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Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/17/23 2:12 p.m.

If you followed along with our broken Porsche Cayman cross-country roadtrip thread, you already know I bought a lightly used F-150 Lightning. But I figured it deserved its own build thread instead of living buried in the Cayman comments. This hopefully won't be a project, so instead I'll be documenting what it's like to live with an electric truck.

Let's get the worst part out of the way: In June 2023, I paid just over $64,000 including the dealer fees/games/etc. That's just barely less than I paid for my house.... That bought me a 2022 F-150 Lightning XLT Extended Range with $22,000 of options and 6000 miles. And, honestly, I wanted all the bells and whistles. I figured if I'm going into debt to buy a truck, it might as well be nice. Original MSRP was $77,269, but Ford just announced price cuts so in theory this truck would now cost just under $70k brand new.

Yes, that's too expensive. Yes, I paid a premium to have an electric truck a few years before they become common. Yes, it will depreciate. Ultimately, my decision came down to this: In a world where similar gas-powered F-150s are $50,000, I spent a little bit more to buy the best new car I've ever driven. And I mean that. That, and I saved the expense of a separate whole-house generator installation.

I picked the truck up in Texas, then immediately drove it home to Florida. Here's the summary I posted in the other thread:

I took the lightning on a worst-case scenario for EVs: An 1150-mile all-highway trip across a part of the country that has some of the least-developed charging infrastructure anywhere. 

And, honestly, it wasn't that big of a deal. But it could have been a total non-issue with a few tweaks.

In total, I spent $88 and 4.08 hours charging across two days and 1150 miles. Honestly, I'd struggle to do this drive without four hours of stops in a gas truck, anyway. I charged five times total, but one of these was a false start at a slow charger, and I left after a few minutes. So that's two charging stops per day. Note that I'm not counting the slow charge to 75% I took at the hotel--it was free and I would have parked at the hotel overnight, anyway.

First, let's talk charger locations: The furthest I traveled off the highway for a charger was 12 miles. But that's only because my preferred charger (.7 miles off the highway) was broken, and the one I ended up at was just off a different highway. Every other charger was so close to the highway, I could see them while taking the exit. Most chargers are in a Walmart parking lot, which meant it was easy to find food/restrooms/etc. while waiting.

Second, let's talk charging time: The longest I charged was 1 hour 16 minutes. The second longest was 1 hour 5 minutes. These stops could have been way shorter, as I spent a disproportionate amount of time charging from 80% full to 90% full. But I had to charge all the way in order to bridge broken chargers along the route. In a world with reliable chargers, I could have saved about an hour from my trip. And a 45-minute charge also meshes better with how long of a break I like to take twice a day.

Third, let's talk charger reliability: Every single charger I stopped at had multiple broken stations, and all but one delivered less than the promised power. And this was the result with homework--there's an app for charger reviews called PlugShare that's basically charge yelp, and I used it to avoid the worst-reviewed stations along the route. When you put a destination into the truck's nav system, it automatically forecasts battery usage along the route, then picks appropriate chargers and adds them as stops. But it doesn't really read the charger reviews (just an average of the score), so the truck's recommendations would have been far slower. If most of the chargers that currently exist actually worked, then this trip would have been a total non-issue.

So what's my verdict? Honestly: Not that big of a deal. Electrify America's stations are hot garbage, but at the end of the day I did a massive trip in a really inefficient EV without significant hassle. I'm pretty impressed with how far we've come since my Nissan LEAF.

And with that, let the build thread begin. Hopefully what follows is 20 years of productive discussion as I run my new electric truck into the ground. Let's see!

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/17/23 2:17 p.m.

Oh, one thing I forgot to say... "What about long distance towing!?!?!?!"

So, I went back through my calendar and looked at where I was actually racing. The vast majority of my tows are to the FIRM, Daytona, Roebling, Sebring, etc. All tracks within a few hours of my house. Once or twice a year, I race further away.

My old F-250 sucks down 20 gallons of gas every time I go to the FIRM for a track day. That adds up quick when I'm going a few times per month. 

So here's the gamble I'm making with the Lightning: I should be able to do all of the local events easily, charging mostly at home for pennies on the dollar vs. the cost of gas. Then, once or twice a year, I'll rent a diesel truck for long tows. On paper, this is the perfect system. But we'll see how it works in reality.

Spearfishin
Spearfishin New Reader
7/17/23 2:34 p.m.

Look forward to it. We were fairly early into the $100 "reservation" for a new one, but in the intervening 15 months between pricing announcement vs call from dealer that it was our turn to order, the numbers grew so much that we just told the dealer "thanks but no". That was coupled with the towing range situation. I live in the sticks. My towing is often some distance worth talking about in the context of an electric truck. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/23 3:42 p.m.

Towing takes energy. We accept a financial cost when towing with an ICE. The EV moves that into more of a time cost. Since it's a known factor, it can be planned for :) But it's definitely a change.

My wife's company is trialing two Lightnings. One is an in-town parts runner - it should be perfect for that - and the other is a sample runner that has to visit jobs all over the map. It'll be interesting to see what they find out for TCO.

Tom, I'm interested to hear what the wiring involved in using the truck to power the house looks like. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/17/23 4:00 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Tom, I'm interested to hear what the wiring involved in using the truck to power the house looks like. 

So I'm cheating a little bit here--I already have a transfer switch wired in for a gas generator, so the wiring is done--I'll just get a longer 240V cord and plug it into the outlet in the truck bed. It can make 7200 watts through that outlet, which is plenty for my house during/after a storm.

The truck supports automatic home backup at even higher power levels, but there's tons of home-side wiring that needs to be installed. I may do that down the road if it gets cheaper/easier, but for now I'm going to treat it like a generator. Except my old generator required me to stockpile 20 gallons of gas per day, which is surprisingly hard to do for a week-long power outage, and this one doesn't.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/23 4:52 p.m.

Looking forward to the DIY solar array to recharge the truck while it's powering the house :D

I'd be interested in a writeup on what it takes to wire in the automatic home backup from a DIY viewpoint, even if you don't do it. Just for interest's sake, because it's a big feature in Ford's advertising and they don't really get into what is involved on the house side.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/17/23 5:01 p.m.

Excited to follow along! $22k in options is very Porsche-like. Would you be willing to share the list? I'm curious to learn more.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Publisher
7/17/23 5:47 p.m.

Sure, here's the window sticker:


 

It's similar to a Lariat's equipment list, but with an XLT interior. I hate leather and didn't like the Lariat's lack of buttons for HVAC and radio controls, but I wanted fancy cruise control, the larger Pro Power, tow packages and such so I sought out a highly optioned XLT. And choosing a 2022 vs. a 2023 meant I didn't have any "deletes," which are what the Lightning forums call the wireless hotspot, smart scales, heated steering wheel and a few other odds and ends. Again, if I'm in debt why have a truck missing stuff?

One gimmick I've already fallen in love with: Pro Trailer Backup assist. That's the knob on the dash that lets the truck back up the trailer for you. And I thought it was a total waste of space--I've been backing up trailers since I was five or six years old, and have never thought "darn backing up trailers is too hard."

But I was wrong. I'm not that good at backing around corners and such using the system--it's just counterintuitive vs. the normal steering wheel I've always used. But in a straight line, the system tracks the trailer's orientation with a way higher resolution than I'm able to using side mirrors and a human brain. So the characteristic little wiggle back and forth is completely eliminated and the truck can drive in a perfectly straight line backwards. This is the feature's killer app, and my new favorite way to put the trailer away in my backyard through a very narrow pathway that's 50' long. I used to pull in straight then turn around, which tore up my yard and took a while. Now I just back straight into the trailer's spot. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/17/23 5:52 p.m.

On the economy box, 48 kWh per 100 miles is probably the best metric to use to compare to other EVs and to compare to actual consumption in normal use. That's a truck sized number because, well, of course it is.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/18/23 9:16 a.m.

First and likely only modification is complete: A bedliner and a cover. I went with Line-X after seeing some of the local Line-X dealer's work on similar trucks with similarly complicated beds. And I have to say, they knocked it out of the park. They did a way better job than I ever did when I was doing bedliners in high school (sorry 2009ish pickup truck owners).... All of the lights, brackets, power plugs, tailgate hardware, etc. etc. was removed and reinstalled. 

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand UberDork
7/18/23 9:53 a.m.

I really like that your truck is painted not-greyscale. I also love that Lightnings are styled in a way that doesn't scream "Look at me I'm an eevee!!!1!". They just look like trucks with some subtle differences. 

Quick math says $88 to go 1150 miles is equivalent to getting 46 MPG on $3.50/gal gas. Pretty darn good for a truck! 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/23 10:19 a.m.

The reason it looks like a normal truck is because Ford decided to take advantage of the F150 volume. It's a smart move - it'll make it a lot easier to source replacement parts in the future and it brings costs down quite a bit compared to a bespoke platform. That did handicap the packaging of the truck, though. It's not as optimized a vehicle as it could be from the functional point of view. But it should be more optimized from a cost point of view, at least until they have an EV platform like GM's.

It looks like they couldn't resist some pointless restyling on things like the front fender and rear quarter, so you can't use normal F150 panels there. Designers gotta design, I guess :)

Tom, what does this mean for the Maverick? And what is your fleet these days, I've lost track.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/18/23 10:42 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

I really like that your truck is painted not-greyscale. I also love that Lightnings are styled in a way that doesn't scream "Look at me I'm an eevee!!!1!". They just look like trucks with some subtle differences. 

Quick math says $88 to go 1150 miles is equivalent to getting 46 MPG on $3.50/gal gas. Pretty darn good for a truck! 

Thanks! Yeah, it was hard to find one painted a color instead of a greyscale shade. And yeah, the fuel math is seriously good. That's a worst-case scenario (expensive public chargers). At home, I pay about $.13/kwh. My round trip towing to the FIRM costs $15.99 assuming I don't use their free charger for a few hours, but I do, which makes the actual cost about $12.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/18/23 10:43 a.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Tom, what does this mean for the Maverick? And what is your fleet these days, I've lost track.

I bought the Maverick with X-plan, so I have to keep it around for another 4.5 months. After that, it's going to my father-in-law as his daily.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/18/23 10:57 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:
maschinenbau said:

I really like that your truck is painted not-greyscale. I also love that Lightnings are styled in a way that doesn't scream "Look at me I'm an eevee!!!1!". They just look like trucks with some subtle differences. 

Quick math says $88 to go 1150 miles is equivalent to getting 46 MPG on $3.50/gal gas. Pretty darn good for a truck! 

Thanks! Yeah, it was hard to find one painted a color instead of a greyscale shade. And yeah, the fuel math is seriously good. That's a worst-case scenario (expensive public chargers). At home, I pay about $.13/kwh. My round trip towing to the FIRM costs $15.99 assuming I don't use their free charger for a few hours, but I do, which makes the actual cost about $12.

For those of us who are both math challenged and newly minted EV owners, what is the formula for determining cost per trip/mile? Granted we charge at free chargers when possible but we'll eventually charge at home.

Here is a snapshot of a recent electric bill:

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/18/23 11:36 a.m.

In your example, it looks like you pay a flat fee of $16.50 each month. Then, for the first 850 kWh, you pay $.0821/kWh plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. For every kWh after the first 850, you pay $.1088 plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. You then pay those two taxes on the other fees.

To determine the cost per trip, I'd subtract the $16.50 as your house is going to be connected to the grid no matter how much you drive, then average your usage of each tier and add taxes to find an average cost per kWh. Multiply that by the number of kWh used on the trip to get an idea of how much energy you used.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/18/23 12:03 p.m.
Tom Suddard said:

In your example, it looks like you pay a flat fee of $16.50 each month. Then, for the first 850 kWh, you pay $.0821/kWh plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. For every kWh after the first 850, you pay $.1088 plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. You then pay those two taxes on the other fees.

To determine the cost per trip, I'd subtract the $16.50 as your house is going to be connected to the grid no matter how much you drive, then average your usage of each tier and add taxes to find an average cost per kWh. Multiply that by the number of kWh used on the trip to get an idea of how much energy you used.

That makes sense. Thanks! Given that we've always hit the 2nd tier, even before buying the EV, would it be fair to only use the higher tier pricing when making the calculation? Every kWh we use for the car will come from that pool.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/23 12:06 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

It looks like they couldn't resist some pointless restyling on things like the front fender and rear quarter, so you can't use normal F150 panels there. Designers gotta design, I guess :)

I posted that after looking at pictures of other 2022 F150s, but then I went for a drive and started looking at trucks. There are other F150s that share the same headlight/tailight shape, so they have a common fender/quarter design. Good call, Ford. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/23 12:16 p.m.
dyintorace said:
Tom Suddard said:

In your example, it looks like you pay a flat fee of $16.50 each month. Then, for the first 850 kWh, you pay $.0821/kWh plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. For every kWh after the first 850, you pay $.1088 plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. You then pay those two taxes on the other fees.

To determine the cost per trip, I'd subtract the $16.50 as your house is going to be connected to the grid no matter how much you drive, then average your usage of each tier and add taxes to find an average cost per kWh. Multiply that by the number of kWh used on the trip to get an idea of how much energy you used.

That makes sense. Thanks! Given that we've always hit the 2nd tier, even before buying the EV, would it be fair to only use the higher tier pricing when making the calculation? Every kWh we use for the car will come from that pool.

To make it even easier - Tom's truck is rated at 48 kWh/100 miles. That's basically 2 miles per kWh assuming he meets the rated consumption. So at your higher tier rates, that's about 7.5 cents per mile. If you're running a car, it'll be more like 3 miles per kWh or 5 cents/mile.

That's easy enough to figure with gasoline as well. If you're paying $3.50/gallon and your car gets 35 mpg, that's 10 cents/mile. If you drive 1000 miles per month, that's $50 in your pocket. I'm obviously using nice pretty numbers for this example :). The savings aren't enough to justify buying a new EV, but they're a nice bonus on top of any other attributes.

Toyman!
Toyman! GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/23 12:24 p.m.

That's a good looking truck. I'm super interested in hearing how it treats you long term. 

Now if only Ford will build me a work truck with an extended cab, and a long bed. Depending on how the math works out, I might be in the market for a couple of them. 

 

Scotty Con Queso
Scotty Con Queso UltraDork
7/18/23 12:40 p.m.

I'm starting to like these way more than I ever thought I would.  Like someone else mentioned, I really like that this isn't a grey or grey variant color. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/18/23 1:01 p.m.

Obligatory photo from the truck's first tow to the FIRM:

The FIRM only has a Tesla charger, but I have a trick up my sleeve: The TeslaTap! This adapter lets me use any AC Tesla charger to charge my truck. I can charge up at about 10kw at the FIRM. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
7/18/23 1:05 p.m.

Oh, and one more photo from the camera roll to get this thread caught up: LANTERN MODE!

At least, that's what Ford should call it. Instead, they call it Zone Lighting, which isn't nearly as good as my name. The truck has lights all over it, and pushing a button on the screen or on your phone turns them on. In theory this means I'll never need to prop a work light on the roof of my truck again, and this is way brighter than anything I have that runs off an 18V battery.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
7/18/23 1:17 p.m.

About that TeslaTap and to avoid some potential confusion - AC charging is the slower Level 2 charging like you see at hotels and homes and apparently some racetracks. It's fundamentally a direct electrical connection to AC. That device is conceptually the same as one of those plug adapters that lets you physically plug a US plug into a European outlet.
VP-11W USA to Europe Travel Plug Adapter, Grounded German Schuko Plug –  Voltage Converter Transformers

That's a different matter than the high speed Level 3 DC charging. The TeslaTap won't work at Superchargers, but that's effectively what will happen once the Supercharger access rolls out. Tom will be able to use an adapter to plug his truck into a Supercharger, the truck will authenticate (or maybe it will require the app, but I think the intent is to support "plug and charge") and it will start charging. 

10 kW means that in an hour, Tom will get 10 kWh (ignoring losses) which is equivalent to about 20 miles of range. It's great opportunity charging - not enough for a road trip, but coming back to your truck after 4 hours at the track and finding that you've got 80 miles more range than you did when you started is pretty cool.

Most Level 2 chargers have the standard J1772 plug on them, which will plug right into Tom's truck. Teslas can use them with a stumpy little adapter that comes with the car. All of the charging standards kerfuffle mostly center around the high speed DC charging.

dyintorace
dyintorace GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
7/18/23 2:12 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:
dyintorace said:
Tom Suddard said:

In your example, it looks like you pay a flat fee of $16.50 each month. Then, for the first 850 kWh, you pay $.0821/kWh plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. For every kWh after the first 850, you pay $.1088 plus a $.0500/kWh fuel surcharge. You then pay those two taxes on the other fees.

To determine the cost per trip, I'd subtract the $16.50 as your house is going to be connected to the grid no matter how much you drive, then average your usage of each tier and add taxes to find an average cost per kWh. Multiply that by the number of kWh used on the trip to get an idea of how much energy you used.

That makes sense. Thanks! Given that we've always hit the 2nd tier, even before buying the EV, would it be fair to only use the higher tier pricing when making the calculation? Every kWh we use for the car will come from that pool.

To make it even easier - Tom's truck is rated at 48 kWh/100 miles. That's basically 2 miles per kWh assuming he meets the rated consumption. So at your higher tier rates, that's about 7.5 cents per mile. If you're running a car, it'll be more like 3 miles per kWh or 5 cents/mile.

That's easy enough to figure with gasoline as well. If you're paying $3.50/gallon and your car gets 35 mpg, that's 10 cents/mile. If you drive 1000 miles per month, that's $50 in your pocket. I'm obviously using nice pretty numbers for this example :). The savings aren't enough to justify buying a new EV, but they're a nice bonus on top of any other attributes.

Thanks Keith. That helps. Our Ioniq 6 seems to be roughly 3.5 miles per kWh so ~ $.045/mile. Given the Jaguar F-Type R it replaced was ~$0.33/mile, we're doing much better! :D

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