids for backup power. The hybrid F-150 comes with 2.4 kilowatts (kW) of Pro Power Onboard™, which vehicle owners can use as a mobile generator. Hybrid F-150s can also be upgraded to include 7.2 kW of Pro Power Onboard. Gas-powered F-150s can only be upgraded with 2.0 kW of Pro Power Onboard, and only three models are available for the upgrade: the 2.7L EcoBoost, the 5.0L V8, and the 3.5L EcoBoost.

Like the F-150 hybrid, all Lightning models come standard with 2.4 kW of Pro Power Onboard. However, Lightnings with the extended-range option can also be upgraded to include 9.6 kW of Pro Power Onboard, which Ford claims can fully power your home for three days or as long as ten days if you ration your power. Ford has not yet released how much it will cost to upgrade to the 9.6 kW system–we're also hoping to hear more from Ford about the battery's kilowatt-hour (kWh) capacity. If you're interested in the Lightning but are unsure if you want the extended-range battery, we've included a table below comparing the F-150 Lightning Pro's standard battery to its extended-range battery.

(Click to sort ascending)
Standard Battery
Extended-range Battery
Lightning Pro cost (before delivery fees)$39,974$49,974
Range230 miles300 miles
Horsepower (watts)426 W563 W
Torque (Newton meters)775 Nm775 Nm
Towing capacity (pounds)7,700 lbs*10,000 lbs*
Included Pro Power Onboard (kilowatts)2.4 kW2.4 kW
Eligible for 9.6 kW Pro Power Onboard upgrade?NoYes
Included charging station32-Amp Ford Mobile charger (14 hour charge time)80-Amp Ford Charge Station (8 hour charge time)

*with the optional Max Trailer Tow Package

What makes the F-150 Lightning stand out against other electric pick-up trucks is its connectivity for commercial fleets. The Lightning Pro will come with three years of complementary Ford E-Telematics software, which allows owners of the fleets to track the battery range, state of charge, and energy consumption of all of their vehicles. It also includes software to easily allow fleet owners to reimburse employees for home charging of their cars. If fleet owners upgrade their software to Ford Telematics™, they can also access other capabilities, including GPS tracking and maintenance alerts. While the Lightning Pro is primarily designed for commercial purposes, it's not limited to commercial buyers.

The Lightning could be a game-changer for the future of EVs. While it's not the first affordable electric pick-up truck (Tesla's base model Cybertruck is priced similarly), it is the first that could appeal to the masses. Leaning heavily on Ford's sales volume and reliability, the Lightning will likely attract a new base of EV customers that could normalize EVs for the U.S. The Lightning is also a significant step in Ford's transition to the EV market: shortly after its release of the Lightning, the company announced it would target 40 percent of its global sales to be EVs by 2030. Its plan to reach this target includes a $30 billion increase in EV investment through 2025.

However, as is often the case with other electric vehicles, the primary concerns with the F-150 Lightning stem from infrastructure and incentive uncertainty. Charging infrastructure is particularly an issue in rural areas of the United States, where F-150s are popular. If President Biden's infrastructure plan passes as is, it will include $174 Billion towards EV incentives and infrastructure, likely alleviating concerns.

Suppose you're considering the F-150 Lightning or have already paid your $100 refundable deposit. In that case, you may be looking for ways to lower your electricity costs to power your new EV when it becomes available in 2022. Visit the EnergySage Marketplace to compare quotes from local installers and find a solar system that meets your needs and your price. Remember in your profile that you need a system with enough capacity to charge your EV. If you're a renter or don't want a system on your property but still want the benefits of solar, visit our Community Solar Marketplace to check out if there are project openings near you.

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