The Ford F-150 Lightning is the only traditional pickup truck on the market that happens to be all-electric.
The Rivian R1T may have beaten it to market, but it’s more adventure vehicle than a work truck, whereas the Lightning is basically America’s best-selling pickup with a battery-powered drivetrain instead of a gas engine.
But what is the F-150 Lightning like to live with every day? By now, you’ve probably seen many videos about the ownership experience, but this one is pretty special because it comes from InsideEVs’ senior editor Tom Moloughney, who has owned his F-150 Lightning for 16 months now.
As a reminder, his truck is a Lariat Extended Range model, and he has covered 15,000 miles in it since taking delivery in July 2022. Here are some of the main topics he touches on in the video.
Starting with efficiency, the F-150 Lightning has averaged about 2.1 miles/kilowatt-hour – 2.3-2.4 miles/kWh in the warmer months and 1.7-1.8 miles/kWh during the cold season.
In the summer, that translates into an average of 300 miles per charge on a mixed cycle or 260 miles per charge on the highway. In the winter, even in the worst weather conditions, Tom says his F-150 Lightning averages 200 miles per charge.
While he is okay with the range, he reckons that a heat pump would come in handy in winter. His 2022 F-150 Lightning doesn’t have one, but Ford has announced that a heat pump will become standard starting with the 2024MY.
Now, when it comes to costs, Tom says about 95 percent of charging has been done at home, at a cost of $0.14-$0.15 per kWh in New Jersey where he lives. While on road trips or when doing range tests, he also charged the Lightning at DC fast charging stations, at an average cost of $0.32 per kWh.
Charging costs over 16 months and 15,000 miles amounted to $850 (home) and $400 (DC), or a grand total of $1,250. Tom has calculated that he would have spent more than double ($2,625) on gas to cover 15,000 miles with an F-150 truck powered by the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in New Jersey.
Speaking of charging, Tom says he’s very satisfied with home charging. He’s got the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro that charges at up to 18 kW, which means it can fully recharge the battery overnight.
As for DC fast charging, he reckons Ford has some work to do still as the Lightning charges too slow in his opinion. It takes about 40-45 minutes for the battery to go from 10 percent to 80 percent state of charge. It would be much better if Ford managed to shorten that time to around 30 minutes.
For this reason – and the lack of a proper charging infrastructure in some areas of the country – he doesn’t recommend the Lightning to people who frequently tow big items for many miles. The Lightning can do that, but the frequent and rather long charging stops won’t make it time-efficient.
Now, Tom hasn’t towed with his F-150 Lightning, but he says he has been using the bed and the frunk a lot carrying building materials for his new house and whatnot. The frunk is one of his favorite things about the Lightning because it’s voluminous, it offers a safe, locked storage compartment, and it’s very convenient to use because of the low-loading lip – unlike the Rivian R1S and R1T that have the frunk lip at the height of the hood.
The frunk sometimes does not open from the button, but Tom hopes Ford will find a fix for that. Some of his complaints include the Android Auto integration, which auto-connects less than 50 percent of the time, the poorly designed wireless phone charging compartment that’s very deep and not wide enough, the lack of charging information on the driver display or center screen, and a weak spring in the center armrest – which he fixed using four nickels.
That said, he’s happy with the build quality, and he hasn’t needed to take the truck in for service yet; the vehicle hasn’t been involved in any recalls either.
He also appreciates Ford’s efforts to improve the truck via over-the-air software updates, noting the addition of the numeric state of charge in the driver display and the phone-as-a-key access feature. Mind you, the latter only does remote unlock, not remote walk-away lock, which Tom finds very annoying.
Overall, Tom really likes his truck, and he says it might be his favorite EV out of all the electric cars he has owned so far – 11 in 13 years – which says a lot.