According to a news report from Ford, the electric F-150 Lightning began shipping on April 26th, and it already has a surprise in store for soon-to-be owners: all versions of the truck will have higher horsepower than originally announced, and the standard range model will have an even higher payload capacity. While this is great news for those who already have a pre-order, it may increase FOMO among those who don’t have one and won’t be able to purchase one — Ford stopped taking pre-orders for the vehicle in December and is now finding out how to meet its goal of 150,000 Lightnings every year.
Ford estimated that the normal battery pack version would have 426 horsepower and the extended range version would have 563 when it launched its electric pickup in May 2021. Now that they’re being built, those numbers have risen: the basic range will produce 452 horsepower, while the extended range will create 580 horsepower. For comparison, the V8 turbocharged diesel engines found in Ford’s Super Duty trucks (think F-250 to F-450) produce roughly 475 horsepower, albeit they produce 1,050 pound-feet of torque, which is more than the Lightning’s 775 pound-feet.
The truck’s payload capacity, or how much weight it can carry in the bed, cab, and trunk, has also been increased. “properly equipped F-150 Lightning pickups can now haul an extra 235 pounds for a total 2,235 pounds of maximum available hauling capability,” according to Ford’s release. However, there is some ambiguity here: when Ford first unveiled the Lightning, it stated that only the standard-range variant could tow 2,000 pounds. Because of the additional batteries, the improved range was limited to a maximum weight of 1,800 pounds. Ford did not immediately answer to The Verge’s request for comment on whether or not that model will get a payload capacity boost as well.
It’s also worth mentioning that these values are almost certainly optimistic. According to Ford’s news release, they’re based on the “peak performance of the electric motor(s) at peak battery power,” which means your truck might create less horsepower 250 miles into a journey than it does when it’s brand new. “horsepower, torque, payload, towing and targeted EPA-estimated range are independent attributes and may not be achieved simultaneously,” Ford adds, which makes sense because trucks aren’t as quick when carrying a 7,700-pound trailer (the maximum the standard-range model is rated for).
Despite these caveats, the fact that the F-150 Lightning is significantly more powerful than Ford expected is still very cool. That’s been the case with this truck; Ford stated in March that the extended-range Lightning could travel 30 miles further on a single charge than expected. While it may be some time before you can walk into a dealership and buy one (or pay a scalper for one), the Ford F-150 Lightning remains an interesting electric vehicle.