Ford Closes F-150 Lightning Reservations
If you’ve been wondering what the watershed moment for electric vehicles was going to be, wonder no more: on December 8, 2021, Ford closed its online reservation system for the upcoming 2022 F-150 Lightning pickup truck after receiving over 200,000 deposits. Indeed, demand has been so strong that on January 4, Ford announced it would nearly double planned production capacity from 80,000 to 150,000 Lightning trucks per year. Even at that rate, the order bank means the company already has enough orders for over a year’s worth of trucks.
The closing of online reservations means that the company will now focus on converting those reservations to actual orders with dealers, and on fulfilling those orders starting later this year. It also shows there’s tremendous demand in the market for electric pickup trucks; the segment of the market most pundits thought would be the very last to embrace electricity as a power source. If Ford’s success with the Lightning is any indication, pickup owners across the country are ready to make the switch to electric vehicles, meaning the whole market may go in that direction a lot faster than we all thought.
Buyers Embrace Ford's Electric Truck
Looking at the specs of the F-150 Lightning, it’s not hard to see why buyers are embracing it. Almost every key statistic is equivalent to, or better than, its gasoline counterpart. Simply put, the F-150 Lightning performs better than any other F-150 on the market while being cheaper to buy, and own in the long run. Factor in lower running costs thanks to fuel savings and reduced maintenance requirements, as well as the massive federal and regional incentives currently available to EV purchasers, and the Lightning is an alluring package.
Want an example? Equipped with the extended-range battery that most buyers will choose, the Lightning will rocket to 60 mph in the mid-4 second range, that’s faster than a lot of gasoline-powered sports cars. Its twin electric motors put out 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque. Those figures easily eclipse any gasoline-powered pickup in Ford’s lineup, with the additional advantage of zero emissions, instantaneous torque delivery, and the seamless acceleration only an electric vehicle can deliver.
What about range? The standard-capacity battery is rated for 230 miles, which if the vehicle is being plugged in overnight, as most will be, is more than enough for everyday use. The Lightning’s optional extended-range battery has a targeted range of 300 miles. Set up a charging station at home or at work, and you’ll start each day with a full tank. Plus Ford’s ChargeStation Pro, standard with the extended-range battery, is a high-power 80-amp, 19.2-kw charger, which significantly cuts charging times compared to conventional level 2 chargers. The lithium-ion battery is mounted between the frame rails and protected by a unique exo-structure for protection when off-roading, and it doesn’t eat into interior volume or bed space.
No Sacrifices in Capability
Ford has made a point of not sacrificing any capability with the electric F150. It can tow up to 10,000 pounds, and has a 2,000-pound maximum payload, meaning it’s a serious work truck and not just a technological showcase. Those using the truck for work will also appreciate a significant increase in usable space, thanks to a massive “frunk” at the front where the gasoline engine used to be. This provides a well-protected, covered, weatherproof storage area for gear or luggage.
There’s also the ability to use power tools and other electrical equipment directly from the truck though up to eleven on-board electrical outlets. You’ll find two 120-volt outlets in the frunk, two in the cab, four in the bed, and a 240-volt outlet in the bed for tougher tasks. An intelligent backup power option even lets you power your home for up to three days from a fully-charged battery during freak power outages.
The Lightning’s electric architecture has enabled other advanced features which make it the most advanced pickup truck on the market. Available “BlueCruise” uses a number of interior and exterior cameras and radar sensors to enable hands-free driving under certain conditions on divided highways. The vehicle’s navigation system has a “power my trip” function to calculate charge level and find convenient fast charging locations during longer trips. You can use a smartphone as the vehicle key, making it easy to grant additional family members or coworkers access to your truck. And over-the-air software updates automatically download the latest upgrades to enhance features and unlock new ones.
Incredibly Affordable, Emissions-Free
With all of this goodness as well as federal, regional, and local incentives which will make it comparably priced to an equivalent gasoline F-150, it’s no surprise the Lightning is a hit, even before the first vehicles are delivered in mid-2022. It will be interesting to watch whether Ford decides to expand production capacity as demand for the truck grows, and it will be interesting to see how competitors respond.
At the moment, less than three percent of new vehicles sold in the U.S. are electric; a substantial step forward from prior years, but still a small slice of the overall market. Ford’s F-150 is America’s best-selling vehicle for the past 44 years, so a substantial shift in demand to an electric version is a clear indication that the market has an interest in going emissions-free. One thing’s for certain: this space is going to get a lot more interesting, and a lot more competitive, in the coming months and years, something that will only benefit truck buyers everywhere.