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AAA feels late to the Ford F-150 Lightning party, but better late than never, right? People have already been testing this electric truck with shocking results for months. So, this AAA test didn’t come as a surprise about the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning

The 2023 Ford F-150 loses range while towing and hauling 

The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning rowing a trailer
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning | Ford

AAA decided to get behind the wheel of the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning and test its limits. They loaded 1,400 lbs in the bed to see how its range holds up while hauling sandbags. The load was just 110 lbs shy of the payload capacity for their model. 

Once the truck was loaded, the range dropped from 274 miles to 210 to account for the extra weight. The live range updates are convenient and helpful, but that’s a range anxiety-inducing drop of 24.5%. 

AAA didn’t mention if they drove the loaded truck or how the range held up. However, some automotive critics, including us, have tested the F-150 Lightning with heavy loads only to watch the range rapidly decrease. 

Our F-150 Lightning lost 89 miles of range while traveling 30 miles with a 5,000 lb camper. We gave up before reaching the campsite due to limited charging areas with enough space to accommodate a midsize camper. 

Fox News reminded us that Ford CEO Jim Farley advised customers with towing and hauling needs to go for an F-150 with a gas or diesel engine instead. Ford will continue offering these options for years. 

Diana Gugliotta, Director of Public Affairs AAA North Easts, urges you to take these results with a grain of salt. The truck was nearly loaded to capacity, and most people will probably have lighter loads. Smaller loads equal a more minor range reduction. 

How much can the 2023 F-150 Lightning tow? 

The 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning extended-range model can tow up to 10,000 lbs and carry a payload of up to 1,657 lbs. The F-150 Lighting standard-range model can tow up to 5,000 lbs and carry a payload of up to 2,000 lbs. 

With the standard-range model, you get 452 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque. It has an EPA-estimated 230 miles of range on a single charge. The extended-range truck cranks out 580 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque. It gets a 320-mile EPA-estimated range. 

Ford mentioned that just like gas-powered vehicles, more energy is required with heavier loads. Multiple factors impact range while towing and hauling, like the weather, driver’s habits, and route topography. 

The F-150 Lightning’s live range software accounts for these factors and recommends the best places to charge along your route with accurate range estimates. Buyers with EV range anxiety should consider where they will be using the vehicle and what they need it for. 

One significant thing to consider is if it’s currently easier to stop and get gas or for a charge. Also, EVs perform better in the city where more stopping at lower speeds allows the regenerative brakes to provide a charge. 

How long does it take the F-150 Lightning to charge? 

The 2023 Ford F-150 Lighting near a charging station
2023 Ford F-150 Lightning | Ford

With a Level 1 charger, it takes about 70 hours to fully recharge the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning with an extended-range battery. This is with a regular 120-volt outlet, and about two miles of range are added per hour. 

Speed things up with a Level 2 charger. It can recharge the F-150 Lightning’s battery from 15 to 80% in roughly eight hours. You can have a Level 2 charging station installed at home. 

A DC fast charging station can replenish the battery from 15 to 80% in about 40 minutes. This is at peak energy levels and perfect conditions. Also, finding a working charging station makes a difference. Luckily, you can charge the Lightning at a Tesla station. 

The Lightning has a standard 30A mobile power cord that works with 120-volt outlets and Level 2 charging stations. The Ford Charge Station Pro is standard with the extended-range model, but installation isn’t included. 

So basically, AAA reminded us that the F-150 Lightning isn’t the best option for towing and hauling. This isn’t new, but it’s valid and backed up by the results of MotorBiscuit’s towing test as well. If you plan to use your F-150 Lightning as a work truck, be sure to have charging solutions nearby.