Ford has been clear about its electrified work vehicle aspirations, starting with the introduction of its E-Transit last fall. Now, Ford is turning its first all-electric full-size pickup truck into a vehicle meant for hard labor. Say, hello to the Ford F-150 Lightning Pro.
Ford introduces this work truck hot on the heels of the consumer F-150 Lightning, which made its debut last week.
While Publisher Tim Esterdahl discusses the ins and outs of the Pro’s cost analysis in his YouTube video, I’m going to focus on five features that make this a great work truck.
As we recently discovered with the Mustang Mach-E, charging can cause major headaches in terms of timing and accessibility – both of which would be a problem for a work truck that needs to minimize downtime.
So, the 300-mile, extended-range version of the F-150 Lightning Pro will include not only dual chargers but also an 80-amp charging station, which will enable 100% overnight charging, as well as 15% to 80% charge capability in 41 minutes.
While this may not completely combat range anxiety, all of this goes a long way – especially considering, according to Ford Motor Co., 95% of its commercial customers travel less than 174 miles in a day.
The idea of range anxiety is real, and when the functionality of your truck translates into money made vs. money lost, that means making sure your work truck doesn’t run out of juice is important.
Sync4 is standard on the F-150 Lightning Pro, which gives both operators and managers access to the Intelligent Range feature. This will take geography, weather and payload into account to calculate the most accurate range as well as plan the most fuel efficient routes.
If your range does get low, the system will then map out the nearest available charging station, which you can customize to find only DC Fast Charging locations.
In addition to an interesting configuration with easy belt-line accessibility, the front trunk (aka frunk) offers 14.1 cubic feet of cargo volume and can carry up to 400 pounds. In case you were wondering, this is enough to hold 8 bags of Quikrete.
While this lockable, water-tight space is a great space to store tools or supplies, it doubles as a power supply. The 2.4-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard is standard in the F-150 Lightning Pro, and this translates to two USB ports and four 120-volt outlets in the frunk – as well as two more 120-volt outlets in the cabin and two in the bed.
Because this probably sparks questions of how power usage would affect range, the system immediately re-calculates range as power is used. And if Pro Power Onboad detects that the vehicle is reaching a range point where it won’t be able to get to a charging station, it will shut down automatically.
In addition to the base 2.4-kilowatt Pro Power Onboard, a 9.6-kilowatt version is also available. In addition to the previously mentioned outlets, it will add two more 120-volt outlets in the truck bed as well as a 240-volt outlet.
Because Ford loves its relatable analogies, the automaker says this is enough power to “rip up” 30 miles of half-inch plywood with a single charge of the extended range battery.
In terms of real commercial applications, this might be the most interesting feature on F-150 Lightning Pro.
The truck will come standard with a 4G LTE modem, and while it will need to be activated at an extra cost, you won’t need any extra hardware or software to gain access to Ford Telematics (EV and otherwise) to help businesses optimize costs and uptime.
In addition to offering managers a driver’s score card, live geo tracking and trip histories, it will also show energy usage/waste as well as give fleet management alerts.
With the EV Telematics, managers can monitor the performance of a specific vehicle.
For drivers, the Telematics will offer in-cab driver coaching for efficiency as well as remote vehicle pre-conditioning.
While the available features on the F-150 Lighting Pro are really cool and range anxiety will less acute with the added tech, an EV full-size work truck is still going to be a hard sell – and most of that has to do with, well, the bottom line.
The price difference between an electric truck and a gasoline truck, base to base, will be about $11K, and as Esterdahl shows in his video, it’ll be hard to make that money back over the life of that fleet vehicle – which is typically no more than 5 years.
While Ford postulates cost savings due to fuel, maintenance and more efficient operations, there is no real-world data to back it up. So, we see early adopters and forward-thinking companies being the first to purchase the F-150 Lightning Pro for their businesses. As for the rest, well, we’ll just have to wait and see.