Electric vehicles are known for engines, or I mean motors, not being where they are expected to be. The Lightning is not any different. If you look under the hood, where one would expect the engine to me, it is not there. You will find a big trunk space there instead.
The Ford F-150 Lightning has 2 electric motors; the front one is attached to each axle in between the front wheels, under the front trunk area, and the rear motor is attached to each rear axle, between the rear wheels, under the bed. Because the motors take a lot less space than a typical gas-powered engine, it sits lower on the chassis and allows more space to be used for something else, like storage.
This electric truck comes standard with dual motors, and can be purchased with a standard battery or you can upgrade to an extended-range battery that will provide more power, more range and more of all kinds of other things.
More Powerful Than A Ram
The power in this truck comes from the combination of the battery as well as well designed electric, fixed-magnet AC motors. This combination, when in standard configuration, provides 452 horsepower which is so much more than your standard half-ton pickup truck but if you upgrade to the extended-range battery, it goes as high as 580 horsepower. Are you ready for some serious G’s when taking off from a stop light?
In my mind when I think horsepower and towing or hauling power, I think Dodge Ram… do you think that? Or is it just me? I don’t know but to me for some reason that is what represents power.
Just think about this… a Dodge Ram with a Supercharged 6.2L HEMI V8 produces 395 horsepower and 410 lb-ft of torque. This is a power house of a truck, with aggressive sound and big exhaust tips. Probably also lifted about 6 inches and big tires. And the Lightning will beat the pants off this truck and skip while doing it too.
Where The Power Comes From
All this horsepower is coming from the lithium-ion battery pouch pack that is designed to put out 110 to 130 kWh of power and have enough juice to keep the truck going for up to 230 miles before needing to recharge.
If that is not enough, you can get an extended range battery upgrade which is designed to excrete (haha, that’s funny) from 150 to 180 kWh of power. This upgrade will let you drive 70 more miles with a total of 300 miles before needing to charge up.
The standard battery weighs 1,800 lb, which is a lot of added weight to the truck. A Ford F-150 can hold as much as 36-gallons of gas, and that can weigh up to 227 lbs. Quite a bit of difference there but apparently, I hear that if you dig deep enough you can find a bullet point that can make the extra weight of an electric battery, a good thing.
Environmental Cost Of Electric Ford F-150 Lightning
The amount of carbon emissions produced in making the electricity from carbon fuels to charge the Ford F-150 Lightning batteries to go the distance that is equivalent to a gas powered truck is from half to a third, so this makes the electric vehicles more “green”.
So I decided to crunch the numbers and see exactly what they are talking about. See the chart below to visualize the numbers and read below that for all the nitty-gritty details.
|Truck||CO2 lbs/mile||CO2 lbs/300 miles|
|Ford F-150 Lightning||0.51||153|
|Ford F-150 (Gas)||1.06||318|
|Ford F-250 (Diesel)||1.12||336|
An average carbon fuel electric generation station in the US creates about 0.85 lbs of CO2 emissions per kWh. Let’s look at the numbers for the Ford F-150 Lightning’s 180 kWh extended-range battery since it has a round range of 300 miles. So 180 kWh devided by 300 miles will give us 0.6 kWh per mile, which means, it costs 0.51 lbs of CO2 emissions per mile with a total of 153 lbs of CO2 emissions for 300 mile range.
Let’s take a look at a gas powered Ford F-150 that has an average of 19 mpg. A mile of travel produces 1.06 lbs of CO2 emissions, which means to travel 300 miles you will create 318 lbs of CO2 emissions.
What about diesel trucks?
A diesel powered Ford F-250 truck has an average of 20 mpg and creates about 22.4 lbs of CO2 per gallon of diesel or 1.12 lbs of CO2 per mile. With these numbers we know that it would take 15 gallons of diesel to travel 300 miles at 20 mpg. When we take the 15 gallons and multiply this by the 22.4 lbs of CO2, we get a total of 336 lbs of CO2 to travel 300 miles. This is just a bit over 318 from a gas-powered truck and a 55% increase from what the electric truck creates.
Electric Trucks Are Better For The Environment
Ultimately the results are obvious, it is officially twice better for greenhouse gas emissions to drive an electric truck rather than a gas or diesel powered one.
How Electric Motors Work
The electric fixed-magnet AC motors in the Ford Lightning produce no pollution them selves as they run, they just spin from the magnetic field created by the electricity.
To see how these motors work, just imagine that there is an outer shell that has many vertical conductor coils and a rotor that has vertical magnets on the outer perimeter. When the electric current is applied to the motor, there is a switching mechanism that switches the electricity between the coils, making one coil into a magnet with positive magnetic field and the other with a negative.
Remember playing with magnets, when you flip one magnet around and try to get them to stick together, they will repel each other, then if you flip one again they stick. Same thing happens inside the motor, one coil is pulling while the next one is repelling. This is basically how the Ford Lightning motors work. It is a very simple way to explain it but this should give you a good idea on how it makes the truck accelerate.
The same exact principle works to help decelerate the truck with the regenerative braking. The electricity is turned off and the magnets running against the coils creates a magnetic field that generates current and while slowing down the truck it pumps the newly generated electricity back into the batteries.
Valik loves tinkering in the garage and is currently restoring a 2000 GMC Sierra 1500 truck. He also writes about the progress on this blog. When not in the garage, Valik is also a web developer and a blogger. I know, strange, a hand in two completely different worlds. And that is the way he likes to keep it.