The Ford F-150 has been the most popular pick-up in the U.S. for 47 consecutive years, counting sales in 2023. When Ford introduced the all-electric F-150 Lightning for the 2022 model year, it had to be as good as its gas-powered sibling. Ford delivered – the F-150 Lightning is capable with decent towing and hauling specs and a range of up to 320 miles.
Base Price: $96,874
As Tested: $97,674
Mileage: 73 MPGe city/60 MPGe highway/66 MPGe combined
For 2023, the range of the standard battery rises from 230 to 240 miles and the new Pro Trailer Hitch Assist technology is available which helps you hook up to a trailer.
The 2023 Lightning comes in four trims: Pro, XLT, Lariat and Platinum. Starting prices range from $49,995 to $91,995. Four-wheel drive is standard. The Lightning comes only in a five-passenger Crew Cab configuration.
An extended range battery is available on the XLT and Lariat trims, and standard on the Platinum trim.
The standard powertrain is made up of two electric motors and a battery back with a total output of 462 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque. The available extended range 131-kWh battery boosts horsepower to 580 with the same amount of torque. The transmission is a single-speed automatic.
Acceleration is, well, electrifying! It’s swift with the standard powertrain and screaming with the bigger battery! It’s easy to get whiplash when you hit the accelerator! Ford says models with the extended range battery can zoom from zero to 6- mph in less than four seconds. The standard battery is no slouch with a zero to 60 time of 4.1 seconds. It handles and corners better than the gas-powered F-150 due to a lower center of gravity and independent rear suspension. The ride is smooth, even over rough roads. Visibilityis good all the way around. All in all, the Lightning has refined driving dynamics and it’s easy to forget that you’re behind the wheel of a full-size pickup.
The F-150 Lightning can tow 5,000 pounds with the standard range battery and 7,700 pounds with the extended range battery. If you want additional towing capability, there’s an available Max Trailer Tow package that increases towing to 7,700 and 10,000 pounds, respectively. The Platinum trim can tow up to 8,600 pounds. Payload capacity ranges from 1,800 pounds with the standard range battery and 2,000 pounds for the extended range. Of course, towing and hauling means you’ll deplete the battery more quickly.
Every trim comes standard with a Class IV trailer hitch receiver and trailer sway control The available Tow Technology package adds features such as a surround view camera system, trailer brake controller, and trailer back-up and hitch assist.
Every Lightning also comes with some off-road features such as all-terrain tires, skid plates, a locking rear differential, and 8.4 inches of ground clearance.
The Lightning is less efficient than many other electric vehicles. EPA ratings for my tester are 73 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) city and 60 MPGe highway with a combined rating of 66.
The F-250 Lightning has a range of 240 miles with the standard battery pack, and up to 320 miles with the extended range battery pack. The top-of-the-line Platinum trim has a range of up to 300 miles.
Ford says charging times with a Level 2 home charger are 13 to 19 hours to go from 15% to 100%. With Level 3 DC Fast-Charging, it can take 41 to 122 minutes to go from 15% to 80%, depending on the battery and whether the charger is 150 kW or 50 kW.
The Lightning can also power your home. Ford says with a fully charged battery, you’ll have enough juice to provide up to three days of electricity for the average household.
The cabin is roomy, pleasant and quiet. Most materials are decent but there are hard plastics. In general, the F-150 is less upscale than the ritzy Ram, and this is the same story in the Lightning. The dash is dominated by a large infotainment system. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, even on long trips. Passengers in both rows enjoy good leg- and headroom – Ford says it has as much room as the regular F-150.
Standard features include push-button start, rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, auto-dimming rearview mirror, vinyl upholstery, four-way manually adjustable front seats, heated front seats, 12-inch digital instrument cluster, infotainment system with 12-inch horizontal touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, navigation, wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, voice recognition, Wi-Fi hot spot, and automatic high-beam headlights.
Available features include proximity keyless entry, surround-view camera system, cloth, leather, or Nirvana leather upholstery, eight- or 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, power-adjustable passenger seat, driver’s seat memory settings, multicontour and ventilated front seats, heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel, power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel with memory settings, power-adjustable pedals, heated rear seats, infotainment system with 15.5-inch vertical touchscreen, eight- or 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, wireless device charging, ambient interior lighting, moonroof with two panels, console safe, universal garage door opening, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and Phone As A Key, which lets you use your smartphone as a key for the Lightning.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors.
Available driver assistance technologies include stop-and-go adaptive cruise control,
lane-centering assist, evasive steering assist (will steer the vehicle to avoid a crash), Blue Cruise (Ford’s semi-autonomous highway driving system), intersection assist (helps prevent crashes in intersections), traffic-sign recognition, front parking sensors, and park assist.
There are two available infotainment systems, and both use Ford’s user-friendly SYNC 4 system with crisp graphics and quick response times to touch and voice commands. The standard 12-inch system with horizontal orientation has handy physical controls for common functions. The available larger 15.5-inch infotainment system has a screen with vertical orientation.
The Lightning has a 5.5-foot bed with 52.8 cubic feet of space as well as a large frunk (front trunk) with 14.1 cubes – it’s about as large as the trunk in a small car. You can even use the frunk as a cooler, thanks to its water-resistant liner and drain plug. The frunk has four regular power outlets and two USB outlets. Some regular power outlets are also in the bed. A tailgate step and tailgate work surface are available, as are power liftgates for the bed and frunk.
Decent towing and hauling capabilities
Roomy and comfortable cabin
Lots of standard and available features and tech
User-friendly infotainment system
Standard wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Some cabin materials are not upscale
Range depletes quickly with towing and hauling
My tester starts at $96,874. Azure Gray Metallic Tricoat paint is $795. Bedliner is $595. Some options were removed including the smart hitch (less $650), The Ford charge station pro (less $1,295), multicontour seats (less $300), and heated steering wheel (less $140). Destination fee is $1,795 bringing the grand total to $97,674.
Full-size pickups are designed to be work horses, and the F-150 Lightning is ready for work or play, just like its gas- or diesel-powered sibling. Ford has taken the best-selling pick-up in America and made an excellent all-electric version with lightning-fast acceleration, refined handling, a roomy and comfortable cabin, and a whole lot of features and tech.