LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the automotive world goes electric, so does a full-size pickup truck. The battery-powered version of the very popular Ford F-150 is here, called the Lightning.
"We know our customers better than anyone, and we're giving them more of what they love, and using electrification to give them things they've never had before," said Mike Levine, a communications manager for Ford Motor Company.
Aside from a few styling touches, it looks a lot like the conventional F-150. Same goes for the interior, where almost everything looks familiar. Even the gear selector is conventional, rather than something oddball. This was all done very much on purpose.
"If you've got an F-150 today and you get into an F-150 Lightning, you will be totally at home," noted Levine.
Of course, the drive system is very different. There's a huge battery underneath, and electric motors at the front and rear, so all-wheel drive is standard. As with most electric vehicles, the torque is incredible: 775 lb-ft, standard. Enough for serious towing if you need it, and Ford says the F-150 Lightning can pull a trailer up to 10,000 lbs. Just like with a conventionally-powered vehicle, the driving range is reduced when towing, but the Lightning's on-board computer can adjust to reflect the battery's remaining charge.
With no engine up front, Ford used that empty space for a large storage compartment. It's weatherproof and secure. Like a conventional car trunk, it can keep luggage or equipment safe and dry.
Lately, electric pickup trucks have become buzzworthy vehicles. Some are real, and some are still imagined. Many seem to be aimed as amusement for wealthy people. Ford will be happy to build a lot of fully-loaded Lightnings if it needs to, but they're also concentrating on their core commercial customers.
With a base model called Pro, priced at just over $40,000 with destination. Ford is making sure that business users can access an electric option. From independent contractors to large fleets, Ford wants to keep its loyal F-150 customers in the fold for or if they decide to go electric.
"Our approach with F-150 Lightning is we're going to get F-150 Lightnings to every customer, and that includes the commercial customer," said Levine.
Power should be a selling point, for those customers and for anyone on board.
There are power outlets in the trunk, including USB ports and out back in the bed, there's even 240 power for big tools and equipment.
Get this: with the 240-volt outlet, the Lightning could even power the charge for another electric vehicle. There's also a special converter available for your home electric system that will allow the truck's battery to power your house during a power failure.
Standard battery range is 230 miles, or optionally 300 to 320 miles. The only downside to the extended range battery is that it takes extended time to fully charge, even at a DC quick-charge station. It's also an expensive upgrade - up to $20,000 more - though it is standard on the $90,000 Platinum model.
The $40,000 to $90,000 suggested retail base prices are all before federal and state tax incentives.
Ford's only problem with the F-150 Lightning right now is: it has so many advance orders, that it could have trouble keeping up with demand at first. Especially in light of the worldwide supply chain and microchip issues. Nevertheless, the company says it plans to be able to produce 150,000 of these trucks each year before too long.