A blue 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning is shown driving on a city street.

10 Considerations for Truck Drivers Buying an F-150 Lightning

In the race to full electrification, many automakers have chosen to revamp their most popular nameplates to demonstrate their “all-in” strategy and buoy consumer confidence. Enter the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning, Ford’s attempt to transition truck buyers from traditional gas and diesel rigs to full battery power. However, switching to an EV comes with mandatory life changes, and if your EV is a full-size truck that you count on for towing, off-roading, or work at the job site, here are 10 considerations to make before buying an F-150 Lightning.

Making changes to the F-150, America’s best-selling truck for more than 40 years, took no small degree of courage, not only because of the old “if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it” adage but for the simple fact that full-size truck buyers are notoriously brand and model loyal. But after two years on the market, reviews of the F-150 Lightning are impressive.

The 2023 F-150 Lightning has a lot going for it. Instantly available torque creates off-the-line acceleration that rivals many sports cars. The truck’s ability to serve as a generator during power outages or at the campsite creates another level of utility that wasn’t fathomable just a few years ago. However, there are also downsides to consider.

For starters, cold weather, a habit of driving above the speed limit, or towing will all impact the Lighting’s estimated 320-mile range. Still, most EV advocates understand the variables and make adjustments to compensate (e.g., mapping out charging stations along their route). To wary first-time EV buyers, this approach may sound fraught; however, F-150 Lightning owners have shown that the pros outweigh the cons.

A red 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning is shown driving off-road.

#1 – Range Anxiety Is Real

The F-150 Lightning doesn’t achieve its full estimated range in some circumstances, especially when the mercury dips. However, workarounds, like keeping the truck charging whenever it’s not in use and parking it in a heated garage, can help. Most important is to plan for these variables, which continues getting easier thanks to the industry’s commitment to building a more robust charging infrastructure along America’s roads and highways. While range anxiety is real for many first-time EV owners, it usually goes away once you get used to driving a battery-powered truck.

#2 – Power and Capability Are Better

With up to 580 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque, the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning is unquestionably powerful. With its 0-60 mph trim of around four seconds, the truck’s instant torque will have you challenging every high-performance sports car you sidle up next to at traffic lights. The F-150 Lightning has more torque than any other F-150 model, even the mighty F-150 Raptor R, which makes towing and hauling a breeze.

#3 – Prepare to Pay a Little More Up Front

The starting MSRP for the base model 2023 F-150 Lightning Pro lands at $49,995 and buys you a range of 240 miles, a 7,700 lb max tow rating, and standard four-wheel drive. Upgrading to the extended range battery is a $15,000 option that requires moving to the pricey XLT trim, putting the price tag at a meaty $69,995. Still, you’ll never pay for a tank of gas again, nor will you spend money on common maintenance like oil and filter changes, which will help reduce the overall cost of ownership.

#4 – Charging Station Availability

Where do you live? If you work and play far from a densely populated area, you may not have many public charging stations around you. The good news is this is a short-term problem. Ford is working closely with charging station providers to expand the network of public charging stations and has recently signed a deal with Tesla to give Ford EV owners access to the Supercharger network. Before long, charging stations will be as ubiquitous as gas stations. Also, it is important to remember that electric vehicles can be conveniently recharged at home, so you won’t have to track down a public charging station to top off your battery every week.

A silver 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning is shown parked on a construction site.

#5 – Instant Torque as a Benefit

Read any F-150 Lightning review––including President Biden’s––and it’s clear that the pickup’s remarkable acceleration and power are a major highlight. As with all EVs, the F-150 Lightning’s throttle acts like a light switch; press it hard, and the truck vaults off the line. We already covered the raw power the Lightning brings to the table compared to other F-150 models, but the fact that it is all instantly available has to be experienced to be understood. You never have to wait for the truck to get up to speed when you are trying to pull a trailer uphill or merge on the highway.

#6 – Storage, Storage, and More Storage

With no need for an engine bay in the F-150 Lightning, Ford made great use of the vacant under-the-hood space, converting it to an expansive “frunk” that can haul up to 400 lbs and is outfitted with tons of power outlets. Because the F-150 Lightning doubles as a mobile generator, the extra outlets make it easy to tap into that power. Clever storage options can be found throughout the cabin as well, including storage bins underneath the rear seats.

#7 – An Abundance of New Technology

Among the first purchasers of the all-electric F-150 Lightning was a contingent of early adopters: technophiles who made it their mission to embrace new technology ahead of the masses. Many F-150 Lightning owners were drawn to the portrait-mounted 15.5-inch infotainment touchscreen that runs on the latest version of Ford’s SYNC operating system. It’s a gateway to connectivity, including accessing smartphone apps and displaying multiple camera views, and Ford can add more features over time with over-the-air updates.

#8 – Environmental Stewardship

Owning an EV is a powerful way for you to reduce your carbon footprint. Combustion engines continuously emit pollutants, which many drivers want to avoid. As a zero-emissions alternative, the 2023 F-150 Lightning will check your environmental stewardship box. As the country adapts to the EV revolution, you’ll have a leg up on understanding the charging process, upgrading your home with charging infrastructure, and feeling good about your lighter footprint.

A gray 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning is shown towing a boat.

#9 – Unbelievable “Fuel” Economy

When equipped with the available extended-range battery, the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning boasts an EPA-estimated rating of 78 MPGe in the city and 63 MPGe on the highway. For truck owners accustomed to traditional gas or diesel power, the F-150 Lightning’s substantially better efficiency is a major highlight. Pickup trucks are notoriously thirsty, so you’ll enjoy the fact that your rig is more efficient than a typical subcompact sedan.

#10 – Cushy Extras for Greater Convenience and Comfort

How does an 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen audio system sound? Ford infuses the 2023 F-150 Lightning with high-end touches to round out the truck’s appeal. Other niceties in the cavernous crew cab include available heated and ventilated seats, a twin-panel moonroof that fills the cabin with natural light, and a handy work surface that extends from the center console.

Is an All-Electric Full-Size Pickup Right for You?

Making the switch to a daily driver that gets its power from electricity requires considering your lifestyle, where you live, and how you plan to use your truck. As drivers become more comfortable with electric vehicles, automakers have responded with better, longer-range options that stand up to weather and heavy use as well or better than their gas-powered counterparts. Trucks like the F-150 Lightning ease the transition.

Full-size truck buyers have even more to consider, especially if their rig is earmarked for the job site or frequent towing and hauling. Many factors affect driving range, such as cold temperatures and towing, which could necessitate careful advance planning before long-distance travel. Still, even the coldest day or a rigorous route with lots of elevation won’t hamper the F-150 Lightning’s long list of benefits, including its incredible capability and performance. Given the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning’s long list of benefits, now might be the perfect time to make the switch.