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Article: How Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Once in Hot Demand, Lost Its Luster

Jim Lewis

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NY TImes Business Section Article: How Ford’s F-150 Lightning, Once in Hot Demand, Lost Its Luster - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

It's behind a paywall (maybe you get a free article?). But here are some "fair use" quotes.

The problem with large electric pickups, owners and analysts said, is that despite having fantastic technology and acceleration, the vehicles suffer sharply reduced range when drivers use them for the kinds of things people buy trucks for: to haul heavy stuff, tow trailers and drive in nasty weather.
Mike Kochav, who owns a construction company in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., bought a Lightning in summer 2022 ...

“The minute you put a trailer on it, the mileage drops,” Mr. Kochav said. Since he sometimes drives 200 to 300 miles a day, he had to stop to charge — which often took 45 minutes, or longer if he had to wait for a charger.

“It was too many delays in my day,” Mr. Kochav explained. He traded in his Lightning last summer.
The guy loved the Lightning and said he'd like to buy one again someday when the range and the charging station situation are improved.

Ford’s chief executive, Jim Farley, told Wall Street analysts on Tuesday that the company would put more emphasis on smaller electric vehicles and less on larger ones with an aim of competing with more affordable models from Tesla and Chinese automakers.
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Piquette

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I read this article too, and came away with the impression that the author was portraying the Lightning in the least favorable light.

Yes, towing, temperature and terrain all affect the Lightning’s range, but those same factors affect the range of an ICE powered F-150 too. The range loss of my Lightning towing a heavy trailer is comparable to the range loss I experienced with my previous F-150 XLT. The GOM is notoriously inaccurate, but an experienced Lightning driver pays more attention to mi/kWh than the GOM, and by doing a little mental math the driver has a much better idea of the true range of the truck.

The author also failed to mention that Ford Lightning and Mach E owners will soon have access to Tesla superchargers, making it much easier and faster to charge.
 

Jseis

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An experienced driver pays attention to speed and HVAC use. But rolling full hog wild I’m still getting insane MPGE say at 2.2 mi/kwh = 74 mpge. 1.2 mi/kwh is like 40 mpge or Maverick hybrid territory.
 
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Jim Lewis

Jim Lewis

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I read this article too, and came away with the impression that the author was portraying the Lightning in the least favorable light.
I thought the article was a balanced explanation of what actually happened. The Lightning was hot, hot, hot, and Ford was going to build 150,000 per year. And then the bubble popped. The article simply explained why the bubble popped. It did have a paragraph or two by a Ford exec explaining how preconditioning could help you minimize winter range loss. The article also mentions that it just wasn't the Lightning that was no longer selling well.

But by the final three months of 2023, the pace of sales had slowed, and automakers’ optimism had turned to caution. ...

Ford Motor, General Motors and others are now slowing down electric vehicle investments. G.M. is also delaying the sale of some new electric models and making plans to produce plug-in hybrids, which dealers say are drawing more customer interest.

“You had a wave of early adopters, but the mainstream consumer is just not jumping up and down for E.V.s,” said Marc Cannon, an independent consultant who until recently was the chief customer experience officer at AutoNation, the country’s largest automotive retailer. “The manufacturers are putting out product, but the consumer is like, ‘We’re not participating.’”
The article also says:
Marin Gjaja, chief operating officer of Ford’s electric vehicle division, said sales of the Lightning, while lower than original expectations, are strong. In the fourth quarter it was one of the top-selling electric vehicles after Tesla’s Model Y and Model 3.
A news reporter, unlike a blogger, is not supposed to be biased for or against something. Just report what they find out in the world and that's what the article did, IMHO. Farley has previously pointed out the basic problem - a big truck requires a big battery making it dahm expensive and putting the vehicle in a price range where most people think twice about buying it - and he's said if one wants to make EVs a mass market vehicle, one needs to make more affordable smaller vehicles that require smaller batteries. And that's what Farley plans to emphasize in the future (see last quote in my OP post with a link to another NY Times article about that).
 
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Jim Lewis

Jim Lewis

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Quotes from the NY Times article on Ford's earnings report: Ford Reports Quarterly Loss but Says Sales Grew - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Speaking with financial analysts, Ford’s chief executive, Jim Farley, said the company was adjusting its investments in electric cars, putting less emphasis on larger vehicles and more on smaller models that will use a low-cost design that Ford has been working on.

A small E.V. from Ford would most likely compete with a more affordable car that Tesla is expected to introduce in 2025. “The ultimate competition will be the affordable Tesla and the Chinese manufacturers,” Mr. Farley said.
and
The automaker said it wanted to improve its financial performance by investing less in some areas, like electric vehicles, while setting higher profit goals for the projects it was still putting money in. “Simply ‘good’ isn’t good enough and investments are going to projects that have credible plans to deliver their targeted returns,” Mr. Lawler said in a statement.
 

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Heliian

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Don't bother posting paywalled news articles.
I'm sure there's another hundred free ones bashing ev's or the lightning in general.
I've lived with this truck for 2 winters in Canada with zero problems. Range is always a concern with the lack of infrastructure but a little forethought and planning go a long way.
Best truck I've ever owned and I'm excited for what the future of EVs will bring.
 

sotek2345

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I wonder what this shift to "smaller EVs" means for the T3?
 

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I wonder what this shift to "smaller EVs" means for the T3?
IMHO, the T3 is still coming, not everyone wants an EV'd Escort, too many folks out there still want the full sized pickup configuration.
 

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IMHO, the T3 is still coming, not everyone wants an EV'd Escort, too many folks out there still want the full sized pickup configuration.
I tend to agree, I just wonder if it will be delayed.
 

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If one wants to see paywalled articles, try your public library's website.
 

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These are great trucks and I no way regret my purchase. If you bought them for the right reasons, they are perfect. I never planned to use it as cross-country vehicle and that is where people went wrong in my opinion. It excels as local commuter and errand runner. Charge at home and your topped off every morning.
 

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IMHO, the T3 is still coming, not everyone wants an EV'd Escort, too many folks out there still want the full sized pickup configuration.
This was Ford's earnings call. There are a bunch of articles. Go read the transcript (see link below) and form your own opinions.

I think if you read what Farley said, he has dropped some big clues that the T3 will be delayed. He also NEVER says "T3" (a search on the term 'T3' verifies that). He talks about the compliance benefit, i.e. that they can sell a dozen gas F-150s for every Lightning they sell, yet they don't credit the EV division for that, it has to stand on its own sooner rather than later".

"we think this has been a seismic change in the last six months of last year"

"Our next Gen 2 products will be profitable in the first 12 months of their launch."

" Well, we're not going to go to market with the vehicle unless we completely convinced ourselves that it's going to be profitable. And that takes some adjustments on timing actually. And we see opportunity in the short term to make some adjustments. But, yes, I know it's a huge turnaround, and it's a big number."

"And as Jim said, our Gen 2 vehicles, we won't launch unless we can get to a profit and a return on that capital that we're investing there at the pricing environment that we now understand is reality. So, yes, it is very much the mother of all optimization modeling and work around the balance between how many EVs we sell because we talked about the compliance benefit of that. For every Lightning, we can sell 12 ICE vehicles. You know, we can sell a number of ICE vehicles with every Mach-E we sell, and so there's that balance."


In my opinion, with no inside knowledge, the T3 won't be launched until calendar year 2026 (i.e. Fall 2025 reveal), which would put it a year later. Ford had said 2025 production, so this would still meet that, but people expected an end of 2024 launch.

https://www.fool.com/earnings/call-...otor-company-f-q4-2023-earnings-call-transcr/
 
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Heliian

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I never planned to use it as cross-country vehicle and that is where people went wrong in my opinion
Only a few people who didn't research anything or even knew anything about trucks had problems. Most people who are upset about their lightning purchase are just hurt because they realize now how their ignorance didn't pay off. Nobody wants to take responsibility for their actions, they'd rather blame something or someone else for their failures. Is it a perfect solution for everyone? Of course not, nothing is. Is it the way forward if not a stepping stone to better technologies? Yes.
 

detansinn

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The Lightning hauls stuff just fine. It does "truck stuff" very well. I've carried motorcycles (street/dirt), building materials, furniture, antiques, and even bales of hay. None of it caused any sweat when it came to range. The range of our trucks isn't based on a tonneau cover being in place -- the CT takes a big range hit with a motorcycle in the back.

The long distance towing range is more of an infrastructure problem than an issue with the truck itself. Chargers just aren't configured for vehicles towing trailers. If you have to disconnect your trailer for each charging stop, it just isn't viable.

That being said, the majority of people aren't towing stuff hundreds of miles. Bringing a boat to the lake, towing landscaping equipment, etc -- those activities aren't typically "hundreds of miles" adventures. If you're towing a camper across multiple states, no EV is going to be fun with today's infrastructure. It's doable, but it won't be fun.

There's an unfortunate reality that EVs have become politicized. The most watched morning show in the country has at least one segment bashing EVs per week -- as if it is a scheduled thing. Politicians have been using increasingly escalated anti-EV rhetoric on the stump. This kind of thing hurts demand across the board. How much is this hurting demand? Tesla is getting ready for lay-offs.

From various patent filings, I am expecting the T3 to be a unibody Ranger sized thing. Think Rivian size or smaller. I also don't expect Ford to rush it out right now given the softening demand in the market.

I love my Lightning. I own it, title in hand, and plan to enjoy it for at least a decade. It's not getting replaced with anything anytime soon.
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