Electric Ford F-150 Lightning unveiled with 'frunk' and price under $40K

Ford's first all-electric pickup is the most powerful F-150 ever

The Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup has been revealed with standard all-wheel-drive and a shockingly low price of $39,974, which drops to $32,474 after the $7,500 federal tax credit it qualifies for is deducted. That undercuts many of the smaller electric vehicles on sale today, including the Ford Mustang Mach-E compact utility vehicle.

The Ford F-150 Lightning is the brand's first all-electric pickup.

The Ford F-150 Lightning is the brand's first all-electric pickup. (Ford)

The full-size, four-door truck shares its body with the rest of the F-150 lineup, except for its closed-off grille and full-width light bars front and rear, but things are very different under the skin.

The frame has been beefed up with stronger steel and reinforcements to house its battery pack between the rails, which will be offered in two sizes delivering 230 miles and 300 miles of range.

The exact capacities of the batteries haven’t been announced, but they weigh roughly 1,500 to 1,800 pounds, according to members of the engineering team. The weight doesn’t seem to be an issue.

The F-150 Lightning features a frame-mounted battery and fully independent suspension.

The F-150 Lightning features a frame-mounted battery and fully independent suspension. (Ford)

The F-150 Lightning features dual inboard electric motors with a combined output of 426 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque in the standard-size battery model and 563 hp and 775 lb-ft in the extended range version, which is the most powerful F-150s ever.

Ford claims the F-150 Lightning can accelerate to 60 mph in the mid-four-second range, which Fox News Autos confirmed during a test ride with chief engineer Linda Zhang behind the wheel.

The battery can be filled from 15% to 80% in 41 minutes at a public fast-charging system, and at a rate of 30 miles of electricity per hour when using the available 80-amp home charger.

The F-150 Lightning also features the F-150’s first fully independent suspension, a maximum payload rating of 2,000 pounds and at top tow rating of 10,000 pounds.

The F-150 Lightning can tow up to 10,000 pounds.

The F-150 Lightning can tow up to 10,000 pounds. (Ford)

During a demonstration on the towing test track at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds, the F-150 Lightning pulled a 5,000-pound trailer up a 25% grade without skipping a beat or making much noise the way a conventional truck does as it shifts gears and revs its engine. However, it does emit a sci-fi hum at low speeds to alert pedestrians to its presence.

Although there isn’t a dedicated off-road model, the F-150 Lightning’s motors and battery pack are waterproof and fully protected by skid plates, while the suspension borrows some parts from the F-150’s FX4 off-road package. On a drive along a rough trail filled with large moguls, the truck bottomed out several times without issue and the independent suspension noticeably smoothed the ride compared to a solid-axle F-150.

Four trims will be offered, with the entry price set for a commercial fleet-focused model. A more retail customer-oriented XLT starts at $52,974, while Lariat and Platinum trims will be offered at prices that rise to $90,474.

The F-150 Lightning offers a 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The F-150 Lightning offers a 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system. (Ford)

The cabin design and all its available features carry over from the conventional F-150, but high-end Lightnings get the same 15.5-inch touchscreen display as the electric Ford Mustang Mach-E, which can receive new features via over the air updates. Ford’s hands-free BlueCruise highway driving aid will be on the options list along with Phone As Key, which lets a smartphone double as a key fob.

‘THE FOX GARAGE’ GETS THE FULL SCOOP ON THE F-150 LIGHTING FROM FORD'S GM FOR BATTERY ELECTRIC VEHICLES:

Since there isn’t a motor under the hood, the F-150 Lightning has a watertight 400-liter (14.1 cubic foot) front trunk with a 400-pound capacity that includes an underfloor storage bin with a drain that can be filled with ice or wet items.

The F-150 Lightning has a front trunk that can hold up to 400 pounds.

The F-150 Lightning has a front trunk that can hold up to 400 pounds. (Ford)

Power outlets located inside of the "frunk" provide 2.4 kWh of electricity for worksites, campsites and tailgating and an additional 7.2. kWh of output with more outlets in the bed and cabin is available.

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The F-150 Lightning’s battery pack also has a bi-directional capability that allows it to turn into a home generator during a power outage when plugged into an optional charging station setup that’s connected to an inverter. According to Ford, a fully charged battery stores enough energy to power an average American house for three days.

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Reservations for the F-150 Lightning are now being accepted with a $100 deposit, but folks who put money down will have to wait a while for their trucks. The first deliveries from Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan aren’t scheduled to begin until next spring.

A number of full-size, all-wheel-drive electric pickups could be on sale by then, including the $52,500 Lordstown Endurance with its claimed range of 250 miles, and the $49,990 Tesla Cybertruck, which has nearly identical performance specs to the extended range F-150 Lightning.