An early Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup did a real-world towing test with a 23-foot Airstream trailer. It showed a loss of about half the vehicle’s range.
Last week, Ford officially started customer deliveries of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck. Some early owners are already putting the electric pickup truck to the test. One F-150 Lightning Platinum owner from Michigan posted an account of a towing test with a 23-foot Airstream trailer on the F-150 Lightning Forum. The test was performed on a flat route, and the trailer weighed around 6,000 pounds (2,721 kg).
The Ford towing system lets you add the specs of your trailer to calculate the range:
When you plug in your trailer and set the weight, height, length, etc., the Ford system auto-calculates your mileage impact. I plugged in at 85 miles, and when I finished the calculation, it stated I had 54 miles of range with the Airstream.
It turned out to be fairly accurate since he traveled 30 miles and the range prediction lost 31 miles.
The result is roughly doubling the energy consumption with such a trailer:
I was able to tow the Airstream around 30 miles today and understand how the Lightning does with some weight behind it. The TL;DR is that with a 23-foot Airstream, I am seeing 0.8mi/kWh. Compared to the 1.5-1.8 I have seen on my road trips thus far without the trailer, it’s around 50% of the range when towing.
That’s roughly half the range that you would get without any towing.
We did a quick tow test in our first-drive review of the F-150 Lightning, and we got better efficiency than with a large Airstream trailer, but we weren’t allowed to go on roads with over 40 mph speed limit, which is going to positively affect efficiency.
Other than the energy consumption, the owner was satisfied with the rest of the towing experience. The braking was good, and he noted that regenerative braking was automatically applied, even though one-pedal driving is not possible in tow mode.
This is about what we expected, and I know this is not satisfactory to many people, but the truth is that this is still a useful range for many applications.
Also, this 100-mile or so range that you can achieve while towing 6,000 pounds is going to cost you a lot less than it would in a gas-powered truck.
So while yes, this is not for everyone, it will still satisfy the needs of many truck owners and enable them to go electric.
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