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Old 01-13-2022, 01:04 PM   #1
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Ford Lightning disappointing update

A few months back I posted regarding upcoming Ford Lightning electric truck. I was excited about it because I saw it as a great alternative to a traditional truck which would also greatly expand our camping options by providing virtually unlimited electric charge to our trailer when camping (as per their advertisement). SADLY our recent trip to a dealer completely killed the idea - for me anyway.
To start off, the extended battery is a $20,000 option on XLT trim! $20K!!
That's, like, A LOT.
Yes, they throw in some technology package that's allegedly worth $10K but you can't have one without the other and I don't need the Technology package.
Just for reference, standard battery is supposed to provide a 230 miles range and extended battery 300 miles. $20K for extra 70 miles range. Hmm.

Secondly, the dealer admitted that towing a trailer will likely reduce the range by HALF. So, we are talking 115 miles and 150 miles for extended. That's very little even for "local" campers as ourselves especially if we planned to use "the juice" while camping.

Thirdly, fully charging from a "regular" outlet will take 3 days! So, forget about "filling up" at the campground if you happen to have an outlet. You will need to go to a charging station (again assumption that there will be a proliferation of such in near future).

So as much as I wished otherwise, it seems like there is still a very real limitation on electric truck technology, especially if it comes to range and money, particularly as a TV.

Which brings me to a question: what would you use to power an AC and/or electric heater in a trailer for a few days that's not a generator? Are there "big" batteries that are powerful enough? Maybe a solar/battery combo?
Because it's looking like I'll be searching for a "regular" truck that won't be acting as a generator to the trailer.
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:51 PM   #2
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You didn't know all that before you went to the dealer?
The Lightning may well be the best of its kind but it is still electric.
Just hire a limo with a hitch when ever you want to go camping if your money is burning a hole in your pocket!
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Old 01-13-2022, 01:59 PM   #3
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RV AC Size Start Watts Running Watts

7K btu RV AC 1700 600
10K btu RV AC 2000 700
13K btu RV AC 2750 1250
15K btu RV AC 3500 1500

Let us say you have a 13K unit and it draws 1200 watts. We will assume that your AC will run continuous for the first hour and then on a 50/50 cycle after that. So, 3 hours will be the same as 2 hours continuous.

1200 watts is 10 amps @120 volts. You have to multiply by 10 when dropping to 12 volts so that will be a 100 amp draw for 2 hours or 2 of your average LiFePO batteries.

That is six batteries for 3 hours a day and 3 days. Actually 12 batteries would be better but then we haven't even talked about inverter/charger losses. Your RV won't have enough roof area for solar panels to charge the mess. Unless you cover the roof of a triple axle 5-th wheel. You will be needing a generator at the very least.
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by floyd View Post
You didn't know all that before you went to the dealer?
The Lightning may well be the best of its kind but it is still electric.
Just hire a limo with a hitch when ever you want to go camping if your money is burning a hole in your pocket!
My money is definitely not burning a hole, otherwise I wouldn't be outraged at the $20K premium for an extended battery.
I doubt that anyone would have known all this information without a trip to a dealer bc the online configurator just went up last week and it doesn't have all the details.
And speaking of money, have you seen the prices of trucks lately? Any kind of decent used truck is instantly over $30K, and new ones are comparable with what Lightning SHOULD have been if they didn't decide to gauge the battery price.
Ford actually had an interesting alternative in the form of a hybrid which will give you over 800 miles range! But to provide charge it has to be kept running which is obviously not an option if you want to have the heater on overnight.
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Old 01-13-2022, 02:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThomasC View Post
RV AC Size Start Watts Running Watts

7K btu RV AC 1700 600
10K btu RV AC 2000 700
13K btu RV AC 2750 1250
15K btu RV AC 3500 1500

Let us say you have a 13K unit and it draws 1200 watts. We will assume that your AC will run continuous for the first hour and then on a 50/50 cycle after that. So, 3 hours will be the same as 2 hours continuous.

1200 watts is 10 amps @120 volts. You have to multiply by 10 when dropping to 12 volts so that will be a 100 amp draw for 2 hours or 2 of your average LiFePO batteries.

That is six batteries for 3 hours a day and 3 days. Actually 12 batteries would be better but then we haven't even talked about inverter/charger losses. Your RV won't have enough roof area for solar panels to charge the mess. Unless you cover the roof of a triple axle 5-th wheel. You will be needing a generator at the very least.
Isn't that sad? All this new electric technology and we still need a generator to power an AC or a heater. What about these lithium batteries that people are talking about? They are not powerful enough?
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Old 01-13-2022, 03:00 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Alex in LA View Post
Isn't that sad? All this new electric technology and we still need a generator to power an AC or a heater. What about these lithium batteries that people are talking about? They are not powerful enough?
While you can pull down lithium batteries closer to their full rated amp hours than lead acid, amp hours are amp hours. If it takes 50 amp hours per hour of run time for an AC (or any load), you not only need to have enough storage capacity no matter what the technology, but you also need a ways to put back what you take out. On top of that, you also need the additional storage necessary to cover a string of 2 - 5 cloudy days where your solar will not be working at the normal capacity.

In short, there is so much more energy stored in a tank of propane or a can of gasoline than will fit in any of the current battery technologies of the same volume, long running high current devices don't make sense on battery power.
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Old 01-13-2022, 03:59 PM   #7
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Personally I think this whole push to do away with fossil fuels and go with electric vehicles charged up by windmills and solar panels will be a huge dissapointment and is something that would kill the rv industry.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:13 PM   #8
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How about semi EV?

https://www.caranddriver.com/feature...-f-150-hybrid/
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:20 PM   #9
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Little known fact is range is extremely limited by towing travel trailers. You would be lucky to get 80 miles between charges while towing a heavy travel trailer, slowing a trip down huge with recharges.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:29 PM   #10
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It may be hard to comprehend, but most people don't tow a trailer, and have no desire to do so.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:32 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bertherr View Post
Great article - thanks. Yes, I referred to it as a "interesting alternative" but it does need to run to provide power (sometimes gas engine would shut down but it will have to be "on"), so this is not optimal (or even doable) when running an appliance for long periods of time like an AC or a heater overnight.
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Old 01-13-2022, 04:39 PM   #12
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While I like the idea of electric vehicles, the technology necessary to achieve this isn't yet available. Maybe internal combustion engines are still the answer but with an alternative fuel like hydrogen that doesn't produce greenhouse gasses.
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Old 01-13-2022, 05:21 PM   #13
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Honestly, I think this technology is here on a massive scale already. We have an electric Honda that does 90% of everything we need from a "regular" car and it's battery is small enough to charge overnight from a regular 110 socket. But it can't tow and drive for a very long distance. So I was hoping that Ford Lightning would do the trick, as I really didn't want to buy a new gas vehicle and used ones are ridiculously priced nowadays.
Hey, maybe I can lease one and give it back in 3 years when electric technology (hopefully) catches up! LIGHT BULB!
I'm an avid fan of electrically powered everything and I agree this technology has made much progress, but we still have a ways to go. We are still unable to store enough electrical energy to power a vehicle comparable to an internal combustion engine. Scooters and small short distance vehicles maybe but larger vehicles, long distance, tow vehicles etc. not so much. The physics just isn't there yet.
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:12 PM   #14
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Pesky physics. Durned corporations. It's enough to make a guy reach for the caps-lock key.

A pound of propane has about ten times the (usable) energy as can be stored in a 100-AH lead-acid battery.

Those old fossils sure knew how to store sunlight.

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Old 01-13-2022, 07:45 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Alex in LA View Post

Thirdly, fully charging from a "regular" outlet will take 3 days! So, forget about "filling up" at the campground if you happen to have an outlet. You will need to go to a charging station (again assumption that there will be a proliferation of such in near future).
Another thought that comes to my mind is that every quick charging station I have seen is set up in what is essentially a single car parking space. There are no pull throughs. That means to get a "fill up" would require unhitching the trailer so the Lightning will fit into the quick charging parking space.
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Old 01-13-2022, 07:50 PM   #16
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Recently there were dozens of electric vehicles lined up for their turn at one of three working charging stations at Hope, B.C. at the end of a long weekend.

It takes a few minutes to fill up at a gas station in Hope; takes much longer to charge a battery.
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:22 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Nor Cal Mike View Post
Another thought that comes to my mind is that every quick charging station I have seen is set up in what is essentially a single car parking space. There are no pull throughs. That means to get a "fill up" would require unhitching the trailer so the Lightning will fit into the quick charging parking space.
That is a major inconvenience, for sure. Too bad you'd have to unhitch before you can plug in otherwise you wouldn't mind so much, as you'd have 30-40 min to kill anyway
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Old 01-13-2022, 08:32 PM   #18
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Recently there were dozens of electric vehicles lined up for their turn at one of three working charging stations at Hope, B.C. at the end of a long weekend.

It takes a few minutes to fill up at a gas station in Hope; takes much longer to charge a battery.
Hopefully, some of the millions (or was that billions?) in the Infrastructure plan would go to address shortages of stations across the country.

In my mind every major gas station should have at least one-two charging spots (naturally a more thorough analysis should be run - but they should probably have a couple millions laying around for that, too).

One of the biggest shortcomings of my old Natural Gas Civic was scarcity of Natural Gas filling stations. You kind of had to keep that in mind at all times. Maybe that's why it was easy for me to mentally adapt to "range anxiety" for electric cars and, more importantly, there is always one in your driveway.
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Old 01-13-2022, 09:57 PM   #19
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Tesla towing a Boler

I have a Tesla Model Y and have been towing my Boler with it for a year. Yes it is true that my range is almost half towing my Boler. About 270 km vs 500km. I find that our Tesla is fantastic for all of our camping sites within two hours of home. We don’t do any back woods camping since we do enjoy campsites with power and showers. Our Tesla has lots of power so I hardly even feel the trailer behind us. We most always choose sites with power since we have air conditioning and electric heat in our Boler that works on 110 volt power just fine. Plus the 30 amp 110 volt outlet at the campsites will charge my car to full within one day of our arrival. For free.
For the few times that we don’t have 110volt power we stay closer to home. Our Boler has solar which powers our water pump, lights, our MaxFan ceiling fan and charges our electronics . We have propane for the fridge, stove and a catalytic heater. Pretty well self contained.
I really think the decision to buy a gas powered tow vehicle is only necessary if you want to spend long days driving to travel cross country with your trailer and stay off the grid. If you are happy staying at campsites with the comfort of power, bathrooms and showers and you only travel about 250 km per day then an electric tow vehicle may be a good choice. Plus you now have a great vehicle to drive for the all the other drives when you are not camping.
You may pay a bit more up front for an electric car than a gas car but your monthly costs are far far less.
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Old 01-14-2022, 07:07 AM   #20
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You mentioned the F150 with the PowerBoost hybrid which seems worth consideration. It actually has the highest torque rating of any F150. The 7.5kw power pack is a low cost option. Maybe it wouldn't completely recharge the trailer battery w/o the engine turning on but would be handy for using the microwave or even running the A/C for awhile in the evening. I wouldn't want the truck engine starting up randomly but there may be a setting to prevent that. They don't give much info online.
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