Ford’s all-electric F-150 Lightning appears to be striking a responsive chord with consumers, the automaker’s CEO Jim Farley tweeting that advance reservations for the battery-powered pickup topped 44,000 within just two days after its introduction.
The automaker is hoping to build even more momentum as it reveals new details about the commercial version of the truck, including a long-range Lightning Pro that will start at $49,974. That price, Ford said in a release, will include an 80-amp charger capable of bringing a nearly drained battery back to 100% overnight.
“More than 44,500 reservations in less than 48 hours … and counting,” said Farley in his tweet. “The future is here.”
Sales supercharged by a presidential visit
The F-150 Lightning is the third in what is expected to be a wave of new, all-electric pickups coming to market in the next few years, following the Tesla Cybertruck unveiled in 2019, and the GMC Hummer introduced last October. With the formal sales launch of Tesla delayed, Ford’s offering could become the second to actually reach showrooms — if it holds to a spring 2022 target.
Lightning got a “really big boost,” last week a top Ford executive told TheDetroitBureau.com during a background conversation, when President Joe Biden came to Detroit. He did several burnouts in the truck — which officially can hit 60 in 4.5 seconds — declaring, “This sucker is really fast.”
For potential buyers, however, it’s the utility the truck will offer that is making waves. That includes a trunk-sized “frunk” under its hood to the built-in generator capable of providing up to 9,600 watts of power. That’s enough to power a large worksite or a typical home for three days or more, according to Ford.
Two range options
Two equally big selling points are the potential range the truck will offer, along with its starting price. The 230-mile version of the F-150 Lightning Pro starts at $39,974 — or $16 less than a Tesla Model 3 sedan. The 300-mile model will come in at $49,974, Ford announced today. Both include the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro which can fully charge the truck in as little as eight hours.
Today’s announcement could lead to some confusion for buyers, however. The short-range Lightning Pro will be available to both commercial and retail buyers. The 300-mile model will be sold exclusively to fleets and other commercial customers.
Retail buyers will have a variety of other models available, however, including high-line trim levels, such as the King Ranch and Platinum, that will push as high as $95,000. (All prices quoted here exclude delivery charges, as well as federal tax credits of up to $7,500.)
All versions of the F-150 Lightning will use twin motors, one on each axle, to deliver all-wheel-drive without a connecting drive shaft. The short-range model will produce 426 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque. The long-range package will boost horsepower to 563. Depending on the package and options, the Pro series will handle up to 10,000 pounds of towing.
Fleet-minded telematics technology
The Pro models are targeted at those who want a relatively stripped-down truck for rough-and-tumble applications. They come with vinyl seats but also feature a full-size spare mounted under the skateboard-like chassis, behind the battery pack.
The purpose-built models also will offer what Ford calls “seamless integration” of telematics features that allow a fleet manager or commercial customer to remotely track things like a battery pack’s state-of-charge, potential service issues and other vehicle operations. Like the retail F-150 Lightning, the Pro also will allow “pre-conditioning” of the cabin, warming or cooling it up while connected to a charger, in order to extend range.
With the truck capable of smartphone-style over-the-air updates, Ford also plans to update onboard software and offer new features for Lightning in the future.
“As more companies make the commitment to go carbon neutral, they are going to expect electric products that can integrate into their operations easily,” Farley said in a statement today. “F-150 Lightning Pro represents so much more than an electric workhorse – it’s made for commercial customers inside and out, it gets better over time, and it’s totally plugged into always-on services that can help business productivity.”