Trucks are for carrying things — big things, preferably. Ford knows this, which is why it put towing and hauling capabilities at the centerpiece of its pitch for the F-150 Lightning, the battery-powered version of the bestselling vehicle in the US.
But hauling things with an electric truck isn’t so simple. The heavier the load, the less range you’re going to be able to squeeze out of the F-150 Lightning’s 98kWh battery (or 131kWh for the long-range version). And while there have been several tests to see how much range the Lightning loses when it’s towing something, less attention has been paid to a far more common scenario: payload.
AAA recently set about testing the F-150 Lightning’s payload-to-range-loss ratio and found that the electric loses close to a quarter of its range when loaded with 1,400 pounds — which is 110 pounds shy of the truck’s gross weight rating.
AAA recently set about testing the F-150 Lightning’s payload-to-range-loss ratio and found that the electric loses close to a quarter of its range
The test version of the F-150 Lightning has an EPA-rated range of 300 miles — but that didn’t quite measure up to AAA testing. With no payload, AAA found the driving range to be 278 miles (7.3 percent less). With 1,400 pounds of sandbags added, the group found the range to be 210 miles, a 24.5 percent reduction compared to the unloaded test condition and a 30.0 percent reduction compared to the EPA estimate.
“Our testing revealed a significant range reduction, but it’s important to note that the Lightning was loaded to near its maximum capacity,” said Greg Brannon, director of AAA Automotive Engineering, in a statement. “Most buyers will likely use their Lightning with a lighter load, resulting in a much smaller range reduction.”
Ford lists the F-150 Lightning’s max payload as 2,235 lbs with the standard battery and 1,952 lbs with the extended-range battery. But AAA notes that these are for the Pro trim and that payload varies based on accessories and configuration.
Instead, AAA relied on the gross weight rating (GVWR), which is the maximum weight of the vehicle, including everything attached. The test vehicle was the Platinum trim, which has a GVWR of 8,550 lbs. The total weight for the loaded test was 8,440 lbs — 110 lbs shy of the GVWR.