US auto giant Ford has lifted the veil on a lower cost version of its all-electric F-150 ute (known as a pickup truck in the US), which is aimed squarely at commercial and trade customers.
The pared-down workhorse – F-150 Lightning Pro – still promises plenty of power and fast-charging AC capabilities to ensure vehicle downtime is kept to a minimum.
But it is considerably cheaper than the Lightning XLT and premium Lightning Lariat and Platinum stablemates unveiled last Wednesday, atv a starting price under $US40,000 (around $A52,000 converted).
“F-150 Lightning Pro represents so much more than an electric workhorse – it’s made for commercial customers inside and out, it gets better over time, and it’s totally plugged into always-on services that can help business productivity,” said Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford in a statement.
“As more companies make the commitment to go carbon neutral, they are going to expect electric products that can integrate into their operations easily. Ford is so uniquely positioned to answer this call because we have a zero-emissions pickup and van, many of our customers want both vehicles in their fleet.”
Coming in at around $US12,000 less than the XLT it still offers the same horsepower, torque and range as its base consumer cousin.
This includes 318kW power output from its and 1,050 torque for the standard battery option, which is targeted to deliver 370km driving range. Drivers who upgrade to the extended range battery will get up to 480km driving range, 420kW power from dual motors for an additional $US10,000.
Both options, as with the Lightning XLT, come with a 32 amp on-board charger as standard, and can be upgraded to a 48 amp or 80 amp option – the latter of which, known as the “Ford Charge Station Pro”, comes standard with the extended range option.
In fact, the main specifications are all identical to the XLT. It seems the differences between the two consist of a lack of consumer-oriented add-ons and easy wipe-down vinyl seats in the Pro commercial ute.
Ford says that the maximum towing capacity of the extended range version is 4.5 tonnes with the “Max Trailer Tow Package”, which implies this is at an additional cost.
All variants get an electric hood covering a spacious “frunk” offering 14.1 cubic feet of lockable storage that can carry up to 180kg – Ford adds that this is water-tight for the Pro, although it’s possible this is the case for other variants also, and this is Ford mincing words yet again.
Four 120-volt AC outlets and two USB ports, with two more outlets in the cab and two in the rear cargo bed are available for on-site tools.
Being a commercial vehicle, fleets that opt for the Lightning Pro will get access to Ford’s fleet planning tool, and can also expected scheduled matinanence costs to come in at around 40% of internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalents over eight years and 160,000 kilometres.
Unfortunately there are no plans (as yet) to bring the electric F-150 to Australia (or any F-150 for that matter) – and presumably with Ford Ranger ICE sales still trotting along solidly, and no incentive to bring electric models to the local market, Australian tradies after an electric Ford ute may be waiting for some time.
Bridie Schmidt is associate editor for The Driven, sister site of Renew Economy. She has been writing about electric vehicles since 2018, and has a keen interest in the role that zero-emissions transport has to play in sustainability. She has participated in podcasts such as Download This Show with Marc Fennell and Shirtloads of Science with Karl Kruszelnicki and is co-organiser of the Northern Rivers Electric Vehicle Forum. Bridie also owns a Tesla Model 3 and has it available for hire on evee.com.au.