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Ram 1500 Revolution vs Ford F-150 Lightning: The Electric Truck Showdown

The automotive world is in the midst of a seismic shift from fossil fuels to electric power. And now this EV revolution is charging ahead into the most popular and profitable vehicle segment in America: pickup trucks. Legacy brands like Ford and Ram are facing off against scrappy startups in a fierce battle to win the hearts, minds and wallets of truck buyers.

Ford landed the first blow with the F-150 Lightning, which launched in May 2022 to strong reviews and robust demand. But Ram is readying a high-tech counterpunch with the audacious 1500 Revolution concept unveiled at CES 2023. This sleek, muscular EV pickup aims to make the Lightning look like yesterday‘s news with cutting-edge features and eye-popping performance.

So which of these battery-powered behemoths has the goods to lead the electric truck charge? As a digital technology expert and unabashed truck geek, I‘ve dug deep into the specs, features and innovations of the Ram Revolution and Ford Lightning. Let‘s hook up the jumper cables and dive into this high-voltage head-to-head comparison.

Powertrain and Performance

The heart of any electric vehicle is its powertrain, and both of these trucks are packing some seriously electrified muscle.

Ford F-150 Lightning

The Lightning sports a pair of electric motors, one driving each axle, that churn out a combined 452 horsepower and 775 lb-ft of torque in the standard range model. Opt for the extended range version and output jumps to 580 hp while torque remains the same. Ford says that‘s enough oomph to hustle the 6,500 lb truck from 0-60 mph in the mid-4 second range. Not too shabby for something that can also tow your boat to the lake.

Those motors are juiced by a lithium-ion battery pack mounted under the floor. The standard range Lightning gets a 98 kWh pack while the extended range model upgrades to a 131 kWh pack. Ford hasn‘t disclosed the exact chemistry or cell configuration, but it‘s likely a pouch-type cell using a nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) cathode, similar to other Mach-E models. An innovative liquid cooling system keeps the batteries at optimum operating temperature.

Ram 1500 Revolution

Ram is playing its cards a little closer to the vest with powertrain details, as the Revolution is still a pre-production concept. However, they‘ve hinted at some seriously juicy specs. The Revolution will use a new STLA Frame EV platform that‘s purpose-built for trucks.

This skateboard-style chassis will house a massive battery pack that Ram says will provide up to 500 miles of driving range. That absolutely crushes the F-150 Lightning‘s 320-mile max range and would be a game changer for EV trucks. Exact battery capacity hasn‘t been announced, but I‘d estimate at least 175-200 kWh to achieve that 500 mile target. Expect the latest nickel-rich battery chemistries and efficient high-voltage architecture.

As for motors, the Revolution will also use a dual-motor AWD setup. Ram hasn‘t shared horsepower or torque figures yet, but I‘d expect them to be in the same "hypercar disguised as a truck" realm as the GMC Hummer EV and Rivian R1T. Four-digit horsepower and physics-defying acceleration is quickly becoming the norm for ultra-high-end EV trucks. The Revolution concept also has four-wheel steering for improved agility and trick suspension that can adjust ride height on the fly.

While Ford has a head start, it‘s clear that Ram is bringing some serious firepower to this EV truck fight. If they can deliver on these bold performance claims, the Ram 1500 Revolution will be an absolute beast both on-road and off. Advantage: Incomplete, but the Revolution is aiming high.

Charging and Range

Of course, all that electric potential is useless if the truck runs out of juice. Luckily, both Ram and Ford have paid close attention to charging speeds and driving range.

The F-150 Lightning can DC fast charge at up to 150 kW, which allows it to add 54 miles of range in 10 minutes and go from 15% to 80% charge in about 44 minutes. That‘s quicker than most current EVs, but trails the ultra-fast 250+ kW speeds of the Lucid Air and Porsche Taycan.

Range varies based on battery pack. The standard range Lightning is EPA rated for 230 miles, while the extended range model ups that to 320 miles. Those are solid figures for an electric work truck, especially considering its sizable towing and hauling capabilities (more on that later). It beats the Rivian R1T‘s 314 mile max range and roughly matches the GMC Hummer EV pickup‘s 329 mile estimate.

However, Ram looks set to leave them all in its electron dust, at least on paper. The brand is targeting up to 500 miles of range for the 1500 Revolution, enabled by its massive battery pack and 800-volt electrical architecture. And thanks to that high-tech setup, it‘ll be able to charge at a screaming 350 kW, adding 100 miles of range in as little as 10 minutes.

If Ram delivers on those claims, the Revolution will embarrass every other electric truck on sale today. 500 miles of range is enough to completely eliminate anxiety for all but the longest trips. And juicing up nearly as fast as a gas-powered fill-up is the holy grail for EVs.

There‘s still a lot that‘s uncertain about the Ram‘s charging and range capabilities. We don‘t know if that 500-mile figure will hold up in real-world driving or if the production version will have the same 350 kW charging speed. But credit where due, Ram understands how critical charging and range are for electric trucks and they‘re taking direct aim at those pain points. That ambition alone gives them an edge over Ford in my book.

Towing and Payload

Let‘s be honest, you don‘t buy a full-size pickup truck just to win stoplight drag races (though that‘s a nice bonus in an EV). Trucks still need to work for a living, which means towing trailers and hauling heavy loads. Here‘s how these rivals stack up in terms of raw utility:

The F-150 Lightning has a maximum payload capacity of 2,000 lbs, which is actually a bit less than the gas-powered F-150‘s 3,325 lb max rating. Blame the hefty batteries. Still, 2,000 lbs is more than enough for a loaded pallet or a bed full of drywall and concrete bags.

As for towing, the Lightning maxes out at 10,000 lbs when equipped with the extended range battery and max trailer tow package. Again, that trails the regular F-150‘s 14,000 lb max tow rating but remains impressive for an EV. It also tops the Rivian R1T‘s 11,000 lb rating.

The Ram Revolution‘s towing and payload specs are still a mystery at this point. The concept truck shown at CES had a 5-ft long bed but Ram hinted at a "grand saloon" midgate feature that could expand the bed into the cabin for hauling items up to 18 ft long with the tailgate down. Very cool but not quite the same as having a true 8-ft bed.

Given the Revolution‘s brawny underpinnings and high-output electric motors, I‘d expect it to match or exceed the Lightning‘s hauling and towing capabilities. 11,000-12,000 lbs of towing and 2,500-3,000 lbs of max payload seem within reach. If Ram can nail those targets while delivering on its range and charging promises, the Revolution would be the most well-rounded electric truck yet. But until we see official numbers, Ford still has the lead in this category.

Interior and Technology

Pickup trucks have evolved from bare-bones work vehicles to tech-laden mobile offices. And these electric contenders take that high-tech ethos to new heights.

The Ford F-150 Lightning features a 15.5-inch vertically oriented touchscreen powered by Ford‘s SYNC 4A infotainment system. It has natural voice control, cloud-connected navigation, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto and over-the-air software update capabilities. A fully digital 12-inch instrument cluster and 360-degree camera system round out the cutting-edge tech. Ford‘s BlueCruise hands-free driving assist is available and can automatically steer, brake and accelerate the truck on over 130,000 miles of pre-mapped divided highways across North America.

Other nifty Lightning-specific features include built-in scales that measure payload weight and a smart range calculator that factors in towing, payload, weather and terrain to provide accurate range estimates before you set off. The Lightning also has 11 power outlets scattered throughout the cab and bed, providing up to 9.6 kW of electricity for tools, electronics and other gear. That‘s a godsend for contractors and campers alike.

Inside, the Lightning has the same spacious, well-appointed cabin as other high-end F-150 models. The top Platinum trim is awash in leather, open pore wood and sleek detailing. But an electric powertrain means the Lightning also benefits from a large front trunk or "frunk" under the hood with 14 cubic feet of cargo space and four more power outlets. It‘s like having a gigantic, weatherproof toolbox everywhere you go.

As for the Ram 1500 Revolution, we only have the concept vehicle to go on, but it looks to seriously up the wow-factor. The most eye-catching feature is the full-length glass roof with electro-chromatic panels that can change from transparent to opaque. Occupants can use the overhead touchscreen to adjust the roof‘s transparency or access a virtual library of ambient "sky scenes" to display on the glass.

Other cutting-edge bits include an interior camera/sensor array that can tell who‘s in the vehicle and automatically adjust the seats, climate controls, and infotainment preferences to their liking. There‘s even a built-in autonomous driving mode specifically for job sites that can navigate around obstacles. And of course, the Revolution has a massive tablet-style center screen and digital instrument cluster with the next generation of Ram‘s Uconnect 5 infotainment system.

From a design standpoint, the Revolution goes for a more minimalist, high-tech vibe than the Lightning‘s chunky, truck-focused aesthetic. The Ram has a nearly flat floor, a slim, floating center console, and coach-style doors that open from the middle with no B-pillar. The steering wheel is actually more of a steering yoke with digital touchpoints. It‘s futuristic, luxurious and airy, like something out of a sci-fi movie.

It remains to be seen how many of these slick features make it to production. Automaker concepts are always a bit fanciful. But the Ram 1500 Revolution is clearly swinging for the fences in terms of interior opulence and inventive tech. If they can pull off even half of what they‘ve promised here, the Revolution‘s cabin will make the Lightning‘s look downright ordinary. Once again though, Ford has the advantage of actually putting innovative features in customers‘ hands today rather than teasing them for tomorrow.

Price and Availability

This is where the Ford F-150 Lightning really shines. It‘s on sale right now at a surprisingly attainable price. The base Pro work truck model starts at $55,974 including destination, while a fully-loaded Platinum tops out around $98,000. Expensive, sure, but not outrageous for a cutting-edge vehicle with this level of capability. And the mid-level XLT and Lariat trims offer a lot of bang for the buck in the low-to-mid $70K range.

Ford is currently ramping up Lightning production to meet demand, with plans to build 150,000 trucks per year. That‘s a huge number for an EV and speaks to Ford‘s confidence in this product. If you order one today, you can expect to wait 6-12 months for delivery depending on trim and options.

The Ram 1500 Revolution, on the other hand, is still just a concept. Ram says a production version will go on sale sometime in 2024, but hasn‘t shared any pricing details yet. Given the Revolution‘s upscale positioning and high-tech components, I‘d expect it to start north of $70,000 and range well into the six-figure realm.

Ram is also staying mum on production plans and volumes. As a more premium, likely lower-volume offering, I doubt it‘ll be as widely available as the Lightning. Plan on getting friendly with your local Ram dealer and probably enduring some hefty markups if you want to be an early adopter.

The Verdict

The Ford F-150 Lightning and Ram 1500 Revolution represent two different approaches to the electric pickup truck. The Lightning is an evolution of America‘s best-selling nameplate, a familiar face with an electrified heart. It packages its high-tech powertrain and features into a mostly conventional F-150 wrapper, which certainly has its appeal. 200,000+ reservation holders seem to agree.

The Ram 1500 Revolution, on the other hand, looks to revolutionize the pickup as we know it. The bold, futuristic design, cutting-edge tech, and boundary-pushing performance targets are a statement that Ram isn‘t content to let rivals define the EV truck space. Of course, delivering a real product that lives up to that ambitious vision is another matter entirely.

If I had to pick one today, I‘d go with the Ford F-150 Lightning. It‘s on sale now, with competitive range, impressive utility, and a rock-solid foundation in the regular F-150. The $7,500 federal EV tax credit and access to Ford‘s massive dealer network also count for a lot. For drivers who just want a great electric work truck that seamlessly fits into their life, the Lightning is as close to a sure bet as you‘ll find.

However, if you‘re willing to wait and pay a premium for potentially game-changing technology, keep a very close eye on the Ram 1500 Revolution. The claimed 500-mile range and 350 kW charging speed would give it a massive advantage over the Lightning and every other electric truck in the pipeline. As would Ram‘s penchant for ultra-premium, tech-focused interiors. If they can nail the performance and rein in the price, Ram could have a lightning strike of its own on its hands.

But no matter which electric truck comes out on top in the end, one thing is certain: the future of pickups is electric. The Lightning and Revolution are just the opening salvos in an all-out battery-powered truck war. As a digital tech nerd and truck lover, I couldn‘t be more excited to watch it all unfold. Competition breeds innovation, and these trucks are already pushing each other – and the entire industry – to electrifying new heights. Get ready for one heck of a ride.