It's a rental company, but it still counts.
Our recent first drive of the Ford F-150 Lightning impressed us with the electric truck's capabilities as a lifestyle and utility vehicle. As we said in the first drive review, the Lightning is a revolutionary product that's about to take America by storm.
It succeeds at being a work truck as well. If you need to deliver goods and feel good about lowering your environmental footprint simultaneously, the Lighting should be near the top of your list. Fully loaded, models equipped with the extended range battery boast a range of 300 miles. Thanks to DC 150 kW charging, it can get from 15 to 80 percent in roughly 44 minutes.
All of the above is likely why it piqued the interest of United Rentals.
The largest rental company in North America recently announced that it placed a large order with Ford Pro, the division specializing in large commercial orders. The order includes 500 F-150 Lightning trucks and 30 Ford E-Transit vans.
Of the 500 Lightnings, 120 are expected to be delivered in 2022, while the entire E-Transit order will also be fulfilled this year.
According to United Rentals, the vehicles will be available for rent and used by its sales, service, and delivery personnel. The company confirmed that it had selected the F-150 Lighting with 320 miles of range and a towing capacity of 10,000 lbs.
That sounds like the Extended Range Lighting, which has an MSRP of $72,474. The E-Transit pricing starts at $43,295, and it can do 126 miles on a charge. Both vehicles should be adequate for customers who need a practical vehicle for a day or two to haul things over short distances.
United also made sure its order included models with Ford's Pro Power On-board system and Intelligent Back-Up Power feature. We saw the Pro Power system in action in New York recently, and it was powering a fridge, large flat-screen TV, and a massive sound system for a large party, all at the same time. It should do equally well powering more practical things via the 11 standard outlets. It has 2.4 kW available in the frunk, and up to 9.6 kW through outlets in the cab and bed.
"We're pleased to demonstrate leadership in the use of 100% electric vehicles in the construction and industrial rental sectors. We're committed to helping our rental customers meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals by integrating more sustainable solutions into our fleet," said Matthew Flannery, United Rentals CEO.
United customers won't have to worry about charging when hauling or towing items. Ford's Pro Solution team will help customers find charging solutions via the Blue Oval charging network. With any luck, that'll help encourage renting these models, even if it's just for an extended test drive. Range anxiety remains a significant psychological barrier, and United can possibly help combat it.
Finally, Ford's Pro Solution team will ensure that United Rentals has the necessary infrastructure to charge the vehicles themselves. It's an interesting development in the car rental space, but whether consumers would jump at the opportunity to rent an electrified utility vehicle over a more traditional internal combustion one remains to be seen.
United has previously said it's going to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 35% by 2030, and these new orders are a good starting point towards achieving that goal.