We also have a better idea of how Ford is able to offer the Ford F-150 Lightning lineup of electric pickup trucks at a surprisingly low price: starting at $41,669 (with destination) for the standard battery and $51,669 with the extended range. The sheer volume of F-Series sales—about 900,000 a year—provides huge savings by leveraging economies of scale. Ford kept the dimensions of the SuperCrew cab and 5.5-foot bed of the Lightning and Lightning Pro the same as their gasoline counterparts so that there is a giant shared parts bin to pull from.
The other key: Ford has a number of services it will offer customers, and while many will appeal to retail customers, it is the commercial fleet owner or business truck operator who stands to benefit the most from data and software-based services designed for maximum uptime and productivity. And Ford will benefit from the subscription and user fees.
Ford Prioritizing Commercial Customers
Under Ford CEO Jim Farley, serving the needs of commercial customers is a priority. Ford has a 43 percent share of the Class 1-7 commercial full-size truck and van market in the U.S. and forecasts demand will exceed 1 million annual units by 2030.
The F-150 Lightning was designed with the needs of commercial customers in mind from the outset, North America general manager of Commercial Business Ted Cannis said. Maintenance costs should go down 40 percent over eight years and 100,000 miles, he said, while the truck retains the same residual value as the current F-Series. The 5.5-foot bed is ready for easy upfitting and keeping the same dimensions and mounting points as the comparable gasoline-powered truck allows owners to use their existing accessories in the new electric trucks.
“This will be a viable, profitable business proposition for Ford,” Cannis said.
Range of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
The Lightning Pro is available with a standard battery that provides 230 miles of range from a single charge and comes with a 32-amp, 120/240-volt AC mobile charger that can take up to 14 hours to recharge the truck.
The extended-range battery comes with an 80-amp charger for 240-volt Level 2 overnight charging and increases the range to 300 miles while reducing charge time to eight hours. DC fast charging can top up the truck from 15-80 percent in less than 45 minutes.
The range is likely plenty for most U.S. business customers; Ford’s data shows that for 95 percent of customers, daily travel needs average less than 174 miles. Even still, charging must be available at home and onsite to keep businesses running.
Performance, Payload, Towing for F-150 Lightning Pro
In terms of performance, both sizes of battery produce 775 lb-ft of torque and horsepower is 426 with the smaller battery and 563 hp with the extended-range pack. Payload is up to 2,000 pounds for both, and Onboard Scales uses the truck’s sensors to estimate payload. With the standard battery, the Lightning Pro can tow up to 5,000 pounds, or 7,700 pounds with the Max Trailer Tow package. With the larger battery, towing capability with the trailer package goes to 10,000 pounds.
In addition to the 5.5-foot bed, the lockable front trunk (or “frunk”) is rated to carry 400 pounds, and its 14.1 cubic feet can handle eight bags of concrete mix. The frunk was designed to keep dry items dry and secure, like tools, but if things get messy, there is a drain in the lower part of the cargo hold that we like to call the “sub-frunk.”
The SuperCrew cab holds five passengers and has easy-to-clean vinyl seats. It does not have the giant 15.5-inch touchscreen of higher-trim Lightnings but does have a 12.0-inch touchscreen and 12.0-inch productivity screen. Customers can plan their routes, including stops for charging, and adjust range based on weather, payload, driving habits, trailer load, and traffic.
Riding to the job site should be more comfortable with the first independent rear suspension for the F-150. The inboard motor design means less unsprung mass for better braking, better handling, and more durability for rough terrain and repeated longer usage. If things go awry, engineers kept the full-size spare mounted under the bed. The Lightning Pro rides on 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires.
Lightning Pro Powers the Work Site
Retail customers will appreciate that the 9.6 kW of power available for offboarding makes for a great tailgate party or hopping campsite, and can act as a backup generator if you lose power at home. But the commercial customer can likely appreciate it more. The truck can power tools and lights at the worksite, however remote. There are 11 power outlets, including four 120-volt plugs in the frunk and more in the cabin and bed, as well as USB ports throughout.
The new electrical architecture of the truck makes it easier to send wireless updates in the future. Over-the-air updates will be used to fix issues, upgrade existing features, and add new ones.
Connected Vehicles and Helpful Data
A more connected vehicle can help businesses that are already using data to manage uptime and productivity. Ford will offer customers a tool to calculate ownership costs that factor in purchase or lease, tax incentives, and energy costs. Ford Telematics will provide data insights into the uptime costs of all vehicles, not just Fords. Companies can also buy some of Ford’s data outright and incorporate it into their own telematics.
Customers will be able to activate 4G LTE modem connectivity to precondition the cab, as well as track their energy consumption, charge speed, and distance to empty. The service can also provide alerts if the vehicle should be charging and isn’t, and then make it easier to access it. Payment and invoices can be done through Ford E-Telematics, and drivers will have charging reports for reimbursement when they charge the company vehicle at home.
We Know What You Did Today
On the Big Brother side, fleet managers can use telematics for live tracking of vehicles with geofencing, monitor their health, odometer readings, energy history, driver behavior, warning lights, and diagnostic trouble codes. Future services will allow managers to lock and unlock vehicles remotely.
There are 644 electric-vehicle-certified Ford Commercial Vehicle Centers in the U.S. equipped to provide local sales, service, and financing as well as online services for these customers who essentially need 24/7 support to avoid downtime.
Commercial vehicle buyers want turnkey delivery to their business doorstep and support during the transition from trucks with combustion engines to electric vehicles. Given that the average large business turns over 10-15 percent of its fleet every year, it will be operating a mixed fleet for many years. Tools and equipment must be designed for use in all of them.