Doug DeMuro isn’t for everyone, but he’s been covering the automotive industry for a long time and understands it well. He’s not an EV aficionado but has driven most of them. Since he isn’t able to personally review the Ford F-150 Lightning yet, he sat down in his license plate-filled garage and gave us his opinions on the all-new electric truck.
DeMuro mostly said good things about the Lightning, but I wanted to comment on his complaint about acceleration. The Rivian R1T, Tesla Cybertruck, and GMC Hummer EV truck will be able to hit 60 mph in about 3 seconds. As great as that sounds, the majority of Americans don’t care about that. The Lightning hits 60 mph in the mid-4-second range, which is very quick and fast enough for your average driver. That’s about as fast as a Mustang GT with a manual transmission.
I also want to clarify what he said is the current release date for the Rivian R1T truck. It was pushed from next month to July, not 2022. Also, DeMuro mentioned that Ford will run out of EV tax credits soon. That will not happen if President Biden’s EV plan is passed, and it likely will be.
DeMuro thinks the F-150 Lightning is a “compelling EV” and is “something of a turning point” for the EV industry. He feels this way because not only does it have a low starting price (about $40k without tax incentives) but it’s a truck, the best selling vehicle in the US. There are other electric trucks coming out, but he feels they are more of “lifestyle” trucks due to their high starting price.
The Tesla Cybertruck has a similar starting price, but that base single-motor model will likely be the last to enter production and Tesla prices tend to fluctuate a lot. The Hummer EV is a six-figure vehicle and the Rivian R1T Explore starts at $67,500 (that model enters production next year).
DeMuro also feels the Lightning is important because your average truck buyer, small business owner, and companies with commercial fleets will be more attracted to it because of its starting price, and because it’s a Ford. Most American truck buyers aren’t on the EV bandwagon and would trust Ford with an electric truck over start-ups like Rivian and Tesla. On top of that, average truck buyers, small business owners, and commercial fleets might not like the radical look of the Cybertruck.
When the Cybertruck, Hummer EV, and R1T come out, they will be trucks that only wealthier people can afford (at first). When the F-150 Lightning hits the market, it will appeal to a larger segment of the population due to its starting price. Now we are of course talking about the base Pro model of the Lightning which has that low $40k starting price. But even that base version has a 12-inch center touchscreen, SYNC4, a 12-inch digital instrument cluster, and 775 lb-ft of torque. Those are features most vehicles don’t have as standard equipment. And since it’s a Lightning, all models get all-wheel drive and the Super Crew cab.
If the Pro model doesn’t have enough features, the XLT model is next in line and starts at $52,974 before any incentives. Top-spec Lightning models will pass $90k, but so will the top-spec models of other electric trucks.