Why the Ford Lightning pickup is the largest innovation in F-150 historical past


For a lot of causes, Ford’s Lightning F-150 electrical pickup truck might grow to be a landmark within the transition to electrical private mobility in Canada. First, is its worth in comparison with its internal-combustion siblings. Second, is Ford’s compelling historical past on this market sector, Peter Vella explains

Henry Ford was in his final yr as CEO and chairman of the board of the Ford Motor Co. when the F-Sequence pickup truck was launched in 1948. The F-Sequence was Ford’s first pickup truck to be constructed on a devoted platform. The truck bought effectively, principally to tradespeople and farmers, however wasn’t pushing Tremendous Deluxe Tudors off showroom flooring.

In some ways, Ford responded to modifications within the pickup truck tradition on its highway to gross sales success. In 1961, the inclusion of four-wheel drive would serve leisure niches, similar to campers and hunters. Inside refinements would trickle in with mannequin years and with the Twin I Beam entrance axles (1965) the F-Sequence might boast a smoother journey than different pickups of the time.

As a result of vehicles (and, later, minivans) have been thought of business automobiles they have been allowed to skirt lots of the automotive security, emissions, and fuel-efficiency rules of the Nineteen Seventies and past. This is able to enhance their profitability and encourage producers to market vehicles as every day drivers. The rugged picture and practicality made a giant impression on the city shopper. Advertising executives in Dearborn, Mich., will need to have been pleasantly stunned (presumably shocked) on the gross sales numbers. By 1977, the F-Sequence was the best-selling truck in the US, and by 1981 it was the best-selling car general. This was amidst stiff competitors from Normal Motors and Dodge Ram.

Two distinct markets

With the tenth era in 1997, Ford determined that the F-Sequence needed to serve two distinct markets. The F-150 grew to become extra centered on attracting a car-oriented viewers whereas its 250 sibling remained the workhorse. Early into the brand new millennium, Toyota and Nissan acquired into the full-size pickup fray searching for a bit of that big market. In 2001, Ford launched the Tremendous Crew Cab mannequin which featured snug rear seats and the primary four-door configuration within the half-ton pickup truck sector. This was not meant for a piece crew. Little by little the F-150 was evolving into the upright, go anyplace household conveyance that would haul or tow. There have been nonetheless items of the puzzle lacking although.

Vehicles have been put via crashworthiness assessments by the Nationwide Freeway Site visitors and Security Administration (NHTSA) Company of the U.S. Division of Transport since 1979. Vans have been thought of secure (by a lot of the general public) by the character of their bodily (as in regulation of physics) benefit over smaller, lighter automobiles. It was true that an Escort would lose any battle with an F-150; nonetheless, with out crumple zones, that inflexible body of the truck transferred deadly ranges of stress to the occupants in an influence with a tree or a wall. With the eleventh era in 2004, the F-150 lastly began to match the protection of its automobile cousins. In its current (2021) type the F-150 earns a “High Security Choose” within the rigorous IIHS assessments, if geared up with LED headlights with curve adaptive know-how. It’s the solely giant pickup truck to earn that award.

Combining correct pickup truck energy with (comparatively) higher gasoline effectivity was the following problem for the Ford engineers. The “EcoBoost” twin turbo engines have been made accessible in 2009, bettering gasoline economic system by a considerable 15 to twenty per cent. In 2015, Ford shocked the automotive world by making your complete physique meeting of each F-150 out of aluminum, thereby reducing its general car weight by 700 kilos. And in case anybody was involved that these physique panels have been just like these utilized in fragile unique automobiles, Ford made it very clear that they solely used “army grade aluminum.”

Ford had been pushed by shoppers, legislators, and its opponents to stay on the prime of the gross sales figures, and the F-150 had developed into one thing that revered its truck roots however was a cushty, secure household “automobile.” In 2018, 1,075,000 F-Sequence vehicles have been bought globally, or 2,945 items per day. It was additionally in 2018 that Canada made the F-150 its best-selling car. If Henry had a crystal ball again in 1948, he would have been very stunned to see that 73 years later the F-Sequence wouldn’t solely have outlived a myriad of automobile tasks however would in actual fact have changed these automobiles within the hearts and driveways of many North People.

Ford Lightning F-150 EV versus ICE comparability

The Ford Lightning F-150 is far more than the electrification of a gross sales big. It’s an progressive EV unto itself. Better of all, although, is the way it stacks as much as its inside combustion powered sibling. My comparability of specs and worth was made simpler by the truth that I might equally equip an EV and ICE model on the Ford Canada web site.

In Canada, the bottom Lightning is a “effectively geared up” XLT mannequin with an MSRP of $68,000. That quantity just isn’t pocket change however needs to be put into context. The Lightning that I will probably be referencing has the smaller (commonplace) 370-kilometre vary battery although there’s a bigger (prolonged) 480-km battery as an optionally available improve. The vary figures are Ford’s estimate, primarily based on the EPA testing format. That EPA format assessments the Lightning with a 455-kilogram (1,000-pound) payload. All Lightnings come geared up with all-wheel drive and 4 doorways, so I specified these options into the ICE model. With Ford’s EcoBoost engine (with start-stop know-how) and the choices that (I felt) would make the automobiles comparable, the gasoline-powered F-150 XLT would have an MSRP of $64,999.

This comparability provides the ICE model a worth benefit of $3,000. Nonetheless, the Lightning has a number of substantial benefits that can not be replicated within the gasoline model.

For instance, that is the one F-150 ever with an impartial rear suspension.

Secondly, the vacated engine bay is now a storage space of 400 litres and 181-kilo (400-lb) capability. It additionally homes 4 120-volt retailers. Frunkzilla just isn’t an overstatement.

Thirdly, the EcoBoost V6 engine produces 400 bhp (brake horsepower) and 500 ft-lb of torque. The Ford Lightning F-150 quietly delivers 430 bhp with the usual battery and 563 bhp with the prolonged battery. Each make 775 lb-ft of torque. The extended-powered truck is quicker than the final Ford Raptor which bought for $87,000.

The ICE model I specified had the Energy Professional possibility with a functionality of supplying 7.2 kW {of electrical} power with the truck’s engine working. The Lightning (with its commonplace Professional Energy System) has the potential of supplying 9.6 kW with none tailpipe exhaust. That power will be accessed by 10 120-volt retailers and a 240-volt outlet. Sure, you possibly can take your garments dryer to the campground.

All trim ranges of the Lightning get the LED headlights with curve adaptive know-how. You would need to soar to the “King Ranch” trim stage ($77,000) within the ICE model for that added visibility characteristic. Solely the Lightning has regenerative braking, superior driver/car interface know-how, software program updates and extra. The Lightning additionally gives sudden pluses like tenting and not using a generator or propane thereby additional decreasing using fossil fuels. As soon as once more shoppers will discover the capabilities.

The compromise of going electrical entails payload and towing capability. The Ford Lightning F-150 has between 1,800 and a couple of,000 lbs of payload and a ten,000-pound towing capability. The ICE model is specified as 3,250 and 14,700 respectively. This can be a deal-breaker for some truck customers.

Apparently, the Canadian XLT model comes higher geared up than its American cousin. We get the Co-Pilot 360 (driver) Help 2.0 system, the Energy Professional System, heated seats, 20-inch wheels, a trailer hitch, and rain-sensing wipers as commonplace gear.

It’s price noting that my EV-to-ICE comparability was accomplished with no point out of presidency incentives.

As soon as and future king

If the optionally available prolonged battery on the XLT trim is chosen, then Ford’s Clever Backup Energy (IBP) System turns into accessible. With this method, the truck’s battery can be utilized to energy a house for 3 to 10 days. Consider a battery powerwall with wheels. The whole value of IBP (together with the prolonged battery) can nonetheless examine favourably to the price of a house battery or generator system. The truck’s battery may retailer electrical energy generated from photo voltaic panels throughout daytime. Within the U.S., Ford has partnered with Sunrun Photo voltaic which is able to provide and set up suitable panel-to-vehicle (P2V) switch methods. Let’s hope, eh?

The subsequent section of the gentrification of the American full-sized pickup truck may arrive by way of the elimination of its emissions. I imagine that almost all of the huge F-150 cult will stick with the blue oval when it’s time to bid farewell to their native gasoline stations. But, Ford has secured its standing because the as soon as and future king of pickup vehicles by morphing its product to new audiences, and the Ford Lightning F-150 needs to be seen as the largest innovation within the F-Sequence’ a long time of evolution. Rivals (each new and established) are within the wings. Some will surpass the options of the Lightning, however it’s nonetheless to be seen if any can match its worth.

Within the chronology of EVs in Canada, the Ford F-150 Lightning could possibly be heralded as the primary electrical car that (at the very least at one trim stage) matched or surpassed a equally geared up ICE car of the identical buy worth.

That seems like grounds for a tailgate celebration to me.

Peter Vella calls himself a automobile nut with a conscience, and has discovered his enthusiasm for issues cellular revitalized by the electrical car motion. He travels extensively to most any electrical car symposium, worldwide automobile present or automobile museum he can get to.



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