September 26, 2023

Motor Mouth: Breaking down the figures on Ford’s new electrical F-150

Table of Contents

This is the most essential car that will be introduced this yr. The release of any F-150 is big news the point the new Lightning pickup is battery-powered just doubles the dimension of the headlines. In truth, there is a valid argument that, in North The us at the very least, the electric powered F-150 may perhaps be the litmus test for the long term success of battery electricity.  

Is the Lightning up to the endeavor?

The response to this query is yes — primarily. In phrases of styling, Ford has a veritable house run on its palms, adding just adequate “electric” styling cues to the F-150’s regular condition to make it captivating to new customers, with out alienating loyalists of its boxy brutishness. Leave the Cybertruck to the Silicon Valley poseurs, Ford seems to be indicating, we market to authentic pickup proprietors.

As for every day facilities, the standout options, as in depth by colleague Andrew McCredie, are legion. Any one sitting down on the fence as to whether or not their up coming motor vehicle should really be ICE- or battery-powered has to be impressed with any automobile that will — many thanks to what Ford calls its Intelligent Backup Power system — be in a position to light up your whole property for 3 days if there’s a energy outage. And how about an independent rear suspension on an F-150, the outcome, say Ford’s engineers, of the Lightning’s inboard motor structure? Do you actually have to have far more motive to go battery electrical?

Uhm, possibly more quickly charging

The most exciting issue about the F-150 Lightning’s grandiose unveiling is what we really do not know. For instance, the F-150’s spec sheet is replete with electrical power specs — 426 and 563 horsepower out of its standard and extended types, respectively — and anticipated array. We also know how immediately it will speed up (4.6 seconds to 100 kilometres an hour), how rapidly it can be charged (from 15 to 80 for each cent in 41 minutes on a DC rapidly-charger), and how much the prolonged-selection edition can tow (10,000 lbs .).

What we really do not know is the dimensions of the batteries. In actuality, we have no details about the batteries by any means. We never know their working voltage or how a lot of cells make up the standard- or prolonged-array variations. Pretty pretty much, nothing. For people unfamiliar with electrical car or truck technological know-how, check out to comprehend my consternation. Consider if Ford introduced an all-new, fuel-powered F-150 with specs detailing its horsepower, fuel intake, and acceleration, but refused to convey to us engine displacement or even how lots of cylinders. The Lightning’s is the strangest design expose I can remember in my 38 many years in the business enterprise.

What Ford isn’t telling us

It’s feasible — although, I’d propose, not probable — Ford is not supplying us battery facts because it has an upcoming battery announcement that is not nevertheless absolutely formulated. One particular clue may well be the Lightning’s fast-charging specs. On a DC 150-kW charger, the smaller sized-battery version — with 110 to 130 kWh, estimates Forbes — just take 44 minutes to demand to 80 per cent from 15, even though the larger sized battery (150 to 180 kWh, suggests Forbes) will take 41. Probably Ford has uncovered some super-magic formula cooling technique that lets its even larger battery charge a lot more swiftly, and is hunting to surprise us closer to the Lightning’s on-sale day.

2022 GMC Hummer EV.


Much more likely is the possibility Ford’s marketing and advertising department just doesn’t want a direct comparison with GMC’s forthcoming Hummer SUT. Basic Motors has presently introduced its pickup will provide batteries with up to 200 kilowatt-hrs and 350-kW charging, double the Lightning’s 150-kW highest fast demand. The motive — and once more, there have to be a purpose for this kind of evident omissions in the spec chart — is that The General’s Ultium batteries operate on 800 volts, even though the Lightning’s lithium-ion set up practically assuredly operates on the same 400 volts as the Mustang Mach-E.

Why does voltage make a difference?

Voltage, plain and very simple, is the essential to speedy-charging. A higher charging voltage basically enables for a lot quicker charging. 

The reason is truly not really complex: The enemy of quickly-charging is warmth build-up within just the battery. What will cause heat build-up is existing. And the pretty most basic equation in all of electrical energy is that energy (as in how considerably you put back into the battery while charging) is volts instances amps (P = V x A). I do not assume an state-of-the-art engineering diploma is necessary to determine out that, if you double the voltage, you halve the amps. Which is why an 800-volt EV — like the forthcoming Hummer SUT — can boast 350-kW charging, more than two times as substantially as the new F-150’s 150-kW utmost.

Does rapidly-charging make any difference?

At 1st look, perhaps not. Seeking at the specs, the prolonged-selection battery — which we assume will bump up the value by about $15,000 — features 483 kilometres of variety and can be recharged in 41 minutes. At experience benefit, it would feel like you could get 4 or so several hours of freeway driving ahead of acquiring to end for a 41-minute crack. That seems virtually reasonable, even to an EV sceptic.

Browse the tea leaves and it’s obvious Ford is prioritizing its professional clientele more than mainstream consumers

Other than, if you search intently, those 41 minutes only let you to charge to 80 for each cent from 15 (1 of the anomalies of charging batteries is that, no matter of voltage, as soon as past 80 per cent, charging slows noticeably, which is why EV companies only specify charging situations to 80 for every cent).

Which is only about two-thirds of a comprehensive demand, which usually means you would regain only about 320 km — a minimal extra than two-and-a-50 percent several hours of driving at a buck-20 — from your 41-minute quit.

Really, it will get a very little worse. That 483-km array estimation is dependent on largely gradual-pace town driving. Array Finder not long ago tested the Mustang Mach-E — which presumably utilizes the very same battery technologies — and though it promised 435 km of vary, it delivered only 325 klicks when cruising at a continuous 125 km/h. Factoring in a similar reduction — the heavier, fewer aerodynamic pickup will in all probability in fact fare worse — usually means your 483 km of vary (and four several hours of driving) appears to be like far more like two hours and 240 km right after that 41-moment recharge. You could attain a couple much more klicks by charging the battery all the way up to 100 per cent, but, as I pointed out, that is going to choose waaay for a longer time.

Has Ford screwed up by not supplying 800V batteries on the F-150?

Not necessarily. Most revealing is that the industrial model of the Lightning retails for just $58,000 ($39,974 in the U.S.). That number is significantly less than fifty percent of what GMC is going to cost for its rapidly-charging Hummer. It will also be significantly less pricey than the future Rivian and whatever Tesla decides to actually charge for the Cybertruck at the time it eventually arrives. Speedy-charging may possibly be attractive but it’s also highly-priced, and it seems Ford has prioritized selling price about charging velocity.

Tesla Cybertruck

The most telling statistic, then, is that the large preponderance of industrial motorists travels fewer than 300 km a day — perfectly inside of the selection of even the common battery — which usually means that said sluggish charging should not be a element in their order conclusion. Lower price, on the other hand, most assuredly is.

So, that’s what Ford’s up to

Read the tea leaves — or, more precisely, electric power by the electrical formulae — and it’s noticeable Ford is (at minimum to begin with) prioritizing its business clientele above mainstream consumers. The new F-150 Lightning is additional than capable of all that most fleet operators will ask of it. On the other hand, retail truck people — in particular individuals for whom their pickup is their sole car or truck — will practically assuredly come across its DC quickly-charging seeking. 

The all-electrical pickup has a liquid cooling method and powertrain format that manages warmth distribution throughout the auto.

Ford Motor Co.

Even Ford’s solution planning appears to be to mirror that dichotomy. Unlike the fuel-powered model, there is no foundation XL-model Lightning the most inexpensive electrical F-150, the a lot more upscale XLT, starts off at $68,000 ($52,974 south of the border). That fundamentally selling prices the Lightning out of the entry-stage client market place, relegating the electrical F-150 to the affluent pickup customer whose multi-car household makes its fairly slow DC charging inconsequential. 

The bottom line

Quick-charging is the foreseeable future. No matter whether there is a 350-kW quickly-charging network presently in area matters not it would be a enormous slip-up, even at this juncture, to foist lowly 400-volt 150-kW charging on mainstream customers and imagine it will be sufficient for the extensive-phrase potential. Envision Apple not setting up 5G into the Iphone 11 just due to the fact an mmWave network is not however accessible coastline to coastline. In other words, if Ford is nonetheless offering 400-volt F-150s in, say, 4 many years, its competition will speed on by. 

On the other hand, if the current know-how is but a brief-phrase intermediate phase — and I seriously do emphasize “short-term” — to be 1st and most affordable into the pickup section, then its seemingly odd positioning and pricing could verify brilliant. For now, I assume the principal industry for the new Lightning are business fleets and the similar affluent dilettantes that Tesla draws in.

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