The F-150 Lightning has something its rivals don't.
Entering the truck business is no easy task. Just ask Ford, GM, and Ram who have been battling each other for years in this vital segment. But Tesla and Rivian are determined to make a go at it with their respective new trucks, the Cybertruck and R1T. Detroit won't make it easy for them. Offering a truck to sell is one thing but truly understanding trucks and truck buyers is something else entirely. Ford understands them both perfectly.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, unlike the Tesla and Rivian, will come standard with a full-size spare tire because customers demand this. The Blue Oval's North American product communications chief, Mike Levine, recently confirmed this on Twitter.
Speaking to the Detroit Free Press, Levine confirmed that "a temporary doughnut spare tire won't work when you're far from pavement or roadside assistance with places to go and jobs to do."
Ford did its truck customer homework and one overwhelming demand was to have a full-size spare. So far, neither Tesla nor Rivian can match this. Tesla has optional spare tire kits while Rivian also charges more for small and regular spares.
"If you don't have a full-size spare, you've just lost time quickly getting back on the road and back to work," Levine added. "We know truck customers. They can't stop to fix things when there's no quick fix. When you look below the skin, Ford approached this like a truck company. But Lightning can do things no other truck can do - like power a home during an outage or at a job site as a mobile generator. That's the key."
Real trucks have standard full-size spares, plain and simple.
The concept of having a standard spare tire provides a clear distinction between Ford and its new-age rivals: working trucks vs. lifestyle trucks. Realistically, the chances of seeing a Cybertruck or R1T at a construction site is practically zero. Cruising the streets of Los Angeles will be their modus operandi.
Strong consumer response to the F-150 Lightning can't be denied. Since it was unveiled late last month, Ford has reportedly taken around 70,000 reservations though Levine could not confirm to CarBuzz a first-year production cap. The Mustang Mach-E will see 50,000 units built for its first model year, for example. Not all of those 70k reservations will turn into sales but Ford can start to feel confident that its customers are on board with EV trucks.