Earlier this yr, Ford unveiled the F-150 Lightning.
It’s an all-electric model of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck, and it’s poised to reshape all the electrical car trade.
The Lightning is revolutionary not for what it’s, however what it isn’t. It’s not making an attempt to be something besides for a pickup truck. Ford representatives emphasised after they revealed the truck that it was an F-150 first and electrical second. Any F-150, even one with a plug and a bunch of batteries, first wanted to reside as much as the corporate’s “Constructed Ford Powerful” mantra.
It feels like a mere advertising and marketing slogan, however Ford’s truck designers and engineers see it as a mantra to reside as much as — one many years within the making. The F-150 Lightning received’t start transport till subsequent 2022, however when Ford requested if I wished to get a better have a look at one, I jumped on a flight to Detroit.
Getting inside Ford’s Dearborn Improvement Middle shouldn’t be simple. Previously referred to as the Dearborn Proving Floor and much more previously referred to as the Ford Airport (the airport was the primary within the U.S. to have concrete runways, scheduled passenger service, an airport lodge, and extra), Ford’s on-campus testing heart is very safe.
Car manufacturing is a cutthroat enterprise, and spying on improvement automobiles present process testing is frequent. Devoted automotive photographers will ply frequent testing areas on the lookout for camouflaged automobiles to snap pics. The necessity to engineer automobiles removed from prying eyes is why these personal improvement services are important for carmakers.
After passing by a number of safety checkpoints and climbing right into a van that exists solely to shuttle guests across the facility, I lastly make it to the interior sanctum and discover a preproduction F-150 Lightning. It’s my first probability to stand up shut with the truck, and, maybe unsurprisingly, my first response is that it appears an terrible lot like a Ford F-150 pickup truck.
That’s intentional. Ford already antagonized Mustang followers when it launched the Mustang Mach-E, which is electrical and, maybe worse, has 4 doorways. Truck patrons are a protecting and dependable group, and the corporate wished to construct a truck that was electrical but additionally did every little thing F-150 patrons anticipate and extra.
The “and extra” bit is what makes the Lightning so attention-grabbing: Top-of-the-line options is the flexibility to plug your Lightning right into a particular residential charging station that may fill the Lightning with power, however, when energy is misplaced, it will possibly additionally energy your whole dwelling for days. Another electrical automobiles enable homeowners to plug in a single or two units at a time, however nobody has gone as far as to juice up a complete dwelling.
I knew all that after I went in. I used to be right here to get a trip — Ford hasn’t let anybody exterior the corporate drive the F-150 Lightning aside from President Biden. His verdict? “This sucker’s fast!”
POTUS is correct. It’s lightning-fast, to excuse the pun. It jogs my memory of the primary time I rode in a efficiency Tesla Mannequin S greater than a half-decade in the past. It takes a second to your mind to regulate to one thing this huge is accelerating this rapidly.
The F-150 Lightning takes off like a rocket… silently.
By the hands of chief engineer Linda Zhang, the F-150 Lightning took off like a rocket… silently. With 573 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque, Ford says the Lightning can hit 0-60 MPH in lower than 4.5 seconds. I didn’t time it, but it surely feels about proper. Possibly even sooner. We acquired up above 90 MPH, after which Zhang knowledgeable me that 90 MPH was the velocity restrict on the take a look at observe, although it might get above 110 MPH when you pushed it.
After a number of runs across the banked turns of the little bit of the take a look at observe we might strive, it was again inside to see one other preproduction truck. I checked out the large entrance trunk (with 4 110-volt energy retailers inside to cost up all of your gear) and the 12-inch touchscreen that appears ripped from the Mustang Mach-E (or a Tesla).
The F-150 Lightning can tow 10,000 kilos, and the Ford engineers informed me that they labored onerous to make the mattress dimensions the identical as the interior combustion F-150. Nevertheless, it’s very totally different beneath, due to a brand new suspension and people huge battery packs. The purpose was to make aftermarket equipment like toolboxes and the like simple to swap between the vehicles.
It’ll take extra than a 10-minute ride-along, and a fast peek at a preproduction mannequin for me to declare the Ford F-150 Lightning a winner, however all of the items are there. Consumers suppose so too: Reuters says Ford has doubled the Lightning manufacturing goal due to robust demand forward of its launch subsequent yr, with the corporate aiming to construct greater than 80,000 items in 2024.
Ford has already proven it is aware of find out how to construct an superior EV with the Mustang Mach-E, and I’m actually excited to take the Lightning out for a spin. The corporate has taken its two largest names — Mustang and F-150 — and made them electrical. And maybe the most important shock concerning the Lightning is just that it’s so unsurprising.
Ford plans to start deliveries of the F-150 Lightning subsequent Spring.
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