a 3 ton missile

a 3 ton missile

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Today we have the unique opportunity to taste the Ford F-150 Lightning, courtesy of Ford Europe that has brought us one to taste the honeys of a huge and surprisingly high-performance pick-up. I’ll tell you what it feels like behind the wheel, though we will not be able to buy it on this side of the pond since its import to Europe would not make any sense.

Although it seems crazy to us, The Ford F150 has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for 40 years.. It is so big that it would be useless in any European city, but the Americans do things on a different scale and these trucks fit perfectly in the parking lot of Wall-Mart.

And how is the best-selling car in the US in its electric version?

The Ford F-150 lightning is marketed in 4 different finishes, which are combined with two powertrain platforms:

• 98 kWh of batteries with 370 km of autonomy and 452 hp of power. • 131 kWh of batteries with up to 510 km of autonomy and 580 hp of power.

From here, with “the bug” in front, the first thing that strikes us is the size: the height of the hood, the diameter of the wheel, the immense length. The F-150 measures 5.90 m and in its electric version it has an empty weight of up to 3,100 kg for its top-of-the-range version, figures that would be industrial vehicle and truck license in Spain.

To drive this vehicle in Spain we would have to limit its maximum authorized mass to 3,500 kg in the technical sheetso that we would lose much of its load capacity but we could legally carry it down the street with a car license. With a truck license there would be no problem taking it as is Americans drive it as a commuter car. Incredible.

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But let’s go with the details. The vehicle is quite an experience, starting with getting on. The height is immense and the footrests are essential as an intermediate step to be able to rise up to the driving position.

Once sitting behind the wheel, I still have the feeling that I am driving a small truck rather than a large car. The passenger seat is so far away that a third adult could travel between the two without the slightest problem of space. The steering wheel is gigantic, in keeping with the rest of the vehicle.

Instead of a third front seat what we have is a huge central console crowned by a gigantic state-of-the-art screen in which almost all functions are centralized. It is the typical Ford giant screen, very vertical and with the latest advances in connectivity.

The general aesthetic is very attractive, because everything is very gross, very large, and the square style fits like a glove to each of the buttons and knobs.

You have the feeling of experiencing something special when you get on it, even before you start moving.

The quality of the plastics and, in general, the finishes, would not go beyond an approved in a European vehicle, but that is an aspect that has never seemed to concern the American public, although the durability of the set does give me a good feeling of solidity. Everything seems carved out of rock.

When you start it, the silence is striking, obviously, but also the feeling of agility. With 580 hp instantly available, in the end, accelerations and recoveries are very goodunless we are already going very fast, in which case the aerodynamics begin to act like a parachute.

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The first thing we do on the circuit is a “launch control”, that is, an acceleration to fire from a standstill. The 0-100 dispatches it in just over 4 seconds (remember that it exceeds 3 tons) sticking to the seat in a devilish way but, once above 110 – 120 km/h, the aerodynamic brake is noticeable already.

In curves it does not behave at all as one would expect from a vehicle that exceeds 3 tons empty: inertia is present, of course, but the level of pitch and roll control is superb and the car is neutral in corners to the point of being funny.

It’s amazing how fast you can go

Having so much instantaneous power invites us to leave the curves like a missile and, little by little, we are gaining confidence in the direction and playing with the limit of adherence at really high speeds. Within the world of pick-ups, we could say that It’s the sportiest thing I’ve ever tried, by quite a bit. She would never have imagined it.

The steering feel is soft, but very precise and enough to give us information about the level of remaining grip.. In the end it is a Ford chassis, one of those that you do not expect to find in a car like this but that makes you enjoy driving this behemoth.

Is it a realistic alternative to gasoline?

A key question that I think we should clear up in this very short track test is whether it would be feasible to use the electric F150 as a work vehicle in the real world. My answer is “it depends”.

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For short trips in which autonomy is not a problem, I think that the Lightning version is an even better pick-up than its combustion sisters because it gives us the added value of the front trunk, the silence of the ride, the instant performance and a multitude of of sockets in which to plug all kinds of tools. At the same time, it does not limit us in any notable aspect.

The most powerful version, with 131 kWh of batteries, theoretically offers us up to 510 km, but if we use this truck for what it is built for (load and drag) and we also do it at high speeds (above 100 km/h) I can assure you that that autonomy will remain in less than half, and always depending on the slopes that we have to overcome. It is a notable limitation.

If we add to this that, precisely because it has a huge battery, loading times are going to be necessarily highwe find ourselves with a perfect work tool for short journeys, but very limited for long distances.

In short, like any other electric car, but bigger.

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