If you were interested in the Ford F-150 Lightening EV pickup in 2022, you should have grabbed one while you could. The 2023 version has only one change and it is a $12,000 increase to the base price. With a base of $67,974 – the Platinum Lightening still feels like it is totally worth it.
As America’s favorite truck, the Ford F-150 has plenty of fans dedicated to the best-selling domestic pickup. My tester was the all-electric Lightening variant and the Platinum trim with upscale accouterments and extended battery range.
No Look EV
The exterior of the Lightning gives you very little indication it is an EV. If you look closely at the solid nose (no grille), it looks tough with the diamond plating design around the nose and the bold vertical headlamps. The black powder-coated tow rings add another touch of beefiness. The 22-inch rims look classy and are perfect for a vehicle of this size.
Giving Lightning more refinement, as well as easy access to the front and rear seating, is the running board that stretches the entire length of the rocker panel. The rear tailgate was power-operated with an appreciated pop-out step and grab bar. The bed has a non-slip coating, and the side panel provides power outlet options for everything you might need.
The Lightning features 10 120V electrical outlets located around the vehicle, including a 240V plug in the bed.
Much of the Lightning hype comes from its generator that can power anything without the need for a gas-powered version. Ford says the Lightning can power an entire house for up to three days in the event of a power outage. To achieve this, you need the Charge Station Pro installed in conjunction with Ford’s Home Integration System, a $3,895 accessory that does not include installation.
Inside the cabin, you will find all the thoughtful elements that have made F-150s great pickups for work and play. In addition to the large captain’s chairs up front, the three-person bench in the back is spacious enough for three adults. The Platinum edition has sophisticated-looking badging on the front and back on the seats and the console.
A combo of two-tone leather seating, with heating and cooled surfaces, makes getting comfortable easy in both rows. This is a large cabin with leg and headroom plentiful. The windows are huge and add to the open cabin feel.
Thoughtful convenience is everywhere. From the front and rear charging stations featuring three different formats to the A- and B-pillar grab handles to the huge cupholders and dual-storage design in the glove box, everything exists for a very specific reason.
The center console is 12 inches deep, with plenty of room for almost anything you might have to keep out of sight. Capping the console is a two-step, fold-flat area that can be used as a work surface. A fold-flat gear shifter allows it to lie completely flat. The forward portion of the console has slotted spaces for cell phones and a lie-flat charging station.
The star of the interior is the 18-inch vertical touch screen that provides huge colorful icons, speedy response, an easy-to-navigate menu system for climate & audio, and lots of camera options to make sure you have room to move about.
Since this vehicle has no engine, the front trunk (frunk) is a wide-open storage space with an additional trap-door accessible space hidden below. This is where the charging cables are kept. This is the largest “front trunk” in the industry, and it can support 400 pounds of cargo. I really liked the washable surface on the floor and the drain plug for optional cooler use.
The Lightning offers a base 230 miles of driving range, which is nothing to scoff at; however, the upgrade 131 kWh battery pack and its 320 miles of driving range add almost 100 miles of range! Maybe the deciding factor to go with the extended-range battery is the uptick in horsepower from 452 to 580, or the maximum towing from 5,000 pounds to 7,700.
Trust me, there’s something very cool about sitting up as high as you do in the F-150, pressing the accelerator, and silently rocketing to 60 mph in just over 4 seconds. The Lightning is faster than the F-150 Raptor and as fast as the Hellcat V8-powered Ram TRX. The Lightening’s independent rear suspension means it handles as well as the Ram 1500, rides even much smoother, and can handle payload as needed.
Range anxiety affects most people, especially owners of huge vehicles like the F-150. So, who doesn’t want to squelch a bit of anxiety by adding to the range with an upgrade? Once you see the $21,500 price tag to add it, you may find peace with the basic package.
Owners of the Lightening are likely to charge at home on a Level 2 charger. Ford says the Lightning can charge from 15% to 100% in 8 hours. If you are out and about, charging from 15% to 80% on a 150 kWh DC fast charger will take you 41 minutes. The most common public charger is the 50 kWh which can get you loaded up in about 90 minutes.
My extended-range Platinum Lightning tester had a final price just shy of $98k. The lower trim levels are XLT $63,474; and Lariat $75,974. This all seems very expensive for a pickup truck, but the Lightning is no ordinary pickup. When you consider never spending another dime, or any of your valuable time, at the gas station, well, you put a price on that convenience.
John Stein is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. He has more than 25 years of experience driving, testing, and writing about the automotive industry, its latest innovations, and vehicles.