It's electric

The Ford F-150 Lightning could change how you look at electric trucks

The Model T of EVs?

When you think about what people expect from a Ford F-150 pickup, a few things probably come to mind: power, capacity, toughness.

Near the bottom of the list, you might find fuel efficiency.

That’s what makes Ford’s new F-150 Lightning such a surprising turn for the truck-maker, and why it may change the conversation around electric vehicles.

Rather than asking buyers to compromise anything for their electric truck, Ford is pushing to make the Lightning everything you’d expect from an F-150 and then some.

“If they’re not moving the game forward, we’re not doing it.”

Ford's general manager for battery electric vehicles, Darren Palmer.

Ford is also aiming for a wide audience of both pickup drivers looking for their first EV and electric converts who’ve been waiting for a truck.

Features like the F-150 Lightning’s range estimate seem tailored to existing EV drivers sick of the anxiety around running out of juice before they hit a charging station.

The Lighting will track drivers’ habits — from speed to how much they crank the AC — to deliver energy use profiles. It will even collect data in the cloud to improve estimates across the board.

F-150 drivers will be happy to know the Lightning has a weight and towing capacity on par with Ford’s 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 engine.

Then there are features that separate the F-150 Lighting from every other truck out there.

Rather than anything as predictable as an engine, the F-150 Lightning has a water-resistant storage space big enough for two golf bags under the hood.

It’s also got USB and 110-volt power plugs, which, as Palmer tells Inverse, makes it “the best tailgating truck ever made.

If you’re not keen on making parking lot margaritas, the F-150 Lightning’s battery can power an entire house for days.

That could be a lifesaver in areas with regular power disruptions, or after a storm knocks down a power line.

With the consumer-focused XLT model starting at $52,974, the F-150 Lightning won’t win on price alone.

The hype for electric trucks is real among EV enthusiasts, but whether that translates to the broader market is still a mystery.

For the Lightning to really strike, Ford will have to overcome the notion that EVs are inherently less “tough” than gas guzzlers.

The F-150 Lightning debuts in spring 2022, when we’ll see if there’s a future for trucks that are “Built Ford Smart.”

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