The Most Affordable Ford F-150 Lightning Is Officially Here

Illustration for article titled The Most Affordable Ford F-150 Lightning Is Officially Here
Photo: Ford

Ford’s EV pickup, the 2022 F-150 Lightning, debuted late last week with a starting price just shy of $40,000. That’s quite a bit less than I expected; the catch being this starting price was for the commercial version, not the retail one with trim options pickup buyers expect nowadays. Ford has now made good on that low starting price with the announcement of the F-150 Lightning Pro.

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The F-150 Lightning Pro is targeted at small, medium, and large businesses and is actually the second commercial EV from Ford, after the E-Transit. There will be two versions of the Lightning Pro to cater to different range needs from its commercial customers, one standard range and another extended.

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Photo: Ford

The standard range Pro will go up to 230 miles and will make 426 horsepower. The extended range Pro ups this to 300 miles and 563 HP. Both trucks still make 775 lb-ft of torque. The extended range’s higher specs will cost you a good chunk of change, though. The standard Lightning Pro starts at $39,974, while the extended starts at $49,974.

Now, the reason the extended asks for ten grand over the standard has to do with more than the increased range and power output. It’s slightly more complex, too, with dual onboard chargers that Ford says can get the Lightning’s state of charge from 15 percent to 100 in eight hours when combined with the 80-amp mobile charger. This charger is included with the extended range Lightning Pro, while the standard comes with a 32-amp mobile charger.

That means it takes an overnight charge to juice up a nearly depleted extended range truck, which is how Ford is betting these machines will be used. Employees top up during the day, in between uses, and then drive home in the evening and recharge overnight to be ready to roll in the morning.

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That’s why Ford is also touting a new suite of onboard data analysis, Ford EV Telematics, which links the fleet Lightning Pros and monitors everything about the trucks and their state of charge. It can even track power and light cost reimbursements for drivers who recharge at home.

The suite can be used by fleet managers to keep an eye on many metrics of the individual trucks and plan accordingly. It’s not a perfect solution to the problem of range anxiety (what is?), but it makes a lot of sense for EV fleets, since these all belong to one central hub and their operations are more or less structured in advance, as Ford describes:

With the Ford EV Telematics dashboard active, vehicle data is shared seamlessly over the cloud so fleet managers can track vehicle health, status and range, log and pay for public charging events centrally, reimburse employees for home charging, remotely pre-condition the cabin while plugged in, and generate alerts and reports for depot and operational efficiency.

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Of course, the Pros come with the frunk, which remains a highlight of the vehicles, especially on a pickup since the bed is now completely free to carry only cargo, while tools and gear can be safely stored in the cavernous front trunk.

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Ford goes into detail about its convenience:

Under the hood, where an internal combustion engine used to be, is a spacious, high-tech cargo area complete with four 120-volt AC Pro Power Onboard electrical outlets and two USB ports. It also features a rugged, water-tight space strong enough to store 400 pounds of cement bags. Under the powered waterfall hood with bumper-height opening, this well-lit space can be locked, unlocked and accessed from either the remote key fob, an exterior button or from inside the vehicle. A one-way drain makes cleaning easy.

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There are some key differences, however, between the retail and commercial trucks.

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The Lightning Pro ditches the LED strip between the headlights and comes with a demure front fascia that looks like it belongs on a pickup, rather than a faux-luxury car. I suppose it’s OK that the retail Lightning is more blingy, since the price is much higher than the commercial, with a mid-level XLT starting at $52,974.

My favorite change, though, is the dash on the Lightning Pro. It ditches the huge portrait tablet and replaces it with a smaller landscape screen that will work just fine. You get physical climate controls and a few other buttons, too.

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These changes take a pretty bland EV and make it even blander, and I say that in the most sincere way possible. If you thought the Lightning was already understated, the Lightning Pro takes it down another notch.

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You wouldn’t know it was an EV until someone opened that glorious frunk and threw some gear in the blank space where a V8 once sat. ‘Where’s the beef!’ they would exclaim, only to realize that this machine is the future of commercial and government fleets.

It’s an actual electric truck, a fundamentally American vehicle that has been updated for this age, according to Jalopnik alumnus Wes Siler. It’s a sign that EVs are maturing and will soon flood our highways. The only thing we need now is a chassis cab.

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Staff Writer at Jalopnik. Periodista automotriz, Naturally Aspirated Stan.

DISCUSSION

seancurry
Dake

Were I in the market, this is absolutely the version I’d be interested in.

Well, I’d be more interested in just a super-cab with a longer bed, but since those don’t really exist any more...

Could probably squeak a couple more miles of range if you downsized the wheels by a size in diameter and cross-section.