The Ford F-150 Lightning May Not Want These Tesla Chargers

I am certain everybody with a non-Tesla EV is eagerly awaiting the day they will bum-rush the closest Supercharger station and plug into Tesla’s charging community. In my very own expertise, long-distance EV journey in a Tesla is simple and dependable, whereas street journeys in anything are a bet. The final time I drove a Ford F-150 Lightning, I ventured from North Carolina right down to Charleston, South Carolina, solely to search out the one CCS DC fast-charging station—Electrify America—to be partially out of order and totally mobbed by irate drivers ready for its prized useful plugs. On my subsequent journey down there, in a Lucid, I left it plugged right into a Stage 1 outlet for 4 days straight in an effort to keep away from Electrify America (fortunately, that labored). One time, on the daybreak of the trendy EV, I plugged a Nissan Leaf into an outlet in my ground-floor lodge room.

What I’ve by no means executed, exterior the Tesla ecosystem, is deal with an EV identical to I’d an internal-combustion automobile—which is to say, plan a visit with out obsessing over cost methods. However that is what I simply pulled off, in a 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning XLT, overlaying greater than 200 miles and 5000 toes of elevation change with 4 individuals onboard, a frunk stuffed with helmets, and a mattress loaded with baggage, three mountain bikes, and a Honda Monkey (so: not ideally suited, aerodynamically). I ought to admit that I had no motive to be assured this plan would work. Nothing in my expertise instructed that it might. However I figured that in 2023, it is time to embrace silly optimism and count on DC fast-chargers to, , cost stuff.

ford lightning bed loaded with bikes and luggage

By the point there’s a Tesla that may do that, the Lightning will have the ability to use Superchargers.

Ezra Dyer|Automotive and Driver

My route took me from down close to sea stage in central North Carolina to only shy of the summit of Beech Mountain, 5506 toes up. This is without doubt one of the highest climbs on the East Coast, and a steep one at occasions—about 1500 toes of that elevation change comes within the last 4 miles of the drive. Usually, a 200-mile journey in an extended-range Lightning, with its 320 miles of EPA-rated vary, is not any massive deal. However this drive consists of a variety of freeway miles, and in our testing, the Lightning Platinum sacrificed 70 miles of its EPA-rated vary at 75 mph. Now throw in a totally loaded truck and a 5000-foot grade, and it might appear {that a} cost cease could be prudent if not obligatory.

ford lightning at the eastern continental divide

The Japanese Continental Divide is the Frank Stallone of continental divides, however give the Lightning some credit score for hauling this mess up over it.

Ezra Dyer|Automotive and Driver

Thus I positioned my fortunes within the arms of Circle Ok, which now has six high-speed charging stations in North Carolina. A kind of is in Boone—elevation 3333 toes, the frontier outpost forward of the upper mountain cities. The Boone station has two 180-kW chargers (with two plugs every), promising the largest blast of electrical energy to hit a Circle Ok parking zone since Invoice and Ted’s telephone sales space. That’s, assuming it labored. If it did not, there have been different, much less handy chargers on the outskirts of city. Worst case, we would have dinner and take in some Stage 2 charging, hoping for the perfect.

bill and ted phone booth landing

The final time this a lot electrical energy hit a Circle Ok parking zone, it was Invoice and Ted’s telephone sales space.


Once we arrived in Boone, the Ford’s cost stage was at a not reassuring 34 p.c. It in all probability did not assist that, the day earlier than, I might informed my youngsters about how the V-10 BMW M5 was one of many best-sounding sedans ever, after which one pulled alongside on the freeway. I due to this fact needed to talk, with my silent truck, that I wished him to drop down three gears and hit it. That burned some pointless electrons. Nonetheless, we theoretically had sufficient cost to get from Boone to Beech, however the 2000-foot ascent makes that an atypical half-hour drive.

Circle Ok to the rescue, as a result of the chargers have been all unoccupied and dealing flawlessly. I did not even must obtain an app, the bane of so many chargers. It figures {that a} fuel station is aware of easy methods to frictionlessly settle for your cash, and the charger labored identical to a pump: plug in, faucet a bank card, and that was it. Enticed by a Japanese steakhouse a block away, we truly did seize dinner, permitting the Lightning to cost to 90 p.c. Value: $34.35 for 78.0 kWh, so a fairly truthful deal, for greater than a half-tank in comparison with what the identical would price in petroleum phrases for a gas-burning F-150.

yellow honda monkey

Hitching a journey within the Lightning allowed the Monkey to drop proper into the enjoyable roads. Additionally, we didn’t have to search out out whether or not a Monkey can tow a Lightning.

Ezra Dyer|Automotive and Driver

At Beech, I parked the truck till it was time to move residence, its vary estimated at 202 miles. Rolling again into Boone, the vary estimate was nonetheless parked on 202 miles, with the truck’s pc reporting a ridiculous 12.4 miles per kWh—which might make the Lightning good for about 1600 miles of vary, in the event you might drive down the facet of a mountain on a regular basis. One other nip from the Circle Ok charger (this time partially blocked by a metaphor, within the type of the tanker truck filling up the underground reservoirs of standard unleaded), and we have been good to go, pulling again into my driveway with 70 miles of vary remaining. I might hauled a truckload of drugs up in regards to the highest climb yow will discover on the East Coast—in luxurious silence—with no drama by any means.

ford lightning trip computer screen

If this 32-minute phase might be extrapolated, the Lightning could be good for about 1600 miles of vary. That may require an awfully tall mountain, although.

Ezra Dyer|Automotive and Driver

Virtually throughout the road from the Circle Ok in Boone, there is a Tesla Supercharger station. Subsequent 12 months, the Lightning will have the ability to cost over there. Nevertheless it’s good to realize it will not must.

Headshot of Ezra Dyer

Senior Editor

Ezra Dyer is a Automotive and Driver senior editor and columnist. He is now primarily based in North Carolina however nonetheless remembers easy methods to flip proper. He owns a 2009 GEM e4 and as soon as drove 206 mph. These information are mutually unique.


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