Ford F-150 Lightning – What Can It Tow?

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The Ford F-150 Lightning may just very well be one of the most important electric vehicles to enter the market thus far. When it comes to transitioning America to electric vehicles and especially to electric vehicles which can tow the Ford F-150 is key, currently selling roughly 1 million internal combustion engine versions each year. Ford is struggling to keep up with demand for the F-150 Lightning. However, how capable/practical is it when it comes to towing?

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing
Through their marketing materials, Ford is making it very clear that the towing capabilities/functionality of the F-150 Lightning are a key feature of the vehicle: Image – Ford.com

Key Ford F-150 Lightning Specs

  • Official Towing Capacity – Between 5,000 to 10,000 lbs
  • Availability – Now
  • Price – $49,995 (Pro) > $91,995 (Platinum)
  • EPA Range – 240 Miles (Standard Range) > 320 Miles (Extended Range)
  • Estimate Towing Range (50%) – 120 Miles (Standard Range) > 160 Miles (Extended Range)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 150 kW (DC Fast Charger)

Ford F-150 Lightning HP & Torque

  • Standard-Range Battery: AWD with 462 HP and 775 lb-ft of torque
  • Extended Range Battery: AWD with 580 HP and 775 lb-ft of torque

Electric Tow Car/Truck Database

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  • Review real-world towing test results

Ford F-150 Lightning Towing Capabilties

The towing capabilities of the Ford F-150 range from as low as 5,000 lbs all the way up to 10,000 lbs. Click the link to the database above to check out all the different versions and their towing capacity.

The differences in towing capacity depend on the battery (Standard or Extended Range) and also if a towing package has been specified or not.

At 2.30 Ford claims to be able to provide customers with an accurate towing range estimate in the F-150 Lightning

Standard Range vs Extended Range Battery Options

There are four main versions of the F-150 Lightning. The Pro, the XLT, the mid-range Lariat trim and the top-spec Platinum Trim.

On the XLT and Lariat, the Standard Range Battery (230 miles) is well, standard, though you can opt for the extended range battery on both of these trim levels.

On the Platinum trim, the extended range battery is standard, its not possible to order the Platinum trim with the smaller standard range battery.

Towing Assistance Features & Predicted Towing Range

Just as with the standard F-150 fitted with an internal combustion engine, Ford is offering a lot of towing assistance features and packages.

On the XLT and Lariat trim levels, all of these features are optional. On the top-spec Platinum models, all of the towing assistance features below are standard.

  • Pro Trailer Backup Assist
  • Pro Trailer Hitch Assist
  • Trailer Reverse Guidance
  • Trailer Brake Controller
  • Smart Hitch
  • Onboard Scales
  • Trailer Camera
  • Smart Trailer Tow Connection

There are a lot of very cool features that make reversing/hooking up to a trailer much easier for many people. Being able to reverse a trailer and letting the truck do most of the work is pretty cool.

Then you have the onboard scales, which will also measure the tongue weight of the trailer and advise on better weight distribution for safer towing.

The towing mode in the F-150 Lightning is also supposedly able to predict the towing range, factoring in the weight/size of the trailer. I’m going to be very interested to see how this turns out in the real world.

As I’ve previously discussed in my article on trailer aerodynamics, the wind resistance qualities of a trailer may impact range to a more significant degree than its weight.

So like I say, it will be very interesting to see how accurately the F-150 can predict towing range for different trailers. It will supposedly also factor in weather, terrain and traffic information.

A Genuine Power Plant On Wheels

Ok, I’ve been waiting for this type of electric vehicle for many years, one that can actually live up to its true potential as a power plant.

Onboard the F-150 Lightning there can be up to eleven, that’s right, eleven 120V/240V outlets providing up to 9.6kW of total power.

Now, that’s only standard on the higher-spec Lariat and Platinum models, but it is also optional on the base-level XLT.

As standard on the XLT, it gets a total of nine sockets, providing a total power output of 2.4kW, but no 240V outlet.

If the number of outlets on the truck itself with either 2.4kW or 9.6Kw of total power output wasn’t cool enough, the F-150 Lightning has another party piece, V2H, also known as Vehicle to Home.

The standard range battery can output a maximum of 10.5 kW of power, whereas the larger extended range battery can output 17.6 kW of power!

That is dependent on having the correctly rated Ford home charger installed as well though, and pricing on these chargers has yet to be announced.

I think the marketing team and specs team need to have a meeting about the Intelligent Backup Power capabilities

What is interesting to note is the marketing video above seems to imply that the maximum output to the home is 9.6kW, but that’s not what the spec sheet shows.

The spec sheet references the 9.6kW output in reference to the maximum power output from the onboard sockets.

The spec sheet clearly shows (screenshot below) that the maximum power out of the vehicle is higher. How much higher depends on whether its a standard or extended-range battery.

Ford F-150 Lightning Energy Output
The energy output figures stated by Ford for the Standard and Extended Range battery options: Image – Ford Spec Sheet

Good Level 2 Charging But Questionable Level 3 Charging

As I’ve discussed previously in my electric car/truck towing guides, there is a big difference between destination charging (Level 2) and rapid charging (Level 3) while on the road.

And in this regard, I’m impressed with the level 2 destination charging capabilities of the F-150 Lightning, but less so with its level 3 rapid charging capabilties.

When it comes to towing due to the typical 50% range reduction, rapid charging capabilities matter big time.

Okay, so on the destination charging front as you can see from the Ford spec sheet linked above they offer three different home chargers, a 32A, 48A and an industry-leading 80A home charger.

Now, your home is not your only destination. When towing you will be visiting a worksite/campsite etc.

However, the point remains that its possible to spec the F-150 to be compatible with an 80A AC destination charger.

No location currently has such a high-powered AC destination charger, but when/if they do, an F-150 Lightning can take full advantage of them.

Ford F-150 Lighting Charging Times
The charging times for the F-150 Lighting on Level 2 destination chargers and Level 3 rapid chargers: Image – Ford Spec Sheet

As you can see in the screenshot above from the spec sheet, the Extended-Range Battery with an 80A Ford Charge Station Pro can go from 15% to 100% charge in 8 hours.

Again, that’s industry-leading by a long way. No other electric vehicle manufacturer is offering a domestic charger providing that amount of power.

Whether your property or other destination can support such a high-powered destination charger is another question.

But again, the vehicle itself is technically capable of accepting that amount of AC power, so it gets a big thumbs up from me.

Level 3 150kW Rapid Charging (An Achilles Heel?)

If you check out my article on which electric cars/trucks charge the fastest, you will see some of the direct competition for the F-150 Lightning.

You have the Rivian R1T, which will be able to charge at up to 220kW and the Tesla Cybertruck, which will have a peak charge rate of at least 250kW, likely higher.

Many in the industry are expecting Tesla to launch their next V4 charging infrastructure along with the Cybertruck, which will be in excess of the current V3 Supercharges which are already at 250kW.

Then you have the Hummer EV, which is able to charge at 350kW. Then again, the Hummer uses so much energy per mile, it needs it more than any other electric truck.

I’m concerned the maximum 150kW Level 3 charging rate for the Ford F-150 is going to become a problem when it comes to towing

Anyway, you can see where I’m going with this. A 150kW maximum rapid charging rate for a truck that is going to consume a lot of energy towing, is not, by any means, industry-leading, its not really even competitive in the EV truck space.

Even small cars like the Hyundai IONIQ 5 would mop the floor with F-150 Lightning in a Level 3 rapid charging race.

Therefore, I’m concerned the level 3 150kW maximum charging rate of the F-150 Lightning could be its Achilles heel when it comes to being an electric truck when towing is involved.

150kW charging aside, there is a lot to like about the F-150 Lighting, including the hilariously named but extremely practical Mega Power Frunk

Ford F-150 Lightning Review

My Thoughts On The F-150 Lightning….

When Ford launched the Mustang Mach-E, I was very disappointed. Its an SUV with no towing capabilities (in the US anyway).

Ford could not have launched an electric F-150 without towing being a feature. There would have been genuine uproar.

In terms of the towing capacity itself, of between 5,000 lbs up to 10,000 lbs is reasonable and competitive with the likes of the Tesla Cybertruck, Rivian R1T and Chevrolet Silverado EV at their respective price points.

Furthermore, there is a lot to like about F-150 Lightning, such as its ability to output significant amounts of power and the ‘Mega Power Frunk’ is the best frunk of any EV to date.

When it comes to towing, as stated above, I do have concerns about the 150kW rapid charging limitations.

When towing, you will typically use double the amount of energy than you would under normal driving conditions, so getting power back into the truck as quickly as possible is very important.


Electric Tow Car/Truck Database

  • Search/compare all new BEV & PHEV electric tow cars/trucks
  • Review real-world towing test results

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