Ford F-150 Lightning: Truck of the future? We bought one to find out

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Update by Tom Suddard to the Ford F-150 Lightning XLT project car
Mar 25, 2024 | Ford, ev, F-150 Lightning

Just how bad of an idea is buying and living with an electric truck? We bought one for ourselves to find out–you know, for science.

More specifically, back in June 2023 we bought a 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT Extended Range. Original MSRP was $77,269, though we picked up our Lightning–fitted with some $22,000 of options and showing 6000 miles since new–for a touch over $64,000.

Before you say anything, yes, that’s expensive and yes the truck will depreciate, but in a world where gas-powered F-150s were regularly $50,000 or more, it wasn’t too difficult for us to justify paying what we did for the Lightning.

So, can an all-electric truck really do normal truck stuff for racers like us? Will it carry parts home from the junkyard? Will it tow? And will it leave us wishing we'd just pushed the easy button and bought a gas truck?

We've already added nearly 20,000 miles to the truck's odometer as we attempt to answer those questions, and we have no plans to stop this electric experiment anytime soon. Stay tuned for our results.

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Comments
J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
3/26/24 9:12 a.m.

I love my ICE cars, but this EV truck intrigues me. I'm looking forward to seeing what adventures Tom has with this one.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/26/24 9:23 a.m.

I have a dream of pre-retirement in something like this or a Rivian with a teardrop camper with Tunawife traveling around. Watching with interest.

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
3/26/24 12:14 p.m.

Short answer:  No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooo.

Anywho, just drove up to northern Wisconsin and back to Milwaukee for the weekend(350 miles each way)

Was home for about 2 hours, enough time to get vacation stuff unloaded and get work tools loaded up.

Drove to Greencastle, IN (275 miles)

Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I dont think there was an EV charger within 100 miles of the place.  Flyover states are not real good about their EV chargers.

Worked 12s, started at 4:00 AM.  No desire to try to find a charger during the few hours I was snoozing.

Drove about 30 miles each day while I was working - 120 miles give or take there.  

Drove home yesterday (another 275 miles)

That's typical truck stuff for guys who actually use their trucks for work and there is 0 percent chance of doing it in the same timeline and lack of stress with an EV.  EVs are niche use case vehicles at best, boondoggles at worst.

And this is coming from a guy with a PHEV in the fleet and at-home fast charging.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/26/24 12:35 p.m.

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

There are two charging locations in Greencastle, IN. Both are Level 2, so they're about what you'd have at your home garage. And there are a whooole bunch of chargers in a 100 mile radius.

My wife's construction company leased two Lightnings last year as an experiment. One for a parts runner, one for a sample runner. They cover a good portion of the state, not just back and forth across town. This year, they're leasing three. So I guess it wasn't a complete failure :)

Msterbee
Msterbee Reader
3/26/24 1:39 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:

Short answer:  No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooo.

Anywho, just drove up to northern Wisconsin and back to Milwaukee for the weekend(350 miles each way)

Was home for about 2 hours, enough time to get vacation stuff unloaded and get work tools loaded up.

Drove to Greencastle, IN (275 miles)

Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I dont think there was an EV charger within 100 miles of the place.  Flyover states are not real good about their EV chargers.

Worked 12s, started at 4:00 AM.  No desire to try to find a charger during the few hours I was snoozing.

Drove about 30 miles each day while I was working - 120 miles give or take there.  

Drove home yesterday (another 275 miles)

That's typical truck stuff for guys who actually use their trucks for work and there is 0 percent chance of doing it in the same timeline and lack of stress with an EV.  EVs are niche use case vehicles at best, boondoggles at worst.

And this is coming from a guy with a PHEV in the fleet and at-home fast charging.  

Based on many year of observation and time in the car industry I'd say people who use their pickup for "truck stuff for guys who actually use their trucks" is in a significant minority of the truck market.  Many of them are used as extra-capable daily drivers. If they live in or near a city they don't venture that far from home or work frequently like your case.  It may not work for you and people like you but there's an ample market for whom it does. Whether they want to pay the price is another question. 

93gsxturbo
93gsxturbo UltraDork
3/26/24 1:52 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

There are two charging locations in Greencastle, IN. Both are Level 2, so they're about what you'd have at your home garage. And there are a whooole bunch of chargers in a 100 mile radius.

 

You missed the part about working 12s and not wanting to wait around at a charger during my very minimal free time - or having to deal with finding the charger in a strange city - or the inevitable broken charger.  Lot more better to just gas up in 5 minutes and get a Coke Zero for my troubles.   

If all my trips were within the radius of a known good charger it would almost make sense...until I have to haul something of significant weight or run 300 miles into a 30 MPH headwind and kills my MPE.

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
3/26/24 2:10 p.m.
Msterbee said:
93gsxturbo said:

Short answer:  No.

Long answer: Nooooooooooooo.

Anywho, just drove up to northern Wisconsin and back to Milwaukee for the weekend(350 miles each way)

Was home for about 2 hours, enough time to get vacation stuff unloaded and get work tools loaded up.

Drove to Greencastle, IN (275 miles)

Stayed at a Holiday Inn Express, I dont think there was an EV charger within 100 miles of the place.  Flyover states are not real good about their EV chargers.

Worked 12s, started at 4:00 AM.  No desire to try to find a charger during the few hours I was snoozing.

Drove about 30 miles each day while I was working - 120 miles give or take there.  

Drove home yesterday (another 275 miles)

That's typical truck stuff for guys who actually use their trucks for work and there is 0 percent chance of doing it in the same timeline and lack of stress with an EV.  EVs are niche use case vehicles at best, boondoggles at worst.

And this is coming from a guy with a PHEV in the fleet and at-home fast charging.  

Based on many year of observation and time in the car industry I'd say people who use their pickup for "truck stuff for guys who actually use their trucks" is in a significant minority of the truck market.  Many of them are used as extra-capable daily drivers. If they live in or near a city they don't venture that far from home or work frequently like your case.  It may not work for you and people like you but there's an ample market for whom it does. Whether they want to pay the price is another question. 

In my experience most people use their trucks to haul large quantities of air back and forth on the roads to Starbucks and Walmart and to display their respective detailed reasons why their particular engine family is better than the others with helpful stickers on the back, sides, and sometimes front.

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
3/26/24 4:00 p.m.

Please buy a Tesla Cybertruck and do a side-by-side comparo.

TD1932
TD1932 New Reader
3/26/24 4:12 p.m.

93gsxturbo said:
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

There are two charging locations in Greencastle, IN. Both are Level 2, so they're about what you'd have at your home garage. And there are a whooole bunch of chargers in a 100 mile radius.

 

You missed the part about working 12s and not wanting to wait around at a charger during my very minimal free time - or having to deal with finding the charger in a strange city - or the inevitable broken charger.  Lot more better to just gas up in 5 minutes and get a Coke Zero for my troubles.   

If all my trips were within the radius of a known good charger it would almost make sense...until I have to haul something of significant weight or run 300 miles into a 30 MPH headwind and kills my MPE.

You are certainly an extreme use case. EV definitely not for you. Most people drive about 40 miles per day(15k/yr). 

The occasional road trip of 300+ miles is easily handled with a 20-30min charge atop(in civilized parts of the world). 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/26/24 5:45 p.m.
93gsxturbo said:
Keith Tanner said:

In reply to 93gsxturbo :

There are two charging locations in Greencastle, IN. Both are Level 2, so they're about what you'd have at your home garage. And there are a whooole bunch of chargers in a 100 mile radius.

 

You missed the part about working 12s and not wanting to wait around at a charger during my very minimal free time - or having to deal with finding the charger in a strange city - or the inevitable broken charger.  Lot more better to just gas up in 5 minutes and get a Coke Zero for my troubles.   

If all my trips were within the radius of a known good charger it would almost make sense...until I have to haul something of significant weight or run 300 miles into a 30 MPH headwind and kills my MPE.

I didn't miss it, I just addressed the clearly incorrect statements about charger availability. I think your use case is the niche, we're seeing in the overall market that EVs do address a large number of use cases. I'm not even sure you'd be legal under hour of service regs for a commercial driver.

We also have many people who have structured their habits around how ICE vehicles work, such as the need to refuel them at a third party location (it doesn't really take 5 minutes, especially if you're wandering into the convenience store to buy drinks) instead of finding a way to charge overnight or during other stops so many refueling stops are completely eliminated. Habits will adapt if needed. 

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