You’ve heard a lot about the new Ford F-150 Lightning, but you wonder if it can tow your load. How much weight can a Ford F-150 Lightning Tow?
Ford is having great success with the new electric F-150 Lightning (in fact, orders for the 2022 models have sold out). But as great as reducing a carbon footprint might be, if the truck isn’t going to haul much, what good is it? The last thing you want is a truck that looks great but can’t do anything. What about the concern many truck owners have about an EV? Namely, they will be forced to surrender the functionality they are used to to help the environment. Can a small electric motor handle the workload you need a pick-up to do? Would Ford make a truck incapable of towing or with a lower payload just because they want to show they are embracing the eco-movement? Or have they found a way to get the best of both worlds by building a heavy-duty truck that has no carbon footprint?
The 2022 F-150 Lightning Pro tows 7,700 lbs with the Standard Battery. The XLT, and Lariat and Platinum can tow up to 10,000 lbs (with the Extended Range Battery and Max Tow Package). The 2023 F-150 Lightning is expected to have the same towing capacities.
While the ten thousand pound threshold seems impressive, there is always the question of range? How will the extra weight play out on the road when you need to get to where you are going? It is one thing for the truck to pull the weight you need, but if 50 miles down the road you have to stop and recharge, that will be a hassle. So, before investing the money that an F-150 Lightning costs, it is best to do some homework to ensure everything lines up.
Well, we have the answers for you. Read on, and let’s see if we can find out whether this new EV truck is the right one for you.
How Much Can a Ford Lightning Really Tow?
The Ford F-150 Lightning has an impressive towing capacity of 10,000 lbs when equipped with the second battery, increasing its range to 300 miles. The payload capacity is rated to hold up to 2,235 lbs, and a frunk can hold an additional 400 lbs. (The frunk is the space where the engine used to be). While these numbers are less than the 5.0 V8 numbers of the ICE Ford also offers, it is still pretty impressive. Ford’s two EV truck competitors, Hummer and Rivian, boast similar numbers that should be available later this year.
To ease fears about an electric truck, Ford decided to test its claims that the new F150 would tow up to 10,000 lbs when equipped with the Extended Range Battery. The engineers at Ford knew there would be concerns about the capability of the electric motors, so they put the F-150 through an 8-mile stretch of I-70 nicknamed the “Gaunlet” in Colorado. The road had a 7% incline and reached over 11,000 feet above sea level.
The route along I-70 was designed to determine towing capacities in colder, wet weather (Ford claimed that the temps got to 2 degrees below while they were putting the truck through its paces). They also tested the truck and trailer in intense desert heat near Davis Dam (between Vegas and Hoover Dam), reaching 118 degrees. To makes the test even more complex, the testers used a box-style trailer to maximize wind resistance. The results were exceptional. In both cases, the truck easily pulled the weighted trailer multiple times. View their press release at media.ford.com
As you can imagine, several review sites decided to test the company’s 10,000 lbs claim. Road and Track, CNET, utvdriver.com, and others all hitched their trailers to the back of the truck and pulled away. The result was that the EV truck quickly pulled the trailer's weight just as Ford had claimed. Most reviewers were blown away by how you can just hit the gas and go almost as if you weren’t pulling anything. (An electric motor doesn’t need to rev up to get enough RPMs to pull additional weight, it engages all the torque needed as soon as you hit the accelerator). For more information on the reviews, check out the websites here: Road and Track, CNET, and utvdriver.com.
How Far Can I Tow with an F-150 Lightning?
The crux of towing is not just the weight a truck pulls but how far you can go with the load. In other words, it's about the range. You might have a truck that can tow a lot, but if it can’t tow that heavy load for a decent amount of miles, you have nothing but an expensive family hauler. You want a truck that does the work and not just looks good sitting in the driveway.
Ford boasts a 300-mile range for towing with F-150s equipped with an Extended Range Battery. However, towing a heavy trailer can reduce that number depending on the trailer’s weight. Most tests found that towing range with a fully loaded trailer reduced the range by about 50%. Although this might cause some owners alarm, it is not unusual because similar numbers occur with a gas-powered ICE.
Ford has specialized towing functions that allow you to build a profile for the weight and size of your trailer so that range calculations are more accurate. No guesswork here! These computer programs consider the distance, route, and terrain and even analyze the weather to assess range distances before you have to stop and recharge. This information goes a long way to ease many truck owners' anxiety.
The advantage of gas-powered ICE trucks is that you can quickly stop and refuel should you need to. Due to the lack of charging infrastructure and the time it takes to recharge an EV, towing long distances with the F-150 is probably out of the question. Most charging stations are not set up to handle the electric needs of vehicles equipped with trailers.
Even though the towing range for the F-150 Lightning is limited, it is wise to remember that the technology for EVs is just starting, and there is no doubt that these numbers will only get better as EV trucks become more advanced.
Are There Different Towing Capacities for Different Trims?
Not all trims for the 2022 model have the same capabilities. The Lightning Pro is the base truck with an electric motor that produces 426 hp. And 775 lb/ft torque. The truck has a maximum towing capacity of 7700 lbs and a payload of 2235 lbs, which is capable of pulling most conventional trailers or campers. To tow, you will need to invest in the Max Tow Package for an additional $1950. And if you are considering getting an extended battery package for the Pro so you can pull the 10k lbs, forget it. (You have to be a Fleet customer).
The XLT, and Lariat trims are the primary workhorses with the most capabilities. These trucks come with various options, but as far as towing goes, they can do the 10,000 lbs as advertised. (Payload is also 2,235 lbs). However, to get any range to speak of, you will need to go with the Premium Package to get the extended range battery ($10,000 add-on).
If you are a person who demands all the creature comforts offered in the Platinum, be prepared to pay more money for the upgraded items. The Platinum trim has the extended range battery and max tow package as standard equipment, which allows the truck to have a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs. Be prepared, though, the price for all those features is north of 90 grand.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding