Introduction: F:150 Lightning Lightning
The world is going electric. It is a statement that has gotten a lot of pushback from people who could not see a future where trucks are powered by batteries and homes are powered by solar. The doubters of this future have been forced to reconsider with Ford's announcement of the F-150 Lightning and its partnership with Sunrun.
The Ford F-150 has been the industry's best-selling truck for 44 consecutive years, and the transition to electric power represents a revolutionary shift in the future of the automobile industry. When combined with its partnership with Sunrun and the ability to power a home during a power outage makes the F-150 Lightning a tipping point for the shift to an electrified future.
Ford F-150 History
As a revolutionary leader in the auto space, Ford's leadership position has a long history. In 1908 the Ford Motor Company released the Model T. The Model T revolutionized transportation in America and began America's transition to mass car ownership.
In 1917, Ford released a modified version of the Model T, known as the Model TT Truck. Sold for $600, the Model TT Truck sold 2019 units in its first year. In 1925 Ford released a pickup style truck that would be a turning point towards the types of trucks we now recognize across the United States. By 1928 Ford had sold 1.3 million Model TT Trucks, helping to modernize the truck industry, the same way that the Model T revolutionized the car industry in the US.
In 1935 Ford, released its Model 50 pickup truck. The Model 50 represented a massive step forwards for Ford. Powered by a flathead V-8, the Model 50 sold four million trucks before Ford halted production in 1941 to focus on supporting the war effort as the US became more involved in World War II.
As World War II began to wind down at the end of the 1940s, Ford focused on developing its consumer trucks. Ford released the F-Series, with variations from the F-1 pickup to the cab-over F-8. These trucks would be the start of Ford's truck lineup as we think of the Ford F Truck lineup.
In 1953, Ford updated the styling and engine of its pickup trucks. They also updated the naming convention that we now know with the F-100, F-250, and F-350.
In 1975 after multiple generations of the F Truck Series, Ford released the first Ford-150. Over the next seven years, it would surpass the 100 Series as the most popular truck in America.
Ford continued to update the F Series, with multiple new generations, reaching generation Fourteen in 2021.
The Ford F-Series has become by far the most popular truck in America because of its functionality as a work truck, performance, and high-end models. The Ford F-Series appeals to a broad spectrum of consumers and has come to represent the American ideal.
What is the F-150 Lightning?
On May 19th Ford officially announced that their electric F-150 would be known as the Lightning. F-150 Lightning is designed to be a center point of Ford's ambitious $22 billion global electric vehicle plan. For years people have been discussing Ford's development of an electric truck.
As companies like Tesla, Rivian, and GMC announced plans for electric trucks, people's eyes turned to Ford to see how they would respond to other companies trying to take control of the electric truck market.
The F-150 Lightning did not disappoint. Designed to appeal to traditional truck owners and those interested in electric vehicles for technical reasons, the F-150 Lightning provides all the functionality that people expect in a Ford F-150 with technological advancements that have grabbed people's attention when looking at EVs.
F-150 Lightning The Electric Truck Revolution, Made Easy
Ford understands that transitioning from gas to electric was a point of anxiety for many people. We are going to go into the ways that the F-150 revolutionizes what a truck can be, but before we get into that, it is important to understand the steps that Ford has taken to limit the anxiety of making the switch to an electric vehicle.
Ford is the only auto company currently offering an 80-amp home charging station as the standard offering for starters. The 80-amp charging station is important because it will allow 30 miles of range to be added per hour, allowing the long-range truck to go from 15%-100% charged in around eight hours. The eight-hour number is essential because it allows F-150 Lightning owners to charge the truck overnight fully.
When F-150 Lightning owners are on the road, they will also have access to North America's largest public charging network via the FordPass. Currently, FordPass gives Lightning owners access to over 63,000 charging stations, including 150-kilowatt DC fast charger stations. When using a fast-charging station, the F-150 Lightning can add 54 miles in 10 minutes and go from 15% to 80% charged in 41 minutes.
Ford also wants to make sure that drivers are incredibly confident about the projected range of the F-150 Lightning. Using the FordPass Power My Trip, the system identifies the most efficient routes and charging stations on a trip. The Intelligent Range system factors in the weather, how much the truck is towing, driving styles, traffic, and other factors to update the range to make sure that projected numbers are highly accurate at all times.
Charging infrastructure and accurate range projections is essential, but at the end of the day, the range of the F-150 Lightning is a driving factor for how comfortable customers will be moving from a gas-powered truck to an electric one. The F-150 Lightning will have two range options. The standard range will have around 230 miles of EPA-estimated range and an extended-range battery targeting 300 miles of EPA-estimated range.
These numbers are in line with most of the EVs currently on the market, and some reports indicated that F-150 Lightning real-world range would be longer than the projected numbers.
The reports indicate that Ford wants truck users to have the range needed to get back to a charging station even if the Lightning was used to power tools on the worksite or tow a heavy load.
How the F-150 Lightning Improves On Previous F-150 Performance
The F-150 Lightning comes in different trim levels but is powered by dual motors with a standard 4x 4 setup. The truck's battery packs provide 563 horsepower and have 775 lb.-ft of torque, the most of any F-150.
To make sure the F-150 Lightning can withstand the riggers of everyday use in the field and stand up to the famous "Built Ford Tough" tagline, it is designed with a new frame that uses the strongest steel Ford has ever put into a truck. The F-150s frame can support a 2,000-pound payload and can tow up to 10,000 pounds.
In addition to the hauling and towing improvements that the battery-based toque provides, the F-150 Lightning has impressive numbers on the more traditional driving side. With a 0-60 mph time projected to in the mid-4-second range when equipped with an extended-range battery, the F-150 Lightning will also be one of the fastest mass-production trucks ever made.
Electric vehicles are designed around a large battery back, allowing the Ford designers to alter the weight distribution. Ford argues that updated design allows for better handling, this is especially important offroading or driving in wet conditions.
Utilizing independent rear suspension and the low center of gravity that the battery backs provide help improve isolation from the road, ride stability and help to limit steering roll.
Some Truck enthusiasts had concerns about the safety of the batteries when under stressful situations. Ford designed the F-150 Lightning to ensure the battery is secured inside a waterproof casing surrounded by crash-absorption protection. Ford put the battery through extensive testing in extreme weather conditions with testing temperatures as low as negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure the Lightning will perform in any real-world conditions.
It is not just safety that had some truck enthusiasts concerned about the transition to electric trucks, it is also the battery's ability to work in endurance situations. The F-150 Lightning was engineered with a state-of-the-art liquid cooling system and powertrain layout that helps to control heat distribution on the battery and vehicle.
The liquid cooling system maximizes the battery range and allows the truck to thrive in the most challenging driving conditions.
Electric Vehicles require a focus on efficiency to help get as many miles as possible from the battery. To help the F-150 Lightning produce as much distance as possible from its batteries, the Ford designers have made the Lightning the most aerodynamic F-150 ever.
By altering the shape of the hood, rounding the running boards, and replacing the front grill with a smoother shape, instead of air intake holes, the new body helps the F-150 Lightning drive faster and longer!
The Ford team didn't just focus on aerodynamics when coming up with the shape of the F-150 Lightning also wanted a design that would help with visibility while keeping the Built Ford Tough design language. As a result, the Lightning has LED lightbars across the front and rear that give the truck a futuristic look while helping other drivers better see turning and braking indicators.
The F-150 is the most popular truck in America because of its ability to perform at a high level as a work vehicle. The F-150 Lightning has built-in Onboard Scales that allow for highly accurate weighing of the truck's load.
The Onboard Scales is essential from a practical perspective of efficiently loading a truck, but Ford integrated it into its Intelligent Range technology to provide accurate information to the driver about the range of the truck, including the impact of a load on how many miles the Lightning can go before its next charge.
The F-150 Lightning also includes the new Pro Trailer Hitch Assist. Pro Trailer Hitch Assist allows for automatic controls that can maneuver steering, throttle control, and brake inputs to simplify the process of hitching a trailer, the F-150 Lightning.
Electric Vehicle Revolution: EV technology advancements of the Ford F-150 Lightning
Ford has stated that the F-150 Lightning is the smartest Ford truck ever. Ford wanted to make sure that the F-150 Lightning was not only as good as previous F-150s but better.
A big part of making the F-150 Lightening the best and most innovative Ford truck ever involves its utilization of connectivity and the internet. Designing the F-150 Lightning as a connected truck allows Ford to do over-the-air software updates to keep optimizing the truck's battery and adding new features to the truck as Ford develops them.
Ford is also offering Ford Co-Pilot360™ technology, BlueCruise on the F-150 Lightning. BlueCruise is Ford's most advanced hands-free driving assist package that allows for true hands-free driving on more than 100,000 miles of pre-qualified divided highways in the U.S. and Canada. BlueCruise has been compared favorably to Tesla's Autopilot function, and Ford plans to add more Hands-Free Blue Zones in the future.
As other automakers have followed Tesla's lead with how instrument clusters are designed, Ford has taken a leadership position in this space. The F-150 Lightning is designed around a 12-inch instrument cluster that allows the driver to customize the interface to include essential information that the driver wants to see.
The instrument cluster provides animated graphics provider driver information on the hands-free highway driving mode, regenerative braking, battery life, and additional essential information.
The F-150 Lightning in the Lariat and Platinum series is SYNC® 4A is also included. The SYNC® 4A is a 15.5-inch touch screen that is the focal point of the driver's cabin allowing for improved visibility to navigation and other digital services. It is based on voice control to help keep the driver focused on the road and utilize Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, integrated Amazon Alexa, and SYNC AppLink apps.
It is not only the in-cabin technology that is new on the F-150 Lightning. The Phone As A Key technology makes its F-Series debut on the F-150 Lightning. Phone As A Key allows customers to lock, unlock, and start the truck using a phone app. Over time the Phone As A Key app will continue to evolve and provide additional functionality for users.
When people think about technology, they usually think about digital advancements, center counsels, and sped or acceleration improvements. The Lightning has that and an additional advancement from putting the batteries under the car's body. Because the F-150 Lightning does not have an engine in the front of the car, they designed the Lightning with a front trunk or frunk as it is known in the EV space.
The Lightning has 14.1 cubic feet of space in the frunk that is waterproof and could be used as a cooler, with built-in drainage in the base of the frunk. The frunk allows for massive practical storage space that benefits owners who use the truck for work or construction. It can also provide a massive benefit for those using the truck for entertainment purposes, like those looking to use the truck for tailgating or camping.
Electric power to run your tools and entertainment: Stay powered on the worksite or at the tailgate
Having a massive battery built into the F-150 Lightning not only provides impressive driving performance numbers but also allows owners to power tools, electronics, and appliances. With Pro Power Onboard, the base model F-150 Lightning has built-in outlets with 2.4 kilowatts of power, and the higher end numbers come standard with 9.6 kilowatts of power between 2.4 kilowatts built into the frunk and up to 7.2 kilowatts of outlets in the bed and cab of the truck.
The ability to power things with the truck might seem minor for those who are not truck owners but provide incredible real-world value for truck owners. Because of the outlets built into the frunk, truck owners can use the F-150 as a workstation. Removing the need to bring a generator or plug into on-site power outlets provides financial savings and time savings for those who need to use power tools on work sites.
Ford F-150 Lightning: Powering your home with the F-150 Lightning
We have covered this extensively on our blog; the power grid in the United States is old and unstable. When combined with the increased intensity of natural disasters, the power grids instability leads to more power outages for homeowners across the nation. To help address this, F-150 Lightning can include Ford Intelligent Backup Power, turning the truck battery into 9.6 kilowatts of power to back up the home in the case of a power outage. The Ford Intelligent Backup Power will allow homeowners to stay safe in a power outage by remaining connected to the internet, the lights on, home appliances powered, and other critical appliances powered.
When plugged in the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and home management system, the F-150 Lightning can sense a power outage and automatically start sending electricity back into the home. When the system senses that utility power has been restored, the system will start charging the F-150 Lightning.
Based on the average daily electrical usage of 30kWh per day in homes in the United States, the extended-range F-150 Lightning can power for up to three days, or ten days if the homeowner is conservative with electrical usage. Of course, how long the F-150 Lightning can back up home will vary depending on how a homeowner uses electricity, but these numbers align with the most popular home solar batteries.
As more consumers purchase F-150 Lightning's and more utilities transition to Time-Of-Use rate structure, Ford Intelligent Power will be deployed to allow the truck to power the home when utility electricity rates are the highest. This will allow homeowners to save money on utility costs and improve the economics of powering both the F-150 Lightning and the home.
Ford F-150 Lightning and Sunrun: America's leading truck company partners with America's leading solar company!
As the global leader in truck development and sales, Ford's transition into electric vehicles made news worldwide. Ford realized that a big part of the susses of the Lightning will be how easy it is to charge. Ford has partnered with Sunrun, the nations leading solar provider and Alchemy Solar's preferred solar and battery storage partner, to make the charging process as easy as possible.
Ford is working with Sunrun to simplify installing the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and the home energy management system. Not only will Sunrun be able to handle the installation of the Ford Charging Station, but they will also be able to work with the customer to provide solar panels for the home. By switching to solar, F-150 Lightning owners can use cheaper and clean electricity to power their trucks. This will help them save money and reduce carbon offset.
When discussing the new partnership, Lynn Jurich, Sunrun CEO and Co-Founder, said, "Ford is a trusted brand that's been at the forefront of American innovation for over 100 years, and it is exciting to see them electrifying their most popular truck in company history. We're at the beginning stages of a partnership that can bring energy resilience to millions of Americans across the country."
The partnership is big news for Lightning customers, but it might be even bigger news for the normalization of solar power and home batteries. As utility electricity continues to increase in price and more homeowners need to charge EVs at home, solar will make more and more sense. In a place like states like Hawaii, customers can get Sunrun's Brightbox Battery for nothing out of pocket, making it even more affordable to power an electric vehicle and protect the home from power outages.
Conclusion: Ford F-150 Lightning and Sunrun revitalizing electric vehicles
The Ford F-150 Lightning is a revolutionary step for the auto industry. By transitioning the best-selling truck from gas to electric, Ford is pushing forward the EV revolution more rapidly than most would have thought was possible. Not only is Lightning a considerable step forward for the mass adaptation of electric trucks, but it is a huge step forwards for the functionality of what a truck can do.
Ford has started to take reservations for the F-150 Lightning at ford.com, and is anticipating trucks being delivered in the middle of 2022.
By working with Sunrun, Ford is also helping to speed up the adaptation of solar power. Because of the Ford Intelligent Backup Power system and Sunrun's Brightbox Energy Solution, the future for solar and battery backup solutions is only going to continue to advance and evolve.
Alchemy Solar knows that you will have a question about how solar and battery backup can help with charging the F-150 Lightning at your home, schedule a free consultation today to learn more!