The Lightning may be faster, but the gas engines are better for everything else.
According to Ford, the 2023 F-150 Lightning with the Extended Range Battery can reach 60 mph in less than four seconds. That makes it the fastest F-150 in the range, beating both the standard Raptor and the recently-launched supercharged V8-powered Raptor R.
But even though Ford's electric powertrain provides blistering acceleration, don't expect to see it in a Raptor model anytime soon. Motor Authority spoke to Ford's Performance boss, who revealed that electrification of any form would not be available in the Raptor. "[Internal combustion] is the best tech to operate at full power in deep sand, bar none," said Carl Widmann.
The Raptor R borrows the engine from the now-defunct Shelby GT500 but the charismatic mill has been updated for rugged truck duty.
The R's V8 doesn't produce as much power as it does in the GT500, but it still has 250 horsepower and 130 lb-ft of torque more than the twin-turbocharged V6 Raptor. It's also slower to 60 mph than the Ram TRX, but that's not something Ford is concerned about, and neither should you be.
The key to the Raptor's success, whether it be a Ranger, F-150, or Bronco, has always been the suspension. "The truck [Raptor R] brings that engine to life. You can do things so rapidly," Widmann said. In short, it just enhances the driving experience because you get more power to do all the wonderfully silly things the truck is known for being so good at. Like jumping over stuff or power sliding like a boss.
Widmann also believes electric trucks are not as agile as ICE trucks because of the increased weight. "They are good for a shot but not something you would run at Baja," said Widmann in reference to the extremely heavy Hummer EV, which his team drove. Widmann isn't even keen on hybridization because it also adds weight.
For reference, we'll make a quick comparison. The 700-hp Raptor R tips the scales at 5,950 pounds, while the F-150 Lightning with an Extended Range battery weighs up to 6,500 lbs depending on the trim. That's essentially an additional 500 lbs the engineers have to cope with, and at a certain point, it just becomes a case of trying to ice-skate uphill.
Also, what would the point be? If you consider the average F-150 Raptor customer's needs, we can't imagine a smaller environmental footprint and great gas mileage are high on the list of priorities.