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Ford says the F-150 Lightning is more powerful than it originally announced

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It’s got more horsepower and payload capacity

Up to 580 buff horses.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Ford just started shipping its electric F-150 Lightning on April 26th, but it already has a surprise for soon-to-be owners: all versions of the truck will have higher horsepower than it originally announced, and the standard range model will have an even higher payload capacity, according to a press release from the company. While that’s good news for anyone who’s already got a pre-order, it could end up increasing the FOMO for those who don’t, and can’t get one — Ford stopped taking pre-orders for the truck in December, and is currently figuring out how to reach its goal of producing 150,000 Lightnings per year.

When Ford announced its electric pickup in May 2021, the company estimated the standard battery pack version would make 426 horsepower, and the extended range version would make 563. Now that it’s actually building them, those numbers have gotten a bump: the standard range will produce 452 horsepower, and the extended will get a whopping 580 horsepower. For context, the V8 turbocharged diesels that Ford puts in its Super Duty trucks (think F-250 to F-450) top out around 475 horsepower — though those engines do make 1,050 pound-feet of torque, which is more than the 775 pound-feet the Lightning can do.

The payload capacity for the truck, or how much weight it can hold in the bed, cab, and frunk, has also gotten a bump. Ford’s announcement says that “properly equipped F-150 Lightning pickups can now haul an extra 235 pounds for a total 2,235 pounds of maximum available hauling capability.” There is a bit of mystery here though — when Ford announced the Lightning, it said that only the standard-range model could haul 2,000 pounds. The extended range’s extra batteries meant it was limited to a maximum of 1,800 pounds. Ford didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment about whether that model is also getting a payload capacity bump.

It’s also worth noting that these figures are likely to be best-case numbers. Ford’s press release notes they’re calculated from the “peak performance of the electric motor(s) at peak battery power,” so your truck may make less horsepower 250 miles into a trip than it will fresh off the charger. Ford also says that “horsepower, torque, payload, towing and targeted EPA-estimated range are independent attributes and may not be achieved simultaneously,” which again makes sense — trucks just won’t be as zippy when they’re hauling a 7,700-pound trailer (the maximum the standard-range model is rated for).

Despite those caveats, it’s still pretty neat that the F-150 Lightning is even more powerful than Ford originally predicted. That’s kind of been the story with this truck; in March, Ford announced that the extended-range Lightning could go about 30 miles further on a charge than it predicted. While it may be quite a while before you can walk into a dealership and buy one (or pay a scalper for one), the F-150 Lightning continues to be quite an interesting EV.


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