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Tow “Range Anxiety” Builds For Ford's All-New F-150 Electric Truck  

Tow “Range Anxiety” Builds For Ford’s All-New F-150 Electric Truck  

There was a ton of hype last week when Ford Motor Company unveiled its all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck. As of Friday, Ford secured more than 44,000 reservations for the new truck. 

Ford’s first all-electric truck is expected to have a targeted range between 230 and 300 miles depending on the version the customer chooses. Ford said the truck could haul up to 10,000 pounds. 

Auto blog Jalopnik points out that Ford failed to release data on how hauling or towing would affect range last week. 

In an emailed response, Vice News had a similar question and asked a Ford spokeswoman. 

Here’s the response:

Ford spokesperson Said Deep did not share any specifications regarding the vehicle’s range when towing or hauling, but said the F-150 Lightning will “come equipped with ‘Intelligent Range’, which more accurately predicts range with factors including payload, towing information and weather so the customer knows how many miles they have left.”

The Ford spokesperson skirted around the question without giving specifics. Still, there are no estimates of how different payloads would affect the vehicle’s range. 

Jalopnik believes the reason Ford hasn’t release those figures is that it will likely affect the range “a lot.” 

Ford is aware decreased range while hauling or towing could cause complications for drivers, hence this Intelligent Range system, but the seriousness of those complications in part depends on how much shorter the range is. The truck is already pretty beefy, coming in at 6,500 pounds (according to MotorTrend); increasing weight the motors need to push forward to 16,500 pounds — the weight of the truck itself plus up to 10,000 pounds being towed behind it — is going to require significantly more power.

Of course, it’s not just about weight. Many trailers aren’t particularly aerodynamic and, to get the biggest range possible, aerodynamics is very much on the mind of EV designers these days (ask Mercedes).

Designing an EV to tow is tricky. A big difference in the electric F-150 compared to the ICE version, is that the battery alone is very heavy, or 1,800 pounds, according to Joe Biden. Increasing battery size might improve towing range, but it will also add even more weight, weight that the truck’s electric motors will also need to push around. It will also add more cost. So that leads us to the question: Is it worth compromising the vehicle’s packaging space, weight (and thus efficiency), and cost in order to produce a stellar tow vehicle with lots of range? Modern trucks do require buyers to make compromises in order to have a good tow vehicle (suspensions are a bit stiff in the rear, frames are a bit heavier/stronger, tanks take up a bit more space), but with an EV, the compromises to achieve good range would likely be too large. – Jalopnik

For a reference point, Jalopnik said there had been multiple examples of Tesla-powered vehicles losing anywhere from 30% to 60% of range while towing a trailer. 

I would expect that the big drop-off in range on Teslas is in part because towing anything with a Tesla adds weight but also disrupts the car’s aerodynamics, but aerodynamics on the F-150 Lightning already look pretty compromised. – Jalopnik

For the everyday driver, range anxiety is unlikely a problem, but if you’re towing or hauling things around town, range anxiety could be your worst nightmare. 

Tyler Durden
Mon, 05/24/2021 – 18:50

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