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May 12, 2022

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  • Smart Brevity™ count: 389 words ... 1½ minutes.

1 big thing: America’s electric vehicle jolt

Joann Muller hauled an Arc electric boat with the F-150 Lightning pickup, also electric. Photo: Bob Gritzinger

Buckle up for a fascinating test of America’s appetite for an electric future: Ford’s F-150 — the nation's top-selling vehicle for an astonishing 45 years straight — is going gas-free and into middle America. 

  • Why it matters: While Tesla started the EV revolution, Ford will likely get credit for taking these vehicles mainstream if this experiment works.

Starting at just under $40,000, the F-150 Lightning is a versatile, fast and modern pickup, brimming with wild features.

  • Pay close attention: 1 in 20 vehicles on the road is an F-150. Hit rural America, and you'll find parking lots loaded with pickups — not Teslas or scooters.
  • No longer will electric vehicles be the domain of rich people in cities.

Axios transportation correspondent Joann Muller flew to Texas, the pickup capital of America, for a test drive. Her review:

  • It was easy to forget I was driving an electric vehicle — the truck's computer adds engine sounds, which you can shut off if you prefer silence.
  • I even used the Lightning to tow a 24-foot electric speedboat — 8,600 pounds, including the trailer — to see how well the Lightening handled under strain.
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT. Photo: Ford

Above: The "frunk" (front trunk), where you'd normally find the engine, is a top selling point for the Lightning.

  • The compartment is massive — 14 cubic feet, with room for 400 pounds of cargo + a deep well with a drain that doubles as a cooler.
  • Push the key fob, and the frunk opens wide like a lion's mouth. It's a safe, dry place to store tools or golf clubs, instead of in the bed.

The Lightning has up to 11 outlets for power tools or camping gear — or even your house in an emergency.

  • Another cool feature: The Lightning comes with onboard scales that estimate the cargo weight — and its effect on your driving range.

🛻 The bottom line: Get in line. Ford has nearly 200,000 reservations and has already bumped up production capacity twice, hoping to hit an annual rate of 150,000 by next year.

  • Joann says you could be looking at two years.

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