Auto Repair and Service

Ford F-150 Lightning Evaluation | Greatest Truck for Biking

The Takeaway: The Lightning is polished, quiet, quick, and one hell of a truck for cyclists. With a stable vary and tons of consolation, it is excellent for road-tripping. Use the truck as the bottom camp for e-mountain bike rides or as the final word shuttle truck. Simply do not use it for towing.

  • The Lightning has the ability, area, and vary for many biking street and day journeys.
  • Can cost e-bikes on the trailhead and on the go.
  • Roomy frunk is a helpful and safe place to retailer biking gear, instruments, and equipment.

Value: $99,000 (as examined)
6,893 lb.

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Final summer time, I used to be introduced with a novel alternative to borrow a Ford 150 Lightning for every week. I took it as a result of pickups make nice bike vehicles and I needed to see what it was wish to stay the biking life with an EV within the mountains of Colorado.

I’m not a automobile reviewer, so this can be a have a look at the Lightning from the attitude of a bike owner. If you wish to learn a professional automobile reviewer’s take, I recommend colleague Matt Crisara of Fashionable Mechanics. Yow will discover his overview right here, and his writeup of utilizing the Lightning as a cell energy station right here.

ford f150 lightning

Like plenty of cyclists, I personal a automobile. However whereas I do discover autos fascinating, biking is my pastime and the place most of my time, consideration, and cash goes. The first function of the automobile I personal is to help my biking. I like a dependable automobile, a sensible one, and one that may take care of the realities and rigors of driving on and off the pavement within the considerably remoted 4 Corners area of southwestern Colorado. And it have to be an excellent bike automobile.

Not all vehicles make nice bike vehicles. I believe the defining qualities of a motorcycle nice bike automobile are: Area for all of your bike crap (garments, pump, restore equipment, moveable stand, and so forth.), roomy sufficient to take alongside associates (and all their bike crap), a sensible method to carry your bikes (more and more a hitch as rooflines get taller and bikes get heavier-most, particularly e-bikes and mountain bikes), snug seats for lengthy drives, sufficient energy to stand up hills, and large enough to put down considerably comfortably and sleep. Personally, I’ve discovered that pickup vans and station wagons make the very best bike vehicles.

Like plenty of you, I’ve been taking note of the growing variety of electrical autos on the market to the general public. Not simply due to curiosity, however as a result of it appears virtually inevitable that I’ll personal an electrical automobile in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later.

Whereas EVs make plenty of sense for shorter journeys and extra populated areas with good charging infrastructure, out in my space—the place the distances are better, the hills are larger, and the populations are sparse and unfold out—EVs nonetheless increase plenty of questions. There are many locations out right here the place you may cease and put a couple of hundred miles of vary in an inner combustion automobile’s tank in a matter of minutes. Discovering a spot to rapidly prime off a battery earlier than you drive a great distance up a steep, unpaved dust street to entry a trailhead (with no mobile protection) is one other matter.

To learn the way the Lightning fared as a motorcycle automobile, I grabbed a using buddy (my spouse), stuffed the Lightning with a bunch of bikes (two mountain bikes and two e-mountain bikes), a protracted weekend’s value of drugs, and take a street journey from my dwelling in Durango, Colorado to Crested Butte for some playtime. Mainly, a typical summer time using weekend within the lifetime of a motorcycle nerd. Right here’s what I realized.

ford f150 lightning

Loaded up and prepared for adventures.

Matt Phillips

My Ford F-150 Lightning Tester

Ford delivered me an F-150 Lightning Platinum that stickered, on the time, round $94,000. However Ford has since raised costs, so the identical construct retails for about $99,000 at present.

Whoa! That’s like six and a half Specialised S-Works Turbo Levos.

Except for a decked-out Sportsmobile camper I as soon as borrowed, that is (by an enormous margin) the costliest automobile I’ve ever pushed. The most costly automobile I’ve ever owned value a few quarter of this Lightning. Whereas I definitely don’t have the means to spend practically 100 grand on a automobile, a few of y’all do. And truthfully, I say good on ya. Lightning fashions begin at $56,000 (about eight grand over November 2022’s common new automobile value) although incentives—till they expire, anyway—do assist carry the value down.

My Lightning tester had just about each choice Ford provides. Most notably, my take a look at automobile had the bigger 131-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery (the usual battery is 98 kWh). That drivetrain is nice for 580 horsepower with a monstrous 775-pound foot of torque. It additionally carries a claimed vary of round 300 miles (XLT and Lariat fashions have a 320-mile vary) from a completely charged battery (extra on that under)

Stomp the accelerator and this hefty (6,893 kilos) battery-on-wheels reaches 60mph in round 4 seconds. And whereas that’s objectively fast, it feels otherworldly as a result of the Lightning is so clean and quiet, whereas the linear-pull of the electrical motors presses you into the seat cushions. I’ve been in some fairly highly effective vehicles in my life, most notably an 800-horsepower Challenger Hellcat, however I’ve not skilled something like the best way the Lightning accelerates.

ford f150 lightning

The Lightning is quiet, snug, and simple to drive.

Matt Phillips

Dwelling That Bike Life with the F-150 Lightning

A pickup with a frunk is a dream bike automobile. An open mattress for simple bike hauling (and a spot to put down and sleep), plus a large, safe, and weatherproof space up entrance in your gear (particularly your moist gear). There’s loads of room left over for a restore stand, instruments, pump, and extra. And in the event you’re driving out to a trailhead with a bunch of buddies, the frunk retains the passenger space free of luggage so there’s extra room in your associates. The frunk’s lip—which sits decrease than the Lightning’s tailgate—can also be a pleasant place to relaxation your butt whilst you’re pulling on sneakers and socks.

Driving the Lightning is extraordinarily nice. There are oodles of energy, however the throttle is clean and simple to modulate, and the brakes are spectacular. The steering is gentle and slop-free, although lacks a little bit of suggestions. Dealing with for each day driving is okay contemplating the size, width, and weight of this beast. Nevertheless, there’s no hiding that weight and measurement on steep and curvy mountain passes, the place it felt a bit lumbering. However this isn’t a sports activities automobile and truthfully, I used to be effective with taking it a bit sluggish up and down passes as a result of it prolonged my vary. The trip is kind of good too contemplating it’s a truck. General, it was onerous for me to fault the Lightning’s consolation or driving manners.

crested butte colorado

Crested Butte’s well-known Reno Divide, Flag Creek, Bear Creek, Deadman’s Gulch loop is open to e-bikes. It’s a should do.

Matt Phillips

Entry to many trailheads in Crested Butte, and lots of locations out West, requires driving down dust roads; generally for fairly some time. The expertise off-pavement was a lot the identical because it was on: clean, quiet, and cozy. Whereas this factor isn’t arrange as a rock-crawling, river-fording, overlander (and my tester had decidedly pavement-oriented tires on it), the bottom clearance is respectable sufficient. I had no challenges getting up and down some mildly tough, albeit dry, roads. Simply make sure you will have sufficient battery to get out of wherever you get into. You possibly can’t simply pour some fuel from a jerry can into the Lightning: If the battery dies, you have to be towed to a charger.

The entrance seats—extremely adjustable, heated, ventilated, and massaging—have been fantastically snug and helped the five-hour pulls go by rapidly. And if you wish to discuss luxurious for a bike owner, firing up the massaging seats after a protracted, onerous trip ranks means up there. The vibration-free and hushed cabin was luxurious and made long-distance drives virtually pleasurable. I’ve by no means felt more energizing on the finish of a protracted drive as I did within the Lightning. It was simple to carry conversations, and the audio system sounded nice taking part in each music and podcasts.

ford f150 lightning

It’s not an overland rig, however the Lightning remains to be a fantastic truck for taking part in within the mountains.

Matt Phillips

With the Lightning’s onboard energy, tenting and using with e-bikes reaches a brand new stage. You possibly can energy lights, stoves, coolers, and all types of equipment from the Lightning’s 11 retailers—all with no noisy generator—and stay a deluxe car-camping expertise.

In the event you’re using e-bikes, you should use the Lightning to recharge and maintain the enjoyable going. The Lightning’s 131 kWh battery is the equal of 172 Pivot Shuttle LT 756Wh batteries, so charging e-bikes makes solely a small dent within the truck’s battery. You possibly can even cost an e-bike whereas driving, so even in the event you overlook to cost your bike the evening earlier than a trip, you would possibly nonetheless be able to go by the point you arrive on the trailhead.

ford f150 lightning

Shops galore for all of your digital equipment.

Matt Phillips

With its consolation, room, options, and vary, the Lightning is a badass shuttle automobile. If it’s a muddy day, you may carry alongside an influence washer to maintain your bikes working easily. You possibly can grill some brats and veggies at lunch, and you’ll maintain your electrical cooler working so your snacks are contemporary and your beers are chilly all day.

Oh, and one small however superior factor about an EV: The warmth and defroster are able to go instantaneously. No shivering within the automobile ready for the engine to heat up on a chilly morning or in the event you get caught within the rain on a trip.

ford f150 lightning

You possibly can cost an e-bike at your campsite, or whilst you drive.

Matt Phillips

Going into my time with the Lightning I used to be wreaked by vary anxiousness. “Refueling” an EV is a special expertise and takes for much longer than refueling an IC automobile. However I discovered that with a little bit of thought and planning, vary—even out right here within the Mountain West the place the charging infrastructure is extra restricted—on street journeys wasn’t a lot of a difficulty. And the vary for day journeys is virtually a non-issue. Although I’ll say once more: I used to be not towing.

Though I used to be skeptical that an EV pickup would make an excellent bike automobile, the Lightning alleviated most of my considerations. Scrubbing them away so completely that I’m an EV convert. I discovered an EV preferable to an IC automobile in virtually each means and am wanting ahead to the day once I personal one. So, definitively, the Ford F150 Lightning is a superb truck for a bike owner.

ford f150 lightning

The Lightning is an ideal companion for e-bike rides.

Matt Phillips

Ford F-150 Lightning—Vary

Ford claims a 300-mile vary for the Lightning with the extended-range battery geared up in my take a look at truck. However identical to your IC automobile’s miles per gallon fluctuates based mostly on how and the place you drive, and lots of different situations so do an EV’s vary.

Sadly, I by accident nuked most of my accrued charging and vary data from the FordPass App once I returned the truck, so I don’t have many specifics apart from a couple of photographs and a few notes. Right here’s what I do know.

I drove from my dwelling in Durango, Colorado to Crested Butte through Lake Metropolis. The journey is about 260 miles with round 18,000 toes of elevation achieve because of a number of main passes alongside the best way (notably Wolf Creek and Slumgullion). I began with a full cost and after we stopped for lunch in Gunnison, the sprint confirmed sufficient vary to make the ultimate 25-mile push to Crested Butte. Even so, I discovered a 7.2 kW charger close to the restaurant and plugged the Lightning in whereas we ate so as to add a couple of extra miles. For the return journey, I took the extra typical route by Montrose (190 miles, 15,500 toes of climbing) and simply made it dwelling with the sprint displaying 78 miles of vary remaining.

ford f150 lightning

Loads of vary left after the drive dwelling from Crested Butte.

Matt Phillips

The journeys have been made with two adults packing loads of clothes and equipment for a protracted weekend of using: A motorcycle restore stand and instruments, 4 mountain bikes—two acoustic, two electrical, and the air con working. I transported the bikes by hanging them over the tailgate. In line with the Ford consultant I spoke with, the Lightning’s engineers felt that technique of transport was extra aerodynamic than any hitch rack association.

General, the Lightning’s displayed vary data appeared spot-on. I used the onboard navigation system for lengthy drives, and it appeared sensible sufficient to think about not solely the size of the journey, but in addition the numerous passes I used to be to traverse when offering journey time, battery use, and remaining cost.

One of many niftier issues in regards to the nav system is the way it calculates routes. In case your journey is longer than the obtainable vary, it builds a route that diverts you to charging stations on the most opportune time, and elements charging time into your whole journey time.

ford f150 lightning

Conserving the Lightning charged isn’t a giant deal.

Matt Phillips

Ford F-150 Lightning—Charging

Unsurprisingly, charging and charging infrastructure turned out to be the largest problem throughout my time with the Lightning.

The Lightning, like many EVs, solely prices the battery to 80 % until you dig into the settings and inform it you desire a one hundred pc cost. The first motive for the 80-percent delicate cap is it maximizes the battery’s life; charging the cells to one hundred pc deteriorates them extra rapidly. That implies that although the utmost vary is round 300 miles with a one hundred pc cost, most days you’re working with a good 240-mile most vary. The opposite lesson is the cost price slows because the battery takes on extra juice. And whereas the cost to 80 % goes rapidly, the final 20 % is way slower. Charging velocity can also be temperature dependent and slows in extremely popular or very chilly climate.

ford f150 lightning range

Charging occasions range relying on the charger.


I didn’t have a DC quick charger at my home, however with one, the EV expertise ranges up exponentially as a result of you may cost your automobile at dwelling, and have it all the time topped up in your journeys. Many automobile manufacturers supply a free dwelling charger in the event you purchase one in all their vehicles, and a few energy firms—mine is one in all them—supply a free charger and set up credit score.

Ford contains its extra highly effective 80 amp Cost Station Professional with the acquisition of a Lightning with an prolonged vary battery (it’s $1,310 in any other case, set up isn’t included). The cool factor about this unit is its capacity to reverse and makes use of the Lightning’s battery to energy your private home within the occasion of a blackout.

Ford 2023 Ford® F-150 Lightning

2023 Ford® F-150 Lightning

Ford 2023 Ford® F-150 Lightning
Credit score: Matt Phillips

There’s additionally a smaller Cellular Energy Wire contained in the truck which plugs right into a 120 or 240-volt outlet. I didn’t get an opportunity to attempt it in 240V mode, however I did test it out along with your primary 120V dwelling outlet. And, wow, it’d be comical if it wasn’t so unhappy. With the truck’s battery at 45 % I plugged in, and the sprint estimated it might be over 5 days earlier than the Lightning was totally charged.

In these nonetheless early days of EV charging infrastructure, discovering charging stations whilst you’re out and about may be an journey. Charging stations, not less than based mostly on my expertise, may be in some bizarre and out-of-the-way spots—usually public parking heaps, close to municipal buildings, and generally parks. And since charging takes some time, you have to busy your self for a bit whereas the automobile prices. That’s in the event you’re not ready for the charger to liberate, or if the charger isn’t out of service, which appears to occur with alarming regularity.

ford f150 lightning

Ford’s app notifies you of the Lightning’s cost standing.

Matt Phillips

Earlier than my journey dwelling from Crested Butte, I wanted to prime off the Lightning’s battery. Most chargers are networked with their standing obtainable by checking an app. After I searched, I discovered eight charging stations on the town. Of the eight, three have been down, 4 had Teslas charging on them, and one was open. The open charger was the one 62.5 kW quick charger on the town (the others have been 6.6 kW Stage 2 chargers). Nevertheless, along with the electrical energy value, this charger had a 25 cents per minute parking surcharge. It took one hour and 55 minutes to place about 55 kWh into the truck which value me $11.04 in electrical energy and $28.86 in parking. Many chargers begin a per-minute price as soon as charging stops—to encourage drivers to maneuver alongside so others can use the station—however this per-minute price whereas charging is much less frequent.

Although charging was a little bit of a headache, total, it was much more easy than I imagined. Even on a really busy weekend in a small touristy city with a restricted variety of chargers, I used to be nonetheless capable of cost the Lightning once I needed and had loads of vary for driving out to trailheads far and close to. I count on charging infrastructure will solely proceed to get higher, EV ranges will solely get longer, and charging occasions will solely get shorter.

Ford F-150 Lightning—Towing

Now, onto one final subject. Throughout my time with the Lightning, I used to be requested rather a lot of questions in regards to the truck. And those that got here up most frequently have been about towing vary. I didn’t tow something with the Lightning however based mostly on what I’ve learn/heard/seen, I don’t assume it’s suited to be a tow automobile for greater than native journeys with smaller trailers. The ability and know-how are there, it’s simply the vary/charging that’s a difficulty.

Basically, towing at freeway speeds cuts its vary by half (give or take a handful of miles) relying on exterior air temperature, trailer weight, trailer aerodynamics, and hills. Nevertheless, the Lightning can regen on downhills, so if there’s a good downhill on the opposite facet of the climb, you would possibly get some quantity of the misplaced vary again.

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