F-150 Lightning test: Does Ford’s huge electric pickup have a future in France?

Ford brought the electric pickup called the F-150 Lightning back to Europe for a few weeks. The opportunity for us to get started quickly and ask ourselves about the arrival of this model in Europe.

Ford has dared to offer its large F-150 pickup (or pickup) in an electric version. He even did it before Tesla launched its famous Cybertruck. If the F-150 Lightning doesn’t immediately hit the millions of copies of previous thermal versions, it’s starting to find its audience with over 11,000 recorded sales in 5 months and over 200,000 pre-orders.

The different generations of Ford F-series models are a true institution on the other side of the Atlantic. This reference has been the best seller in this category for 44 years in the United States. Aside from some imports, the F-150 is not present in Europe. In addition to its very American size, its large engines were a brake on its arrival in Europe. Now that it’s 100% electric available, would it be possible to see it land in France?

The idea of ​​the F-150 Lightning in Europe is not entirely ruled out by Ford

Do we really need an electric pickup that size in Europe? Probably not, pick-ups are a niche market, mainly used by professionals in our European countries. Unlike in the US, where an F-150 is one of the common domestic vehicles, in Europe the nearly 20-foot-long pickup is struggling to find its place.

The 5.9m long Ford F-150 Lightning // Source: Raphaelle Baut

But to achieve the goals set by the European Union for 2035, personal and professional vehicles only in zero emission, many products will be needed to meet everyone’s needs. For the pick-up category, the Ford F-150 Lightning has its place, pending the hypothetical arrival in Europe of a Rivian R1T or a Tesla Cybertruck.

The Ford F-150 Lightning encounters the same problem as other electric vehicles like the big Hummer EV. With a minimum of 2.8 tonnes with the “small” 98 kWh battery and over 3.1 tonnes with the largest of the 131 kWh batteries. Once the dump truck is loaded, the weight of the machine can exceed 3.5 tons, which requires a truck license to drive it. This will necessarily limit potential drivers to take the wheel. It is essentially this subtlety that can complicate the situation regarding the arrival of such a machine in Europe.

Rear tipper of the F-150 Lightning with its sockets and easy access // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Rear tipper of the F-150 Lightning with its sockets and easy access // Source: Raphaelle Baut

Sitting behind the wheel of the Ford F-150 Lightning

We quickly understand why Americans are attached to your F-150. On board, you are as comfortable as you are in a living room. With the difference that this soft armchair can also take us from point A to point B quickly and quietly. Passengers, front and rear, enjoy more than comfortable space and dominate the road.

F-150 Lightning platinum finish interior // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Interior of the F-150 Lightning Platinum finish // Source: Raphaelle Baut

Inside, we find the big central display we know from the Ford Mustang Mach-e. Here you will find your place in this great interior space. As it is a vehicle designed to appeal to Americans, the central armrest transforms into an ideal tablet to put a computer, make a budget or eat your burger with your fries protected from the weather. For this, the gear lever folds down thanks to an electronic control, so that nothing interferes with the tablet. It’s enigmatic, but clever.

If the high finish, Platinum, is quite opulent, it remains a suitable vehicle for American customers. We are still a long way from the interior finishing qualities that we are looking for in Europe. This isn’t a premium sedan, it’s a utility vehicle.

Amazing track performance

The Ford F-150 Lightning is available in two versions:

F-150 Lightning normal battery extended battery
Powerful 452 hp 580 hp
Couple 1050 Nm 1050 Nm
Usable battery capacity 98 kWh 131 kWh
Range (US EPA cycle) About. 386km from 482 to 515 km

Here we will not talk about the fuel consumption of the Ford F-150 Lightning. Such a vehicle will never be able to offer record autonomy. Furthermore, far from being a road test like the others, we were above all able to test a stopped start and laps on a test track, which did not necessarily spare the pick-up consumption.

The 0 to 100 km/h is also quite confusing. Without being literally glued to the driver’s seat, you can enjoy the boost of acceleration. Power and torque, transmitted to the 4-wheel drive, are there. When that’s compared to a 3-ton weight to move, the F-150 Lightning lends itself to the exercise with surprising ease. It will take more than a great vitamin V8 to bring about a similar sensation.

Behind the wheel of the Ford F-150 Lightning // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Behind the wheel of the Ford F-150 Lightning // Source: Raphaelle Baut

The F-150 Lightning is not intended to become a racing car, despite its advertised 580bhp, but it was at a track at Ford’s test center that we tested it. Here again, the contrast is stark between the machine’s size and mass, compared to how easy it is to hold and steer the winding trail. Ultra-power steering, electronic aids, working suspensions, it doesn’t really feel like driving a “truck”, as Quebecers call this category of vehicle.

Launched on the road, nothing distinguishes it from another large SUV, except that once launched in our villages we run the risk of being faced with the non-ideal turning radius and the clearly unsuitable dimensions for home. But after all, it’s the size of a utility vehicle, it just doesn’t look like it.

The size of the front trunk is a real surprise

Rear tipper of the F-150 Lightning with its sockets and easy access // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Rear tipper of the F-150 Lightning with its sockets and easy access // Source: Raphaelle Baut

A large pick-up is above all designed to carry your bucket and be able to tow. With this, the F-150 Lightning can meet these needs:

  • Max load: 900 kg
  • Towing capacity: 4,500 kg

The F-150 with its big V8 could do better, but that still matches the capabilities of models with smaller internal combustion engines. This is far from a bad result.

Front trunk of the F-150 Lightning // Source: Raphaelle Baut
Front trunk of the F-150 Lightning // Source: Raphaelle Baut

The advantage of this electric version is the front trunk (also called weird), in which you can store a standard-sized human. It’s ridiculous, yes… But we tested it. There’s even a button so you can open the trunk from the inside if it’s locked from the inside. With 400 liters of storage capacity, the front trunk is almost as big as the rear trunk of a Mégane e-tech (440 l). There is therefore enough to stow things in an electrically closed trunk, which is a real asset to this pick-up.

Prices in the US range from around €53,200 excluding tax, for the entry-level, to over €99,000 excluding VAT for our trial version, with large battery and premium Platinum finish. . The model is not really affordable, and if it came to Europe, it would be priced even higher.

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