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FORD F-SERIES PICKUPS

Enter the newest all-electric Lightning

COMPILED BY Dyan Seneviratne

Which type of vehicle has been manufactured for the longest time in the US? Since 1948, the Ford F-Series pickup trucks have been hitting the road and are arguably the most popular ever since.

They’ve also been the best-selling pickups in the United States from 1977. The highest selling vehicle overall from 1981 has been the F-150. And soon to be unveiled, is the futuristic Lightning, which is an all-electric pickup truck from Ford.

A hardworking and macho-looking workhorse, the F-150 will dwarf the Ford Ranger Raptor that’s seen on Sri Lankan roads with its impressive presence. And yes, it’s a giant in comparison!

Ford and other major vehicle manufacturers the world over have realised that it’s time to make the transformation from petrol and diesel to all-electric sooner rather than later.

First, it was Ford’s iconic Mustang; now it’s the F-Series pickup. Ford is in the process of transforming its legends for the electric age with the new F-150 Lightning squaring up well against the likes of GMC’s Hummer EV and Tesla Cybertruck – all big electric pickups built in the US.

“It’s the backbone of work across the country and a trusted icon for generations,” says Executive Chairman William Ford, Jr. He adds: “Now we’re revolutionising it for a new generation.”

It starts with a reinforced platform and high capacity battery pack inserted into the frame. Due to packaging demands, Ford has moved to an independent rear suspension setup – the first time it’s been done on an F-150. And every Lightning has a motor on each electric all-wheel drive.

The battery size of choice doesn’t matter – whether it’s the 200 or 300 mile range. However, the 300 mile range battery has an awesome 563 bhp and over 700 Nm of torque. This means that the F-150 has the most torque found on any model and can achieve a 0-100 kmph sprint in only 4.5 seconds. That’s very quick for any car, let alone a big pickup truck!

While it still looks like a massive pickup with that huge frontal, the lack of an engine has enabled Ford to make use of this welcome space. A 400-litre ‘frunk’ (frontal trunk) adds more carrying capacity to the 1,500-litre rear bed.

Importantly, each load area has electrical sockets that can power tools and other devices, without the need for a cumbersome and noisy generator. The tailgate also includes hooks for workbench-style clamps that can be used indoors and outdoors.

Ford’s creative thinking means one can use the Lightning truck’s battery pack in the event power at home goes out during lightning (pun intended!). And if you opt for the extended range battery, the manufacturer claims you can keep your home powered up for to three days or 10 hours if you’re rationing power reserves.

“It’s built for seamless transitions between charging and powering your house,” explains Ford’s Electric Vehicle Manager of Strategic Partnerships Ryan O’Gorman. He adds: “We’re the first in the US to offer this capability.”

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