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By Charl Bosch

Motoring Journalist

WATCH: Ford brings back Lightning for all-electric F-150

Instead of being a performance model as before, the Lightning no longer comes with the supercharged V8 up front.

Ford has brought the Lightning designation back for the F-150 in the United States, albeit this time without the use of an internal combustion engine.

Made in limited numbers from 1992 to 1995 based on the ninth generation model and then from 1999 to 2004 using the tenth generation, the new Lightning follows the same path as the GMC Hummer EV by being an all-electric model only and unlike its predecessors, no longer a performance variant as that role is reserved for the F-150 Raptor.

Differentiating from the standard model by the LED headlights wrapping around the sealed grille, which itself comes in three designs, new side steps and Lighting badges, the plugged-in F-150 eschews the 5.4-litre supercharged V8 for two electric motors mounted on the front and rear axles in two outputs; 318 kW and 420 kW with torque for both capped at 1 050 Nm.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Rear is unchanged apart from the Lightning decals

Offering a range of 370 km and 483 km respectively, the Lightning has a waiting time of 44 or 41 minutes when using a 150 kW fast charger with a range of 66 km and 87 km available after 10 minutes. Using a conventional household socket though ups the waiting time to between 14 and 19 hours with the range after an hour being 23 km and 21 km.

Riding on a dedicated all-electric platform, the Lightning also introduces a new backup power system Ford claims can transmit as much as 9.6 kW back into the household electricity grid using the 80-amp charging station that comes as standard on both models. In this configuration, charging time is between ten and eight hours from 0-100% with the range after 60 minutes being 31 km and 48 km.

Equipped with the same Pro Power Onboard outlets integrated into the inside walls of the loadbox like the standard F-150, the Lighting has a claimed payload of 907 kg and 816 kg for the latter extended range model with the absence of an engine resulting in 400-litres of space being offered underneath the bonnet.

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Able to tow between 3 492 and 4 535 kg, the Lighting comes in three trim levels; XLT, Lariat and Platinum with only the latter offering the extended and therefore more powerful battery pack as standard.

In terms of features, the XLT rides on 18-inch gloss black polished alloy wheels and boasts a twelve-inch digital instrument cluster, surround-view camera system, push-button start, a twelve-inch SYNC 4 touchscreen infotainment system, heated cloth seats with the driver’s chair being electric, electric bonnet, the mentioned LED headlights and Ford’s Co-Pilot 360 range of safety and driver assistance systems.

Moving on up, the Lariat receives and electric tailgate, optional electrically deploying side steps, LED lighting within the loadbox and a standard eight-speaker Bang & Olufsen Play sound system as well as rain sense wipers, electric passenger’s seats with both pews up front being heated, ventilated and finished in leather, the folding gear lever, Co-Pilot 360 Assist system and a bigger 15.5-inch display as well as dark carbonised 20-inch alloy wheels.

Ford F-150 Lightning

The tablet-like 15.5-inch SYNC 4 infotainment system of the Lariat and Platinum.

Topping the line-up, the Platinum builds on the Lariat by swapping the 20-inch wheels for 22-inch machined and polished Ebony Black alloys. Also standard is an 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio, fully adjustable heated and ventilated leather seats with added black tuxedo stripes and like the Lariat, the mentioned 9.6 kW Onboard system versus the XLT’s 2.4 kW.

With order books now open, the Lighting will go on sale next year sporting a price tag of $52 974 (R744 883) for the XLT, though an entry-level SR will become available later retailing from $39 974 (R562 086). The top-spec Platinum is expected to have a price of $90 000 (R1 265 517) with the stickers excluding the US government’s $7 500 (R105 459) electric vehicle incentive.

Like with the standard F-150 though, the Lighting will remain a US market only model and therefore a no-no for South Africa.

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