There’s a lot of hype around the Ford F-150 Lightning, and Ford is leaning into that hype by almost doubling production — something it announced Tuesday, a day before General Motors is expected to unveil its electric Silverado. Also today, Ford sent the Lightning configurator live, giving potential customers, as well as the generally curious, the ability to price out the electric pickup of their dreams.
While we knew that the F-150 Lightning would start at $40,000 for a stripped-down “Pro” model, that version was never intended to go toe-to-toe against more luxurious battery-electric workhorses — such as, say, the Rivian R1T. Thanks to the configurator, we have a better idea of what it’ll cost to get an F-150 on a level of parity with that truck. The short answer is “a lot.”
The XLT is the second trim level up the range and starts at $52,974. Among other things, it adds a surround-view camera system, as well as an eight-way power-adjustable cloth seat (but only for the driver.) If you want the extended range battery — which lifts maximum distance on a charge from 230 miles to 300 and output from 426 horsepower to 523 — you’ll have to budget another $10K. That puts you at about $63K; for reference, the R1T starts at $67,500 but comes with 314 miles of range standard and 800 horsepower.
The R1T can also tow more than the Lightning — 11,000 pounds versus 5,000 pounds for the standard-range Ford, or 10,000 for the one with the bigger battery. (Ford’s $865 Max Trailer Tow package will raise that number to 7,700 pounds for the Lightning with the smaller pack.) On the flip side, the Lightning’s payload capacity is a bit stronger, at 2,000 pounds compared to the R1T’s 1,700. Also, its 5.5-foot bed is 12 inches longer than the Rivian’s.
The Lightning really begins to pale when you start adding luxuries, like heated seats. Butt warmers require equipment group 312A, which also includes Ford’s CoPilot 360 2.0 Level 2 driver assist suite, a power tailgate and a heated leather steering wheel in addition to other, less noteworthy bells and whistles. That’s another $9,500 on the sticker.
Couple the extended range battery with 312A to get the Lightning relatively close to the R1T’s base spec in terms of interior comforts and performance, and you’re spending $74,169 including destination.
Poking around both electric pickups’ build-and-price tools, here’s the impression I get: the F-150 Lightning is obviously the more affordable truck and actually attainable for those with less to spend. However, if you plan on checking boxes for options, the R1T will quickly become the better value. For $60K-$70K, it’s the more compelling package. Prices and equipment only begin to even out at the absolute upper end, with both trucks fully loaded in the low-to-mid $90K range. But then the F-150 still has no answer for the R1T’s superior power, torque and range.
It’ll be interesting to see if and how Ford adapts the Lightning’s pricing with time to make it more competitive in the middle tier. For now, each truck seems to be targeting different segments, which is probably for the best in terms of getting more electric pickups on the road.