Ford has revealed a version of its new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck aimed specifically at commercial customers. It’s called the F-150 Lightning Pro, and it starts at $39,974 for a version with an estimated 230 miles of range. Extended-range versions of the truck, which are expected to get 300 miles on a full battery, will start at $49,974.
Much like the retail version of the electric F-150, the Lightning Pro stands to win Ford a lot of business as long as the company executes well when the truck starts shipping in 2022. Fleets all over the country are already considering a switch to electric vehicles, either to get ahead of zero-emission guidelines at the state or federal level, or in an attempt to take advantage of what should be a lower total cost of ownership with electric vehicles. Ford claims the Lightning Pro could cut maintenance costs up to 40 percent over eight years and 100,000 miles of use compared to a 2.7L EcoBoost F-150.
Multiple electric pickups are coming to market over the next year or two, including Tesla’s Cybertruck, the GMC Hummer EV, and the Rivian R1T. But almost none are geared specifically towards commercial fleets. One of the only examples is the electric pickup truck being developed by Ohio startup Lordstown Motors. That truck is supposed to go into production later this year, but it will start at around $52,000, and the company doesn’t have anywhere near the track record of an established automaker like Ford. Paired with the E-Transit van, the Lightning Pro gives Ford a potent one-two punch in the fight to electrify the commercial market.
There aren’t a lot of obvious differences between the Lightning Pro and the retail versions of the electric F-150 that Ford revealed last week. Like the retail version, it only comes in a four-door SuperCrew cab and 5.5-foot bed configuration. Buyers can choose to equip the Lightning Pro with the standard or extended range battery. The standard range version will have a max 7,700-pound towing capacity when equipped with the optional towing package, while the extended range can pull up to 10,000 pounds. Both versions use a dual-motor, all-wheel drive setup, with the standard range truck maxing out at an estimated 426 horsepower, while the extended range version can make around 563HP.
Both Lightning Pro trucks have onboard power available, which can run electric tools or other accessories, though buyers will have to pay more for extra outlets (including a 240 volt plug in the bed) and higher total output. The extended range option also comes with an 80-amp charging station that can pretty much help refill a truck’s battery overnight. All versions of the commercial truck come with the massive, water-resistant front trunk, which has 14.1 cubic feet of storage and its own set of electrical outlets.
There is one big difference between the commercial and retail versions, though: the Lightning Pro will come with Ford’s commercial telematics software, which makes it easier for fleet owners to keep tabs on the location, charging status, or health of their vehicles.
“It’s actually complimentary for customers, and it gives insights such as: what’s your odometer [at]? What warning lights and diagnostic trouble codes are there? And we’re going so far as to provide preventative and proactive prognostics,” says Alex Purdy, the head of connectivity on Ford’s business operations side. Purdy says Ford even offers a data service that works with any other third-party fleet telematics software businesses might already have up and running.
“there are unique challenges”
Ford’s fleet software will also help operators tackle some of the more unconventional issues that might crop up as they switch to electric vehicles. For instance, some workers take their fleet vehicles home at night, fill up the gas tank on their own, and get reimbursed by their employer. Ford could help install home chargers for those workers, Purdy says, but the company has also written into the fleet software a way to let employers reimburse workers for the cost of at-home charging.
“These are the kinds of things that make Ford different,” Purdy says. “We say that we know how people use their vehicles, and it feels like a hollow thing — it’s not actually hollow in this case at all, because there are unique challenges with making an electric vehicle, relevant, useful, and adoptable by commercial customers.”