Review: 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

Words: Calvin Chan

Photography: Calvin Chan

Published: January 30, 2023


The Ford F-150 Lightning is big news. It’s the first all-electric pick-up truck to hit the road in Canada and others are quickly following suit, from the Chevrolet and RAM variants to the Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer EV which aren’t yet available. And while the competition has more time to fine-tune their specimens and see how the market reacts, sometimes it’s better just to be first. And Ford is already beginning to reap the rewards of their headstart, with Lightning orders and waitlists stretching to the moon.



It is easy to see why there is such hype and furor surrounding the Lightning. Its specs are enough to change the landscape and convince current truck owners to jump ship to electric propulsion. The Lightning comes with two battery options, a 98 kWh battery and an extended and more expensive 131 kWh variant. The latter is the one we tested, and it delivers a healthy 580 hp and a whopping 775 lb-ft of torque. Yes, those are supercar levels of power but you also have to remember that due to the weight of all the electronics, it weighs a staggering 3,130 kg. That’s 500 kg more than a Range Rover.



The claimed range on the standard battery is 386 km while the extended battery gets 483 km, which should be more than enough for the casual and light-duty truck owner. You see, trucks are normally used as workhorses and as work-related appliances - less so as casual means of transportation or a garage trophy. They are automotive tools that are essential for jobs and livelihoods, so the driving range is key.


Our test of the extended battery in zero-degree Celsius Canadian winter yielded just 350 km on a full charge. There was some highway driving in the mix as well (about 120 km), which notoriously eats into the range. We also had the heated steering wheel and seats on the whole time, and the cabin temp set to 20 degrees Celsius. Also note that this is the range without any towing or hauling, both of which would chip at the range even further.



So let’s give it a safe yield of 350 km in any set weather condition, likely not enough to satisfy the needs of many workhorses out there on the road eight hours a day, towing and hauling to the construction yard or a client’s house. That is unless they have convenient access to a fast charging station and network, but we know how poor that is in Canada, let alone the Greater Toronto Area. When we do find a fast charging station, chances are they are in use, broken, or malfunctioning anyways.


Use and mileage will vary from person to person, and the Lightning’s viability is truly dependent on your specific case, but we believe it’s more of a casual-use truck for limited commutes and nightly charging at home. Relatively though in the grand scheme of trucks and EVs, the Lightning is a major step up in terms of battery advancement, and even 350 km of real world range is phenomenal - the Porsche Taycan 4S in similar weather conditions can only manage 280 km.



And if you are trying to reduce your carbon footprint, having a truck that can casually fit a mattress on the trunk bed is a useful addition to the garage stable, and one that emits zero emissions makes it even more appealing. You will be paying a pretty premium for the Lightning, though, even if you can get one at MSRP. It starts at $79,000 for the base XLT model and rings up at $121,000 for the Platinum that we tested. But when you look at the atrocious fuel consumption of a standard gasoline-powered truck, (go ahead and laugh at our Raptor’s thirst), every penny saved feels good for the ego and the environment.



The Lightning gets a subtle exterior morph from the standard F-150 but there are many giveaways to its EV origins, like the obvious Lightning badging, side charging port cover, and the LED light bar that stretches the entire width of the front end, giving it a unique light signature in daylight and at night.



Pop the electrically-operated front hood and you won’t find an engine cover, but a frunk large enough to fit toolboxes and suitcases. There are even USB (B and C) plugs, external lights, hooks, and our favourite feature, the escape button, in case someone accidentally locks themselves inside. Not an ideal truck for narcos, then. The same goes for the rear trunk bed too - it’s electrically operated with power outlets, plugs and an extendable step to aid ingress and egress. There are a total of 11 power outlets all around the vehicle - think of how many PS5s you could hook up - LAN party anyone?



The interior remains the same as the regular F-150 - there are no fancy gadgets or ambient lighting like the other six-figure EVs we’ve recently driven. Instead, it’s a utilitarian, durable, and practical cabin filled with a plethora of storage cubbies, a vertical-oriented touchscreen to control every vehicle function, and even a fold-out work table to place your laptop or to just have a takeout feast. It’s a handyman’s treasure trove, and the build quality appears much better this time around, with fewer loose panels and a better overall sturdiness to the fit and finish.



The Lightning doesn’t drive like any truck we have ever experienced. Floor the gas pedal and the pick up (no pun intended) is immense, palpable, and instant too. There is zero delay in this heavy piece of equipment zipping from 0-100 km/h in a speedy 4.5 seconds. Every one of those 580 horses is well utilized, and it’s hilarious to mop the floor with cars half its size when overtaking. Not bad for the heaviest car we’ve ever driven, clocking in at 3,130 kg.



And the sensation of speed is eerie too. Despite how quick it is, it emits almost zero noise - none of those spaceship vibes or fake auditory whirls. Add to that its excellent wind and tire insulation and dare we say it, the F-150 is one serene road cruiser. Of course, you can add propulsion noise if you so choose via the car’s menus, and you can activate one-pedal driving while you are at it, allowing you to just drive with the gas pedal. Letting off the pedal will engage braking. Unfortunately, there are no strengths of regeneration available - it is either on or off.



Thanks to an independent front and rear suspension, the Lightning rides very well on smooth roads, absorbing most minor impacts, but it doesn’t seem to neutralize larger bumps very well - it does mellow them out but you still feel the dampers bottoming out. It exhibits that typical body-on-frame shudder for a brief second, right until all four wheels have settled back down to terra firma.



With the batteries located close to the floor bed, the Lightning’s low center of gravity pays dividends in handling, and body roll is nicely kept in check, making it feel secure and grounded even when turning at higher speeds. The steering is quick and natural, which further lends a sense of agility to the front end. In all honestly, the Lightning rides and steers like a conventional truck or larger SUV, so there is no learning curve to get over. Parking may be cumbersome in tight city streets due to its gargantuan size, but the army of cameras and sensors will ensure every panel is kept scratch-free.



The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle in Canada for years, and while its transition to electric propulsion may sound daunting, Ford knows they are laying down the groundwork for the next decade as the top dog. While 350 km of real world range might not satisfy the needs of many workhorse duties, the Lightning is nevertheless a game-changing truck that hits the market at the right time and should be enough to convince a handful of casual or light-duty truck owners to jump ship into zero-emission mobility.


Photo Gallery:












Model: 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum

Paint Type: Iconic Silver
Base Price: $121,000

Price as Tested: $121,000
Wheelbase(mm): 2,696
Length/Width/Height (mm): 5,911 / 2,031 / 1,990

Curb weight (kg): 3,130
Powertrain: 131.0 kWh lithium ion battery, two electric motors
Horsepower: 580 hp
Torque: 775 lb-ft
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD

Claimed Range: 483 km
Observed Range: 370 km

Tires: Michelin X-Ice Snow





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