The F-Series is the perennial hottest car on the planet. Last yr, Ford bought greater than 725,000 of the issues, and that is regardless of supply-chain points and every little thing else occurring on the planet. That reality — the sheer significance of this truck’s success to Ford’s backside line — made final May’s announcement that the corporate would construct an electrical F-150 all of the extra vital. The F-150 Lightning had all of the potential on the planet to be a real mass-market game-changer. Now, lower than a yr later, the F-150 Lightning is absolutely in manufacturing, and a game-changer it’s certainly.Ford invited me right down to San Antonio, Texas to drive its electrical F-150, an appropriate place to again up the important thing factor the corporate needs to strengthen with the Lightning: It’s only a truck. A extremely good, actually helpful, actually fast truck that is additionally electrical. Fully electrical, to be clear, powered by both a 98- or 131-kilowatt-hour battery pack delivering between 230 and 320 miles of vary. Go with the lesser of the 2 battery packs and also you’re 452 horsepower, or 580 hp in case you step as much as the extended-range pack. Regardless which battery you get, anticipate 775 pound-feet of torque utilized to all 4 wheels.To put that in perspective, that is extra horsepower than all however the F-150 Raptor and extra torque than any F-150 ever made. In reality, you’d must step as much as the 6.7-liter Power Stroke diesel on the F-250 to get extra torque than the Lightning, however the EV nonetheless affords 100 extra horsepower — to not point out a considerably smaller carbon footprint.While these numbers are vital, extra vital are what you are able to do with them. And right here, it is a bit of a combined bag for the F-150 Lightning in comparison with its internal-combustion siblings. The Lightning has a max tow ranking of 10,000 kilos and max payload of two,235. Both figures are significantly larger than the 3.3-liter V6 F-150’s rankings of 8,200 and 1,985 kilos, respectively, however fall fairly far in need of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost F-150’s 14,000 and 3,250 kilos. The Lightning sits closest to the two.7-liter EcoBoost F-150 configuration, with its 10,000 kilos of towing and a pair of,480 kilos of hauling. In different phrases, it is roughly proper in the course of the F-150 functionality vary. To put that functionality to the take a look at Ford offered plenty of towing and hauling experiences, providing every little thing from an enviable pile of plywood to a utility trailer loaded down with water and wine. Total weight of that trailer and cargo? 9,500 kilos, simply 500 in need of the max ranking. Despite that, the truck accelerated easily and braked cleanly, sufficient in order that regardless that I lacked any substantial hills to climb, I’ve little doubt the truck would’ve tackled them with no subject.
It tows properly, however for the way far? FordThat mentioned, the query stays of simply what number of hills the truck can cowl whereas so encumbered. Range whereas towing is likely one of the large query marks surrounding the F-150 Lightning. I solely had entry to a brief, 15-mile towing take a look at loop — and a low-speed one at that — so I can not give any numbers with actual confidence. But I can let you know on the assorted vehicles with varied trailers, I noticed estimated ranges usually within the 150-mile space, about half the utmost vary. In my very own take a look at loops, I usually noticed consumption charges of 1.2 miles per kilowatt-hour. That once more would level to a spread of round 160 miles, down from the 320-mile EPA estimated vary with the prolonged pack. Now, a 50% discount in vary could seem excessive, however it’s roughly in step with the elevated consumption you’d anticipate when towing with a daily truck. The distinction, after all, is you could far more shortly refill than you may recharge. I hope to do extra thorough towing checks earlier than I draw any formal conclusions, however it actually looks as if the F-150 Lightning will likely be nice for towing quick distances. Still, you could wish to stick along with your gas-powered rig for longer hauls.OK, so the F-150 Lightning will not be essentially the most able to the F-Series vehicles from a cargo standpoint, however I’m simply getting began. This truck brings plenty of new capabilities to the desk that no different truck on the planet can obtain. It can, for instance, haul as much as 400 kilos of cargo in its weatherproof frunk. (Need to deliver house 5 baggage of concrete within the rain? Leave the tarp at house.) Far and away the F-150 Lightning’s hallmark trick, nonetheless, is its vehicle-to-load performance. With V2L, you need to use the truck to energy… something, even a whole home. Ford says the extended-range battery is sufficient to energy a median house for 3 days, which for professionals, may imply no extra expensive, droning generator leases on the job website. If that is not sufficient, the truck’s bi-directional charging is sensible sufficient to cycle your own home on and off the grid, recharging itself at evening and probably disconnecting your house from the utility system in the course of the day, when charges are highest. This is simply relevant in case you stay someplace with metered billing, however in case you do, this could possibly be a considerable financial savings in your utility invoice. So, the Lightning is a truck with an unusually complete set of expertise, however that also leaves the query of what it is wish to drive. The reply is that it is fairly good, actually. It’s fast, after all, with a 0-to-60-mph time someplace within the mid-four-second vary. That’s only a few tenths slower than a Mustang GT. Off-road, it is fairly succesful too; the moment torque and clean throttle response making it simple to inch as much as and over rocks. And with locking differentials at both finish, even when opposing wheels are suspended in midair, the truck has no drawback shifting ahead. The journey high quality is remarkably good, clean and compliant, and simply the form of factor I’d see myself eager to do for lengthy journeys. Yes, I do know it is an EV, which you’ll not suppose can be nice for road-tripping, however 320 miles of vary is on the order of 4 or 5 hours of driving. With the best charger, the Lightning can get again to an 80% cost in simply over 40 minutes. That 150-kW charging fee is way slower than we see from merchandise just like the Porsche Taycan, however a 40-minute break after 5 hours within the saddle would not sound so unhealthy to me. Plus, the truck’s navigation system is sensible sufficient to route you to and thru these charging breaks.
The inside is straight-up F-150. Nick Miotke/CNETIf I’ve one criticism with the journey, it is that the physique management is on the poor facet. The truck is compliant, sure, but in addition floaty. That’s not the tip of the world, as it is a truck that may weigh within the ballpark of 6,500 kilos relying on configuration. In different phrases, this is not the form of factor you will wish to be hustling into corners.And that is actually my solely criticism. The F-150 Lightning hits all of the marks. It’s remarkably competent at every little thing you’d need from a truck whereas additionally full of a wealth of latest and thrilling options. It stands to revolutionize how a utility car like it will match into your life and, maybe extra considerably, your corporation. I’ve been saying for a yr that the Lightning has the potential to be a game-changer. Now, I can confidently say the sport has been modified. Editors’ notice: Travel prices associated to this story had been coated by the producer, which is widespread within the auto business. The judgments and opinions of CNET’s employees are our personal and we don’t settle for paid editorial content material.