Range, costs, pros and cons at 15,000 miles
Tom Moloney’s Ford F-150 Lightning has covered 15,000 miles in 16 months, so it’s time for a comprehensive ownership review.
November 19, 2023 in 9:00 AM ET
The Ford F-150 Lightning is the only conventional pickup truck on the market that happens to be all-electric.
The Rivian R1T may have beaten it to the market, but it’s more of an adventure vehicle than a work truck, while the Lightning is essentially the best-selling truck in America with a battery-powered drivetrain instead of a gas engine.
But what does your everyday F-150 Lightning look like? By now, you’ve probably watched many videos about the ownership experience, but this one is extra special because it comes from InsideEVs senior editor Tom Moloney, who has owned his F-150 Lightning for 16 months now.
As a reminder, his truck is a Lariat Extended Range, and he has put 15,000 miles on it since taking delivery in July 2022. Here are some of the main topics he touches on in the video.
Starting with efficiency, the F-150 Lightning averaged about 2.1 mph/kWh – 2.3-2.4 mph in the warmer months, and 1.7-1.8 mph during the cold season.
In the summer, that translates to an average of 300 miles per charge on a mixed cycle or 260 miles per charge on the highway. In the winter, even in the worst weather conditions, Tom says his F-150 Lightning averages 200 miles per charge.
Although he’s OK with that range, he thinks a heat pump would be useful in the winter. His 2022 F-150 Lightning doesn’t have one, but Ford has announced that a heat pump will become standard starting in 2024.
Now, when it comes to costs, Tom says about 95 percent of charging is done at home, at a cost of $0.14 to $0.15 per kilowatt-hour in New Jersey where he lives. During road trips or when doing range tests, he also charged Lightning at DC fast charging stations, at an average cost of $0.32 per kilowatt-hour.
Shipping costs over 16 months and 15,000 miles were $850 (home) and $400 (DC), or a total of $1,250. Tom calculated that he would have spent more than double ($2,625) on fuel to cover 15,000 miles with an F-150 powered by a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 in New Jersey.
Speaking of charging, Tom says he’s very satisfied with home charging. He’s got an 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro that charges at up to 18 kilowatts, meaning he can fully recharge the battery overnight.
As for DC fast charging, he thinks Ford has some work to do since Lightning charging is too slow in his opinion. It takes about 40 to 45 minutes for the battery to go from 10 percent to 80 percent charge. It would be much better if Ford could cut that time down to about 30 minutes.
For this reason — and the lack of proper charging infrastructure in some areas of the country — he doesn’t recommend the Lightning charger for people who frequently tow large items over several miles. Lightning can do this, but frequent and long charging stops won’t make it time efficient.
Now, Tom doesn’t tow with his F-150 Lightning, but he says he used the bed and trunk a lot to carry construction materials for his new house and such. The box is one of his favorite things about the Lightning because it’s huge, provides a secure, locked storage compartment, and is very comfortable to use because of the low-loading lip – unlike the Rivian R1S and R1T which have the empty lip. Hood height.
Sometimes the trunk won’t open with the button, but Tom hopes Ford will find a solution for that. Some of his complaints include Android Auto integration, which automatically connects less than 50 percent of the time, a poorly designed wireless phone charging compartment that’s too deep and not wide enough, a lack of charging information on the driver’s display or center display, and a weak spring in the center armrest — which has been Fix it using four nickels.
However, he’s happy with the build quality, and hasn’t needed to take the truck in for service yet; The car has not been involved in any recalls either.
He also appreciates Ford’s efforts to improve the truck via over-the-air software updates, noting the addition of a digital state of charge in the driver display and a phone-as-key access feature. Keep in mind that the latter only does remote unlocking, not remote locking, which Tom finds very annoying.
Overall, Tom really loves his truck, and he says it might be his favorite electric car out of all the electric cars he’s owned so far — 11 in 13 years — which is saying a lot.