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5 Reasons To Avoid A Ford F-150 Lightning At All Costs

Hey there! With electric vehicles growing in popularity, you may be considering the new Ford F-150 Lightning. As an experienced tech analyst and EV enthusiast, I want to share 5 big reasons why you should probably avoid the Lightning for now. I know, it‘s the most anticipated electric truck on the market! But hear me out…

1. Multiple Recalls Impact Confidence and Safety

Since starting deliveries in May 2022, Ford has issued multiple recalls for the F-150 Lightning related to potential battery defects. Let‘s look at the details:

  • January 2023: Ford recalled over 100 Lightnings due to battery issues that could cause fires while charging. This followed an incident where a Lightning caught fire at a Ford facility.

  • February 2023: A second recall affected 18 delivered trucks over separate battery manufacturing problems. Ford stated they identified which vehicles used the defective batteries.

  • Together, these recalls impacted over 120 Lightning trucks within their first year on sale.

Recalls are worrying for any vehicle. But they are especially concerning for a new, complex EV truck. Here‘s why:

  • Battery fires are far more dangerous than gas vehicle fires. Lithium-ion battery fires release toxic fumes and can re-ignite repeatedly. It often takes thousands of gallons of water to fully extinguish an EV battery blaze.

  • Recalls so early in production indicate potential quality control issues at Ford‘s factories. There could be wider-spread defects affecting more vehicles.

  • Truck owners rely on their vehicles for hauling and hard work. A breakdown could leave them stranded or unable to complete jobs.

These recalls hurt consumer peace of mind about the Lightning‘s safety and reliability. Joseph Spak, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, stated the recalls "bring reputational risk this early in the product cycle."

Here are the recall stats so far for context:

  • 120+ vehicles recalled for battery issues

  • 16,510 F-150 Lightnings sold in 2022

  • So the recalls affected 0.7% of Lightnings sold last year

While that percentage seems small, recurring safety issues are never a good sign, especially for a new category-redefining vehicle like the Lightning.

2. Rapid Price Hikes Reduce Affordability

Since its launch, the F-150 Lightning has seen major price increases that push it out of reach for many buyers.

Let‘s compare the Lightning‘s base price over time:

  • May 2021 announcement: $39,974 starting MSRP

  • November 2021: Price raised to $41,769

  • March 2022: Ford hikes base price to $46,974

  • August 2022: Another jump to $51,974

  • January 2023: Now up to $55,974

That‘s a 40% price increase in just 21 months!

The consumer-focused Pro trim gained over $14,000 to its sticker price in less than two years. Meanwhile, inflation was only around 13% during that period.

Clearly, affordability was a key factor behind the Lightning‘s appeal. But Ford‘s price hikes have largely erased that advantage.

How do Lightning prices stack up to the competition now?

  • Ford F-150 Lightning: $55,974 starting MSRP

  • Rivian R1T: $73,000 starting MSRP

  • GMC Hummer EV Pickup: $108,700 starting MSRP

  • Tesla Cybertruck (expected): $49,900 starting MSRP

The Cybertruck promises superior range and performance at a lower cost. For work-focused buyers, the Lightning‘s price premium will be tough to swallow.

Ford blames inflation and parts shortages for the increases. But other automakers have kept EV prices steadier despite the same economic forces. As Ford‘s demand falls, keeping the Lightning affordable may require rolling back some of the price hikes.

3. Pre-Orders and Sales Plummet

Here‘s another troubling sign – preorder and sales momentum for the F-150 Lightning has slowed to a crawl.

Looking at the numbers:

  • Ford stated in September 2021 they had received over 160,000 Lightning reservations.

  • Over 200,000 reservations reported in December 2021. Hype was sky-high.

  • But by March 2022, Ford had only converted 8,000 reservations into orders. And just 2,000 Lightnings had been delivered.

  • Total 2022 sales lingered around 15,000 units, despiteProduction scaling up rapidly.

  • In January 2023, Ford closed ordering for the 2023 model year after just 2 months. Only 23,000 Lightnings were ordered.

Based on those pre-order figures from 2021, over 180,000 reservations remain outstanding. Yet 2023 order books are closed with plenty of 2022 inventory still available.

This points to a massive drop in demand. Reports indicate 2022 production could have supported over 50,000 Lightnings, but buyers just aren‘t showing up.

There are a few likely reasons for the demand decline:

  • Price hikes have made the Lightning less appealing.

  • Economic uncertainty, high inflation, and rising interest rates make expensive purchases difficult for consumers.

  • Negative reviews and feedback about quality issues are deterring some buyers.

  • Excitement has faded now that the Lightning is no longer a new novelty.

Ford may have to resort to incentives or even production cuts in 2023 if orders remain weak. For customers, it‘s a buyer‘s market as dealers will likely offer bigger discounts on existing inventory.

But lowered demand signals the market may not be embracing the Lightning as enthusiastically as expected.

4. Max Range Disappoints in Real-World Conditions

Here‘s an area where hype met reality – the Lightning‘s driving range fails to impress in normal driving conditions.

On paper, the range estimates seem solid:

  • Standard battery: 230 miles

  • Extended battery: 320 miles

However, multiple tests found the real-world range to be far lower, especially when towing cargo.

  • MotorTrend towed a 3,140-lb trailer in an extended range Lightning. Range dropped to just 90-115 miles, almost 70% less than EPA estimate.

  • TFLtruck conducted a 60 mph highway range test without cargo. Standard battery model went just 152 miles, 34% below EPA range.

  • Based on these results, towing a 5,000 lb trailer could cut maximum range on a full charge to 50 miles or less.

For truck owners who regularly haul equipment, boats, RVs, etc., that sort of range will be hugely limiting. Some example driving scenarios:

  • Towing gas-powered boats – may not make it to the launching ramp and back. Need to find charging stations near water.

  • Long highway drives – will require very frequent charging stops, adding hours of extra trip time.

  • Off-roading or camping trips – lack of chargers could make remote areas inaccessible.

Fast charging can help extend trips. But charging times add delays, and many older trucks lack advanced public charging capability. For commercial customers, limited range equals lost productivity and revenue.

Range estimates for upcoming rivals look more promising:

  • Rivian R1T: 314 miles while towing 11,000 lbs

  • GMC Hummer EV: 329 miles under max payload

  • Tesla Cybertruck: 500+ miles expected

The Lightning may still serve commuters fine. But for truck owners hitting the open road, range anxiety seems inevitable.

5. More Electric Truck Options Are Coming

Here‘s the final reason why jumping on the Lightning bandwagon may not be wise – a flood of alternatives are right around the corner!

Ford had the full-size electric truck market cornered in 2022. But many major players will offer their own models very soon:

  • Rivian R1T – Already on sale and eating into Lightning reservations. Starts at $73,000.

  • GMC Hummer EV Pickup – Sold out for 2022 and 2023 despite $108,700+ price tag.

  • Chevrolet Silverado EV – Available in early 2023 and a more direct Lightning competitor.

  • Ram 1500 REV – Slated to launch in 2024. Ram has a loyal customer base to draw from.

  • Tesla Cybertruck – Should enter production in 2023 starting under $50,000. 800,000+ pre-orders.

That‘s just a sample of upcoming electric trucks with amazing performance and range. More choices allow customers to shop around for the best match.

With supply shortages easing, Ford‘s competitors can leverage production capacity that Ford lacks. The Lightning‘s head start on the market is shrinking fast. By 2025, it may seem outdated as EV trucks become common.

Waiting to compare all these exciting options side-by-side just makes sense. Customers in no rush benefit by skipping the Lightning‘s early teething problems. Unless you need a new truck urgently, why not hold out and see how models stack up after reviews are in?

The Lightning Blazed a Trail – But the Route Gets Congested Ahead

There you have it – five compelling reasons to hit the brakes on plans to purchase a Ford F-150 Lightning, at least for now.

Don‘t get me wrong, the Lightning deserves credit as an incredible achievement and the first EV pickup available. However, between rising costs, recalls, range woes, diminishing hype, and fresh competition, it‘s hard to justify buying one today.

In a few years, the kinks will get worked out, prices may drop, and a used market will emerge. I‘m thrilled Ford stepped up to prove electric trucks are more than fantasy. But consumers have much to weigh when companies ask for $50K+ purchases.

My take? Let‘s see where the Lightning stands after some dust settles around the EV truck space. The opening lap went well, but Ford now faces a packed, powerhouse field in the race for America‘s favorite electric truck.

I hope these insights help explain why you should avoid the 2022 or 2023 F-150 Lightning for now. What truck models are you most excited about? Let me know if you have any other questions!