The Lightning isn't officially sold in the UK; but where there's a will, there's a way…
By Cam Tait / Monday, 18 September 2023 / Loading comments
The Ford F-150 is about as American as it gets. It’s a pickup truck, comfortably the best selling ‘car’ in the States because they can do just about everything, built the nation’s oldest and greatest automobile maker and, usually, offered with six-or-eight-cylinder torque monsters capable of pulling everything from trailers to trains. So you can imagine the uproar when Ford announced that the best-selling pickup in the United States would be gaining an all-electric variant for its 14th generation.
It’s not like the Lightning purpose was to wipe the combustion models off the range; it’s simply there as a low-emissions offering to sit alongside the V6s and V8s. So while the $49,995 (or £40,000) entry-level price tag has been off putting for some, because you can buy an F-150 for peanuts in its home country, the F-Series hasn’t gone all hoity-toity as a result. You can still haul tonnes of stuff to your heart’s content with a combustion truck for as little as $33,000 (that’s £26,000 here, or just a fraction more than Ben’s Dacia Duster long-termer), but the Lightning has meant that Ford now has a foot in the door in what’s set to be a booming corner of the pickup market. It beat Tesla to the punch, too, though the Cybertruck is so late to the party it’ll probably arrive once the music’s died and everyone’s either left or passed out.
Unlike the Cybertruck, which is especially divisive thanks to its wedge-like monolithic styling and because no one can agree on when it’ll arrive, the F-150 is, well, just a truck that happens to be powered by electricity. It looks like any other F-Series pickup, only with the front grille blanked off and a portrait-style infotainment screen similar to that of the Mustang Mach-E. No gimmicks, no cyberpunk-inspired styling.
What you do get, however, is truck that gets pretty close to the piston powered F-150s while, on paper, being a touch kinder on the environment. It’s capable of towing 4.5 tonnes of, er, stuff, and can haul a smidgen over a tonne in its cargo bed. Yes, it’s not quite as capable as the ICE versions, but one advantage the Lightning has over the others is that it has a 408-litre front boot – or ‘frunk’ as they say across the pond – in place of a V6 or V8. There are also ten power outlets dotted across the vehicle, nine of which are 120V and one 240V socket in the cargo bed, meaning you can go anywhere and still have something to plug your chainsaw into. What more do you need?
How about 571hp for Extended Range models, which will get you from 0-60mph in under four seconds – not far off the performance of the monstrous Raptor R version? A 300-mile range is enough to get you to the local shops and back in rural America, but that’ll get you halfway to John O’Groats from Land’s End here.
‘But Ford isn’t selling the Lightning in the UK’, I hear you protest. And you’d be right, but as many as three are said to have been imported here, and this is one of them. It’s one of the higher-end Lariat editions, packing a full leather interior and an eight-speaker Bang and Olufsen sound system. Factor in the import duties that the previous owner would have forked out for, and the £129,950 price tag begins to make a bit more sense. Besides, it’ll be an incredibly rare sight in the UK, and a terrifying one if you happen to meet one face-to-face on a single-track lane in the depths of the English countryside. Of course, if you fancy some US truck action with good old piston power, there’s always the dinkier Ranger Raptor that’s 50 per cent cheaper and only 10 per cent less ominous.
SPECIFICATION | FORD F-150 LIGHTNING
Engine: Dual permanent magnet motors
Transmission: single-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power (hp): 571@0rpm
Torque (lb ft): 775@0rpm
CO2: 0g/km (local emissions)
Year registered: 2022
Recorded mileage: N/A
Price new: $69,995 (US)
Yours for: £129,950
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