2023 Ford F-150 Lightning EV road test

The Ford F-150 Lightning is Ford’s first fully electric pickup truck.
While not the first into the marketplace, the F-150 Lightning was the first mass-market manufacturer to offer a battery electric pickup at dealers across Canada.
2023 Ford F-150 LightningThe effort to produce the Lightning could not have been undertaken lightly as has been the best selling vehicle in Canada for many of the past 20 years. At the core, the F-150 Lightning still had to be all things that F-150 buyers require or desire to maintain their loyal fan base.
The design of the 2023 Ford Lightning has the same classic aesthetic of the current F-150 lineup with the traditional Ford front grille and boxy shape. Some subtle functional differences have been added, which identify it as a modern Electrical Vehicle (EV). The bold LED perimeter lighting around three sides of the solid panel front grille and aerodynamic rims are the most obvious clue to the Lightnings’ electrical dependency. 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning interior
In terms of basic utility, the Lightning is only available in crew-cab format that seats 5 passengers comfortably. A traditional 5.5 foot cargo bed that has all the novel nooks and crannies that increase utility in the other F-150s plus AC electrical outlets that allow Lightning owners to power items such as tools, entertainment devices and lights. With some optional equipment and extra hardware installed at your home, you can even draw power from your fully charged battery to power your house.
The absence of a front mounted engine has allowed for the inclusion of a “frunk”, something typically seen in rear engined vehicles. The front trunk storage area adds 400 litres of total cargo volume that can be used to store tools, the charging cable or even beverages as the floor is fitted with a drain. The space also includes 4 electrical outlets, a pair of USB ports and can supply 2.4 kW of power. An additional 400 pounds of cargo payload can be stored in this front area.
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning cargo bedInside the cabin, the most dramatic feature unique to the Lightning would be the centre mounted 15.5 inch LCD infotainment screen. The large touchscreen panel will access most of the settings and controls for the Lightning F150. A rotary knob is centred at the bottom of the panel but just be careful to not touch the screen as you rotate the dial as it will most likely change the parameter you are adjusting.
The Lightning’s utility is further underscored by its spacious and adaptable interior. Storage spaces abound throughout and the rear seat bench, lifts up to allow for under-seat hidden storage.
A keen eye will note a small lip inside the rear doors of the Lightning’s cab, evidence of the floor mounted battery powering the full-sized pick-up.
The Lightning is powered by a pair of electric motors, one mounted on each axle, capable of producing up to 563 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque. Combined with the instantaneous nature of the torque availability of electric power-trains, this creates a surge of power one doesn’t expect from a pickup truck. Ford estimates acceleration in the range of 4 seconds from 0-100 km/h. The platform will also tow up to 10,000 pounds when equipped with the extended range battery and Max trailer towing package.
As indicated, the F-150 Lightning does come with a choice of battery options. The standard battery is a
98 kWh lithium-ion unit, with a 131 kWh extended range option. The upgraded battery is available on all trim levels. Range estimates vary from 480 to 515 kms for the larger battery to around 380 kms for the smaller battery. Our tester was a Lariat trim level with the extended range battery.
I knew that Ford would supply an optional mobile charger with all their vehicles but with standard 110V charging I was fearful of how I’d be able to replace the energy being drained from the battery. So great was the anxiety, I actually had my garage wired with a 220V outlet to accommodate the charger.
In real world driving a full charge was showing me a range of almost 550 kms. In terms of percentage of charge, my 100 km round trip, mostly highway commute drained about 20% of the battery capacity, so it all seemed to line up. The $19,600 extended range battery option includes the Home Charge Pro station that allows for the Lightning to reverse power flow and energize your home when needed. The packaging on our tester had the Home Charging Pro removed with a net deduction of $1580 from the option total.
The F-150 Lightning is 4 wheel-drive by default with the dual motor/axle design. The drive-train is computer controlled and comes with multiple drive mode settings. Drivers have to access the controls area of the large touchscreen to find the drive modes, then choose between Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul, or Off-Road. The lack of an analog control makes it a bit of a chore to change drive modes as conditions change.2023 Ford F-150 Lightning tailgate
On the road the Lightning is a blast. The acceleration is intoxicating, handling is impressive given the size of the vehicle. The large battery laid out under the cabin floor gives the vehicle a low centre of gravity which improves body lean and overall handling, to a point. Push the Lightning hard and you’ll encounter the effects of its almost 3,000 kgs curb weight wanting to obey the laws of inertia and keep going straight.
Overall, the is an ambitious effort from Ford to built a battery electric full-sized pick-up truck. The F-150 Lightning retains the spirit and character of the classic pick-up but with zero emission driving. The success of this package means that supply of the electrified F-150 is extremely tight. The Ford website warns of having to order future model years production when browsing options and pricing. For detailed information and current pricing on the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning please visit the Ford Canada website.