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Ford F-150 Lightning vs. Tesla Cybertruck: Which should you get?

For now, all-electric vehicles are sedans, crossovers, and SUVs. As the EV market grows and manufacturers continue to innovate, concepts for even larger electric vehicles emerge. For instance, Volkswagen’s ID. Buzz reinvents the old favorite with more horsepower and better gas mileage. Imagine what EV pickup trucks could do.

If you can’t quite imagine it, Tesla and Ford are already on it. Tesla’s Cybertruck has been available for preorder for a while, with production delays pushing back its release date. The Ford F-150 Lightning has a clear release date, and with the company’s history in truck manufacturing, it’s sure to be a doozy.

Tesla provides innovative, powerful vehicles, and Ford has its credibility as a legacy brand. Considering brand value alone isn’t enough. Instead, you need a closer look at construction, design, capability, performance, pricing, and availability. Read on for a closer look to help you choose your electric truck.

Construction and design

Construction and truck design are all about interior details, exterior fabrication, and most importantly, what’s under the hood. Here’s a breakdown of what Ford and Tesla’s upcoming EV trucks have to offer.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford F-150 Lightning

The clearest difference with this EV truck is its LED headlights and taillights from the outside. The Lightning is less boxy than its gas-powered counterparts, too. Like its F Series siblings, the Lightning has aluminum body panels to improve the truck’s performance and range.

Its conventional crew cab setup means it can accommodate five passengers. The standard instrumentation has a 12-inch digital display for the driver and a 12-inch vertical touch screen for infotainment. A 15.5-inch center touch screen is standard on upper trims, along with upgrades like 10-way power-adjustable seats, an 8-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system, and leather seating surfaces.

Tesla Cybertruck

The Cybertruck’s stainless steel geometric construction is about streamlined production. While heavier than aluminum, the stainless steel is unpainted. Its 3-millimeter thick steel body insulates the cab easily.

The cab features four doors that open up to seating for six. There’s no switchgear or steering wheel, but an aircraft-inspired yoke instead. A 17-inch vertical touch screen takes up the dash, providing access to all vehicle systems.

Tesla Cybertruck

Performance and capability

Design and construction aren’t the most important aspects of any truck, let alone EV pickup trucks. Performance and capability are defining traits for any reliable truck.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Four trim levels are initially available with the Ford Lightning: the Lightning Pro, the midrange Lightning XLT, and two top luxury models, the Lightning Lariat and the Lightning Platinum. There’s a  dual-motor configuration for each axle, giving all Lightning models all-wheel drive. The motors provide 426 HP in base trim with an upgrade producing 563 HP and 775 lb-ft of torque. The standard battery will provide 230 miles of range, while a larger available pack boosts that figure to 300 miles.

The Ford F-150 Lightning promises a maximum payload of 2,000 pounds. That’s between ratings of conventional Ford pickups. The Lightning can tow up to 10,000 pounds. The Lightning Pro can tow 5,000 pounds or 7,700 pounds with an optional tow package. The front trunk can hold 14.1 cubic feet of cargo.

Tesla Cybertruck

There are three configurations for the Tesla Cybertruck. The base model’s single motor drives the rear axle with a range of 250 miles and 0-60 mph acceleration of 6.5 seconds. The all-wheel-drive dual-motor version is quicker, hitting 60 mph in 4.5 seconds (about the same time as the F-150 Lightning Platinum) with a range of 300 miles. The top Cybertruck has three electric motors with roughly 800 HP and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. It’s good for a range of 500 miles and 0-60 mph in 2.9 seconds.

The Tesla Cybertruck tri-motor can tow up to 14,000 pounds. The maximum payload is 3,500 pounds. It has a bed length of 6.5 feet, a lockable storage front, and a rear with 100 cubic feet of storage.

Pricing and availability

Now that you know what the Ford Lightning and Tesla Cybertruck have to offer in power, design, construction, and capability, you need to know just how much it will cost you. And of course, you need to know when these vehicles are available.

Ford F-150 Lightning

You can preorder the Ford F-150 Lightning now, but it’s not going to launch until mid or late 2022. Here’s a breakdown of pricing for the different trims and features available:

  • Lightning Pro Dual Motor AWD: Estimated $39,974 (426 HP; 230-mile range)
  • Lightning Pro Dual Motor AWD: Estimated $49,974 (563 HP; 300-mile range)
  • XLT Dual Motor AWD: Estimated $52,974 ($6,700 premium over XLT 4×4)
  • Lariat Dual Motor AWD: Estimated $58,630 (using a $6,700 premium over Lariat 4×4)
  • Platinum Dual Motor AWD: Estimated $69,500 (using a $6,700 premium over Platinum 4×4)
  • Top Trim: Estimated $90,474 (based on top price given by Ford)

Tesla Cybertruck

Tesla has promised production in 2021, but delays have pushed the release of any model into late 2022. Here’s an overview of pricing for the different models available for preorder:

  • Single Motor: Estimated $39,900
  • Dual Motor AWD: Estimated $49,900
  • Tri-Motor AWD: Estimated $69,900

The future of EV pickup trucks

Choosing between the Ford Lightning and Tesla Cybertruck depends on your needs. If you want a greater towing payload, the Ford may be the best choice. Tesla’s option doesn’t provide as much work use, but this may be the better option for those truck owners who want a personal pickup.

Ford’s promise of alternative power with the electric F-150 as an “Intelligent Backup Power” system makes it ideal for multitaskers and digital nomads on the go. The Cybertruck is all about the functional, sporty show, making it less adaptive and comparable to the Lightning, yet still an EV truck worth your while.

Amanda Hoyer
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Degreed in Psychology and English, Amanda fell into copywriting and blogging when she discovered an innate gift for narrative…
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