Ford Lightning Range: Deep Dive Into Range Anxiety


Photo courtesy of CJ Rinehart

With electric vehicles one of the most nerve racking scenarios would be running out of power with no way of recharging your vehicle. With most electric vehicles, luckily this is not a problem. Because of new technology most electric cars have enough range to last a few days in a normal person’s schedule. Now this doesn’t completely eliminate the worry, but knowing what the range of electric cars is and how it generally all works can help sooth the stress.

How much range does the Ford F-150 Lightning have? The standard Ford Lightning has a range of 230 miles per full charge with an additional add-on extended range package that will increase the range to 300 miles. This range is constant with variations in trim, except for the Platinum, which will come stock with the extended-range battery.

Knowing the range of the Ford Lightning makes it possible to quickly calculate whether or not this vehicle would work for your daily cycle.

Now there are factors that will decrease this range. When it is cold outside your range can be decreased by as much as 60 miles as batteries tend to struggle in the cold. Companies also advise that you do not charge your electric vehicle to 100% constantly as this can cause damage to the battery and tell you to average around 80% charge to keep the battery healthy. Also keep these in mind for your calculation of how well this truck would work for you.

What Is The Range Of The Different Ford Lightning Trim Levels

The Ford Lightning Is available in 4 different trim levels with each one adding onto the level before.

  • Pro – Standard range of 230 miles
  • XLT – Standard range of 230 miles
  • Lariat – Standard range of 230 miles
  • Platinum – Standard range of 300 miles

The Pro, XLT, and Lariat models do have an available option to have the extended-range battery that would increase their range 230 miles to 300 miles. This battery comes stock in the Platinum model of the truck

Each trim level also includes more and more luxury items in each truck, going in the order that they occur in the bullet points above with the last bullet point being the most luxurious. All trucks have an add-on feature called Ford Copilot 360, which is a semi autonomous driving feature that allows the car to drive itself on over 100,000 miles of highway around the United States. Along with this more of the luxurious models have available options such as better sound system, leather seats, seat and wheel warmers, moonroof, and a few other technological features that can be viewed at the Ford website.

How Can We Expect Range To Increase In The Next Few Years

Although it is impossible to promise a major increase in range over the next few years there are currently hundreds of companies that are working on improving or developing their own batteries to increase their reliability and range. Along with these battery companies, car companies have had a huge shift from gasoline powered cars to electric cars which are pushing battery technology forward. 

Companies such as Toyota, Tesla, Ford, Nissan, Volkswagen, and General Motors have all started to produce new electric vehicles. Most of the current batteries and cars have a range averaging around 300 miles. While this range is nothing short of impressive, these companies as well as others are continually improving batteries and their range. New technologies that allow the structural components of the car to store energy, new types of batteries that charge much faster than any other type of battery, and even wireless car charging are all types of technologies that are being researched and developed. 

You can find all sorts of new battery technology just with a simple search on the internet. Now not all of these technologies will be applicable to cars or will even be found useful sadly. Thousands of new battery types and ways to make batteries are being tested and with one breakthrough in this field the world of electric vehicles could be revolutionized forever.

Because of all the attention electric vehicles are getting and the huge shift in attention to developing batteries, new technology could be just around the horizon making the range of these cars much further than we ever thought possible.

How Much Will The Range Decrease When Towing

With a promised towing capacity of 10,000 pounds the Ford lightning is capable of carrying some weight, but this does not mean its range will not be affected. Although Ford has not released how much the truck will be affected by towing anything, some people have already made speculations based on known factors. It is estimated that the extended-range truck will get anywhere from 150 to 210 miles while towing.

It is impossible to know exactly how much the truck’s range will be decreased when towing but luckily Ford has already done this for you. In the Ford Lightning there is something called “intelligent range”. What this does is calculate the range that the truck has until it needs to charge when it is towing and will update this range throughout the drive. You can input the length, mass, height, and more which will allow the truck to make an educated guess on range and this range will update automatically as the truck can sense the payload when you start your drive. 

Does Range Decrease Over Time Through Regular Use

Like all batteries, over time how much energy they can hold will slowly give out. We all have witnessed our phones slowly not being able to hold a charge for the same amount of time from when we first got it. The same goes for electric cars, but there are also a lot more built in protections for the batteries in electric cars to protect the battery. These electric car batteries are thought to last around 200,000 miles but this time is known to vary in both directions and many different factors can play a role in this. 

One study showed that electric car battery capacity averages a loss around 2% every year.  Battery capacity has a direct correlation to range, meaning as battery capacity falls so does your range.

There are things you can do to protect your battery from harm and increase its lifespan. If you only charge your car to around 60% to 80% and make sure it doesn’t fall below 20% then you can dramatically increase the life of your battery.

Using a slower charger as opposed to a fast charger, such as a DC fast charger, can also protect your battery. Extremely hot and extremely cold temperatures can also cause quick degradation of the battery but thankfully almost all electric cars available now are equipped with systems that can protect the battery in both of these scenarios.

Is The Ford Lightning Range Good Enough For Blue Collar Jobs

With the extended-range battery the Ford Lightning has a range of 300 miles. If we looked at the average work schedule of most blue collar workers this range should be more than enough to cover their daily drives, but there are some more factors that need to come into play.

Because of how you are supposed to charge an electric vehicle you will rarely have the full 300 mile range, so if your job requires long distance drives every day then this truck might not be for you. If you only have to make medium or lower range drivers every day then this truck will be able to handle that with style.

Many different jobs require different needs, if you could get called in at any time and you have a Ford Lightning then this could bring up a problem as the truck does take some time to charge. If you are on a set schedule then charging should not be a problem. Even if the job you are working on requires some off-roading, the Ford Lightning should be able to handle it with ease and can even pull a trailer, although this may compromise some of your range. 

The Ford Lightning also has Pro Power Onboard which effectively turns the Ford Lightning into a generator to connect to. With 11 outlets, 10 120v and 1 240v, the Ford Lightning can support plenty of tools on the job site. Using this feature however can drain your battery so it is best not to rely on the Ford Lightning as your primary source of power.

With all this in mind I would say that overall the Ford Lightning would work well as a work truck. A 300 mile range is plenty for most construction or industry-type jobs and with all the built in power banks would work amazing at onsite jobs. It definitely has both pros and cons but if you look at the statistics of the truck and compare them to the needs of the average blue collar worker, it seems to stand firm.

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