“If you’re pulling 10,000 pounds, an electric truck is not the right solution. And 95% of our customers tow more than 10,000 pounds.”
— Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley
These are bold words coming from a source that could be either an objective expert or a biased marketer pushing his own products.
But if you ask me, he’s right on the money.
The all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning has been on dealer lots since April 2022 — I only just saw my first one on the road a few weeks ago.
But it’s already come under fire for what critics are calling an unacceptable lack of towing power.
In a way, those critics are correct, but the comparison shouldn't be viewed as a reason NOT to buy a Lighting. It’s more of an argument against electrifying bigger trucks.
Bear with me for some quick math, much of which is subjective and should not be treated as gospel. But I suppose that’s why I write investment research articles and not engineering manuals for Big Three automakers.
Based on my brief research, which consisted mostly of trusting strangers on the internet, the plain old F-150 running on regular gasoline can tow a maximum of 10,000 pounds when equipped with the beefiest towing package.
The article that started this debacle, originally posted on MotorTrend, claimed that the F-150 Lightning achieved no more than 100 miles of range when pulling this 7,218 pound trailer.
Reports from drivers on various online forums claimed anywhere from 7–9 miles per gallon for an internal combustion engine (ICE) F-150 towing roughly the same amount — again, I’m not claiming this to be a rigorous analysis by any means.
With a fuel tank that holds 23 gallons, that gives the regular F-150 a towing range of about 160–200 miles. It’s better than the Lightning, but doesn't exactly blow it out of the water.
That math completely disintegrates when you move up to the higher weight classes.
The diesel-powered Ford Super Duty can tow a ridiculous 37,000 pounds, reportedly averaging about 5.6 miles per gallon with its 34-gallon fuel tank.
Care to venture a guess on how far an EV truck can pull 37,000 pounds?
So far, exactly zero miles.
No EV on the market right now could hope to compete with Ford’s strongest ICE offerings.
Does it mean EVs have no place on the roads? Absolutely not, though that’s how critics are choosing to interpret it.
To me, it means that EVs will either need to get better or our fuel needs to get greener.
Jim Farley Believes Hydrogen Trucks Will Beat Electric
The rest of the quote at the top of this article is almost hard to believe.
Farley goes on to claim that the Ford Super Duty stands a better chance of being dethroned by a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle than by an EV truck.
He might have just been being hyperbolic, using hydrogen cars as another way to say EVs will never beat the Super Duty line. After all, the auto market has always treated hydrogen cars like the red-headed stepchild of the industry.
But though Farley heads one of the top automakers in the world, he seems to have missed the mark here.
Fuel cell vehicles are essentially EVs with extra steps. The hydrogen reacts with oxygen to produce energy, which then goes straight to an electric motor. It’s better on-demand power than a battery but still limited by some of the same factors.
Cars with combustion engines and a tank full of hydrogen gas could potentially match the power of diesel engines, but the chemistry of hydrogen itself makes harnessing its power an engineering nightmare.
Farley may have swung and missed with this claim, but he’s made a very clear point: Heavy-duty trucking is so far not a candidate for electrification.
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Is This the Replacement for All Vehicles — Even EVs?
EVs are enjoying their rapid takeover of the passenger vehicle industry, but so far it's unclear if they will ever advance enough to match the raw power of a big ICE truck.
It’s become glaringly obvious that total electrification of the transportation industry is just a pipe dream. If trucking is off the table, where does that leave cargo planes, shipping barges, and trains?
The world needs a powerful green fuel that can pick up the slack and beat diesel. Not a single climate promise is remotely feasible without it.
Hydrogen has been the prodigal savior for decades now. However, despite all the hype, it’s gone nowhere. There’s just not enough energy-per-gram contained within the lightest element in the universe.
But hydrogen itself is flexible. It can easily bond to other elements to yield some otherworldly results.
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We’ve known about this chemical for almost a century, but it only recently became possible to make it using renewable energy.
Now, this team of engineers has created a device that generates 100% carbon-free fuel from nothing but air and water.And even better for us, this under-the-radar company is trading for under a dollar. But trust me, it won’t be that way for long. Learn more here before the rest of the investment community gets wind of it. So far, it’s been entirely ignored by the mainstream media.
To your wealth, Luke Sweeney Luke’s technical know-how combined with an insatiable scientific curiosity has helped uncover some of our most promising leads in the tech sector. He has a knack for breaking down complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-digest format, while still keeping a sharp focus on the core information. His role at Angel is simple: transform piles of obscure data into profitable investment leads. When following our recommendations, rest assured that a truly exhaustive amount of research goes on behind the scenes..
Contributor, Energy and Capital
To your wealth,
Luke’s technical know-how combined with an insatiable scientific curiosity has helped uncover some of our most promising leads in the tech sector. He has a knack for breaking down complicated scientific concepts into an easy-to-digest format, while still keeping a sharp focus on the core information. His role at Angel is simple: transform piles of obscure data into profitable investment leads. When following our recommendations, rest assured that a truly exhaustive amount of research goes on behind the scenes..