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Ford F-150 Lightning EV Pickup: The 6,500 Pound Heavyweight Champ

The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is an all-electric pickup truck that‘s poised to revolutionize the auto industry. As the battery-powered version of America‘s favorite vehicle, the F-Series, the Lightning offers the utility and power of a full-size truck without the gas. But there‘s one key difference between the Lightning and its gas-guzzling siblings: curb weight.

While a conventional F-150 tips the scales at around 4,500-5,000 pounds depending on configuration, the Lightning weighs in at a hefty 6,500 pounds or more. Why? It‘s primarily due to the huge battery pack powering this impressive EV. Let‘s take a deep dive into the Ford Lightning‘s weight and how it impacts performance, capability, and efficiency.

Under the Alloy Skin: Batteries and Body

Two main factors contribute to the F-150 Lightning‘s prodigious poundage: the large lithium-ion battery pack and its sturdy but lightweight aluminum body.

The standard range battery provides 98 kWh of usable energy while the extended range option ups that to 131 kWh. These battery packs use pouch-type lithium-ion cells and run at a nominal voltage around 400V. Unlike a combustion engine that sits in the front, these battery packs span the entire underside of the vehicle. While this gives a low center of gravity, it also adds significant mass.

Some of that weight is offset by the Lightning‘s cab and bed being made of a high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy, just like ICE F-150s. Using aluminum instead of steel reduces body weight by up to 700 lbs. However, the batteries still make it significantly heavier overall than a traditional truck.

Pro SR Pro ER XLT SR XLT ER Lariat SR Lariat ER Platinum
Curb Weight (lbs) 6,171 6,590 6,216 6,745 6,360 6,855 6,855
Max Payload (lbs) 2,000 1,800 2,000 1,800 1,850 1,800 1,850
Towing Capacity (lbs) 5,000 7,700 7,700 10,000 7,700 10,000 8,400
HP (kW) 452 (337) 580 (433) 452 580 452 580 580
Torque (lb-ft) 775 775 775 775 775 775 775

The base Pro model with the standard battery comes in at 6,171 pounds – already much heavier than even the beefiest gas F-150. Moving up to XLT and Lariat trims adds weight from additional features and equipment. The top-spec Platinum with its extended range battery and 22" wheels is the true heavyweight at 6,855 lbs.

Mega Power, Mega Torque

So what do you get for all that mass? Simply put – tons of power and instant torque. Even the base Lightning with the smaller battery puts out 452 hp (337 kW) and 775 lb-ft of torque from its dual electric motors. The upgraded battery boosts output to a mega 580 hp (433 kW) while maintaining that massive 775 lb-ft.

Thanks to the inherent characteristics of electric motors, all of that tire-spinning torque is available immediately. The 6,500+ pound Lightning rockets from 0-60 MPH in the mid-4 second range – quicker than most sports cars. The added grip of the standard all-wheel drive system helps it hook up and go.

Balancing Battery Weight

One clever feature on the F-150 Lightning is its onboard scales. Load sensors determine how much weight you‘ve added to the bed and display it on the central infotainment screen. This allows you to optimize placement and avoid exceeding the truck‘s payload capacity.

As that capacity chart shows, the weight of the larger battery does eat into how much you can haul. The standard range Lightning is rated for up to 2,000 lbs of payload, while extended range models max out at 1,800 lbs. Still, that‘s plenty for the typical owner‘s needs. Just remember – passengers count towards that limit too. A full load of 6 adults can add over 1,000 lbs alone.

Ford‘s chassis engineers worked hard to balance the Lightning‘s mass for optimal stability and control. By placing the batteries down low and centering them between the axles, they achieved a near 50/50 weight distribution front-to-rear. This helps the big EV feel remarkably nimble and planted on the road.

Towing Tech and Regen Braking

The F-150 Lightning really flexes its muscle when it comes to towing. Properly equipped, it can pull up to 10,000 lbs with the extended range battery and Max Trailer Tow Package. Even the base truck is rated for a respectable 5,000 lbs.

But towing a heavy load will impact range. Ford estimates the Lightning will go about 50% as far when pulling a 10,000 lb trailer. However, thanks to regenerative braking, some of that energy is recaptured when slowing down or descending hills. The truck‘s mass actually helps here – more weight means more kinetic energy to convert back into electricity.

This regenerative braking also makes the Lightning‘s hefty curb weight less of a drain on efficiency in day-to-day driving. When you lift off the accelerator, the motors act as generators and slow the vehicle while recharging the battery. It‘s a smoother, more energy-efficient process than traditional friction brakes.

Charging and Power Play

Of course, the Lightning‘s substantial size and battery capacity mean it requires more energy to recharge than smaller EVs. Using a standard Level 2 AC charger, Ford estimates it will take about 8 hours to fully replenish the standard battery and 13 hours for the extended pack from a 32A source.

On a DC fast charger, the big battery can add up to 54 miles of range in 10 minutes and charge from 15-80% in about 41 minutes. Thanks to its 400V architecture and well-managed thermal conditioning, the Lightning can maintain high charging rates for longer than some rivals.

Another trick up the Lightning‘s sleeve is its Pro Power Onboard generator system. With up to 9.6 kW of output, it can run power tools, electronics, and even a whole home during an outage. The extra weight of the battery actually helps here – it acts as a stable base for the inverter and allows for extended run times.

Classification Quirks and Credits

One interesting quirk stemming from the F-150 Lightning‘s curb weight is its classification for regulatory purposes. At over 6,500 lbs, it falls into the Class 2B truck category typically occupied by heavy-duty pickups.

Why does that matter? It determines which tax credits and incentives the Lightning qualifies for. As a 2B truck, it was eligible for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit in 2022 with no caps on price or volume. Lighter EVs like the Rivian R1T were subject to per-manufacturer sales limits.

However, recent changes to the EV tax credit under the Inflation Reduction Act have added new restrictions based on MSRP, buyer income, battery sourcing, and final assembly location. It‘s unclear yet how many Lightnings will still qualify going forward.

The EV Mass Market

Some truck buyers may be shocked by the F-150 Lightning‘s 6,500+ pound curb weight. But it‘s important to remember that battery packs are simply much heavier than gasoline for the same amount of energy.

That mass brings benefits though – like incredible stability, instant torque, and the ability to power your home in an emergency. And the weight will likely decrease over time as battery energy density improves.

Right now, the Lightning uses that heft to its advantage with impressive capability and performance. It can out-tow, out-haul, and outrun most gas trucks while providing a smooth, near-silent ride. For many buyers, those strengths will far outweigh any concerns over curb weight.

Ford has managed the F-150 Lightning‘s mass carefully to create a true heavyweight champ in the EV truck market. It packs a massive punch in terms of power, technology, and flexibility while still delivering the core capabilities truck owners demand. As battery costs continue to drop and charging infrastructure grows, expect to see more electric pickups following the Lightning‘s lead.

The Future is Heavy – But Oh So Powerful.