Ford Tested the Towing Capability of the F-150 Lightning and It Aced the Exam

Ford engineers recently tested the F-150 Lightning’s towing capability. How did it perform?
Written by Andrew Kidd
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
F-150 Lightning is capable of towing 10,000 pounds in just about any condition, according to testing results released by Ford.
The all-electric
F-150 Lightning
has undergone testing of its towing capability in extreme heat and bitter cold—but it won’t yet say how that towing capability affects the truck’s range.
To test its towing capability,
Ford engineers
used Lightning XLT and Lariat models with the optional tow package and extended range batteries towed a 10,000-pound 24-foot tandem-axle trailer.

Bitter cold was no problem for the electric Ford F-150

To test out its towing capability in extreme cold, Ford engineers drove pre-production
Lightnings along the Ike Gauntlet, an 8-mile stretch of I-70 in Colorado that ascends at a 7% incline to 11,158 feet above sea level around the Eisenhower Memorial Tunnel. And it was bitter cold, with wind chill dropping the temperature down to -2 degrees Fahrenheit.
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Extreme heat couldn’t stop the F-150 Lightning

To determine its towing capability in hot weather, the Ford team drove the pre-production
F-150 Lightning
—with the same 10,000-pound trailer—multiple times up the steep grades of Davis Dam, located on State Route 68 between Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam.
That stretch of State Route 68 isn’t a walk in the park, either; the route ascends from 550 feet to 3,500 feet in elevation over 11.4 miles, with temps reaching up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

How does that affect range?

Ford F-150 Lightning chief engineer
Linda Zhang
said the test vehicles performed flawlessly. Of course, automakers are trying to sell the benefits of their vehicles over their competitors, so the results should be taken with a grain of salt.
One thing Ford left out when it released its towing capability test results is how towing 10,000 pounds affects the F-150 Lightning’s range. 
has reported previously, independent towing tests of other automakers’ electrified pickup trucks showed that the EPA-estimated range figures these automakers advertise do not factor in how a 10,000-pound load will affect that.
The video included with Ford’s press release shows a shot of the dash cluster indicating the truck traveling at 62 mph with a remaining range of 128 miles and an external temp of 98 degrees Fahrenheit. That result after towing that much would be exceptional, but KBB posits this might be a shot from one of Ford’s Lightning chase vehicles, not necessarily the one towing the test trailer.
For example, The Fast Lane Truck tested the Rivian R1T against a gas-powered
Toyota Tundra
, both towing a 2,000-pound camping trailer. The R1T they tested had a listed range of 280 miles, but the publication was able to get 153 miles out of it under load and stopped testing when the battery dropped to 9% charge.
Similarly, MotorTrend tested Rivian’s extended-range (314 miles) model with a 9,000-pound tow weight. Testers noted that while the truck towed well, it reached about 123 miles of range with about 47 miles of projected range left when the test concluded.

It’s a towing test, not a range test

Then again, the point of this testing was to show the F-150 Lightning is more than capable of towing 10,000 pounds in conditions more grueling than what most customers will likely ever subject themselves to. 
But when F-150 Lightning deliveries start this spring, we’ll probably see some real-world drivers testing the range-towing correlation themselves.
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