We've said time and time again that towing or hauling is going to reduce the range of your vehicle regardless of its powertrain. However, EV owners have more range anxiety, and the range reduction in many cases seems substantial. Let's take a look at how hauling a heavy load impacts the range of the Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.

Autoblog shared some information from a new AAA study that provides more details about hauling with an EV. The insurance organization used a 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning model to run tests and compile data for the study. The goal of the study was to come up with an answer to the following two questions. 

  1. How does road load force for the loaded test condition compare to the unloaded condition?
  2. How are driving range and efficiency affected by the added payload?

Gallery: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat: Review

"Road load force" isn't something we talk about every day. However, it's a relatively simple topic. It's basically the forces that are acting against a car that's driving down the road. This can be any number of factors, such as wind, road surface friction and/or issues, and even the vehicle's own mechanical setbacks. 

AAA also talks about "road load curve." It's essentially looking at the above, road load force, and describing it as a function of a vehicle's speed. 

With that said, the data reveals that a 1,400-pound load put 33.1 percent more force onto the truck than that EPA's road load curve estimate. While unloaded, the truck had 5.6 percent more force and was 6.1 percent more efficient, though the truck wasn't as efficient as the EPA suggests it should be. The MPGe came in at 62 MPGe with no load (EPA says 66 MPGe). Once the truck was loaded, the fuel economy number dropped to some 24 percent, to 47 MPGe.

As far as driving range is concerned, the EPA says the F-150 Lightning has 300 miles of range. AAA was able to go 278 miles before having to stop to charge. Once the electric truck was loaded with the 1,400 pounds of weight, the range dropped to 210 miles, or 24.5 percent lower than the unloaded figures and 30 percent lower than the EPA's numbers.

The EPA notes that for vehicles as a whole, adding 100 pounds reduces the fuel economy by about 1 percent. If this is true, electric trucks are losing more range than the average vehicle.

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