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Ford F-150 Lightning vs. Tesla Cybertruck: Comparing these EV trucks' best features

Pickup trucks are the hottest thing in EVs and none deserve more attention than these two.

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The Ford F-150 Lightning and the Tesla Cybertruck almost couldn't be more different. While the electric Hummer and coming electric Silverado are important, Ford and Tesla have set the EV table -- in very different ways. Here are some key ways they inspire an automotive religious war. The question is, which theism do you follow?

Price

Both of these trucks have a base price of around $40,000 before tax incentives, and both are amazing on that basis alone. The Ford can range over $90,000 for the top trim level while the Tesla should top out around $70,000. But the price parity between what will be the most popular versions of these two trucks is a key reason they're often mentioned in the same breath. 

Styling

The F-150 Lightning is the epitome of normal. You almost have to be a car buff to spot one, with its face being the only major clue that it's not just any old truck. 

Ford F-150 Lightning Pro OGI

The best way to spot an electric F-150 is from the front, but even then it doesn't exactly shout "different".

Ford

The Cybertruck on the other hand is impossible not to spot. It also shares no design cues with its Tesla stablemates like the Model S and Model Y

Tesla Cybertruck

Nothing prepares you for the Cybertruck. Long after its introduction, it's still jarringly odd.

Tesla

This is the easiest point of comparison for most people: You almost certainly love one and hate the other.

Functionality

The F-150 Lightning has an utterly conventional layout, from cab to bed, tying it into perhaps the widest array of aftermarket accessories in the auto business. The Cybertruck is a clean sheet design that buyers may find has little support in the aftermarket, at least for a while. 

Both boast a big front trunk, which is a nicety in an electric sedan but a major selling point in a pickup.

Powertrain

All F-150 Lightings have two-motor AWD but a choice of two battery sizes. The base battery offers 426 HP and 230 miles of range while the big battery gets you 563 HP and 300 miles or range. Both feature 775 lb-ft of torque, a new high water mark for any F-150. 

The Cybertruck gives you more drivetrain choices: The 2WD single-motor base model goes 250 miles on a charge while the dual-motor AWD version comes with a battery good for 300 miles. An exotic tri-motor version of the Cybertruck offers more advanced AWD and has enough battery to go 500 miles on a charge. Formal horsepower and torque figures are still pending for the Cybertruck.

Workload

Full details are still pending from Tesla but the top level Cybertruck promises to tow more, haul more and go faster than the F-150 Lightning, though neither is less than stunning in the 0-60 department. You gotta love electric motors.

F-150 Lightning vs. Cybertruck


F-150 Lighting Cybertruck
Towing Up to 10,000 lbs 7,500-14,000 lbs
Payload 2,000 lbs Up to 3,500 lbs
0-60 Low 4 secs. 2.9 secs.

Construction

Here these two have something in common: Radicality. The F-150 Lightning is radical in its aluminum body, which all F-150s moved to in 2015. The Cybertruck's body is an origami of stainless steel that Tesla claims is more or less indestructible. Each vehicle is a remarkable and purpose-driven departure from traditional steel bodywork.

Cabin

The F-150 Lightning can be had with a big 15.5-inch center screen that pulls a page straight from the Tesla playbook, as well as with an optional 12-inch digital instrument panel, both shown below.

F-150 Lightning cabin screens
Ford

The Cybertruck cabin is as sparse as a runway, taking the classic Tesla tack of eschewing all interfaces other than the big center screen. 

Tesla Cybertruck

The Cybertruck shares a single screen centrism with every other Tesla. 

Tesla

In our experience, the ideal cabin is probably somewhere in between these two. Both have a design that may soon look dated as automakers move to cabins that integrate screen real estate rather than just attach it prominently.

Superpowers

The F-150 Lightning has cool on-board scales that tell you how heavily loaded it is. The Cybertruck takes blows from a sledgehammer.

Both have huge frunks that really mean something in a truck where the amount and security of storage is a major factor. 

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Mega Power Frunk

F-150 Lightning frunk. Note the prominent AC electrical outlet panel on the left side.

Nick Miotke/Nate Reed/Roadshow

And both promise to power your stuff, or even your house, via their big on-board batteries and integrated DC-to-AC inverters. As the concept of decentralized electric energy -- microgrids -- takes on greater acceptance, these trucks may seem prescient.

Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

Power out? Your electric pickup may step in to power part of your home. 

Ford

Reality check

The F-150 Lighting is coming in Spring of 2022 while the Cybertruck is supposed to beat it by a few months with an arrival in late 2021. While you might expect Ford to hit its date better than Tesla, the latter reassured customers in May of 2021 that things are on track. On the other hand, Ford knows exactly how to make trucks at scale so major slippage is not expected. 

While the world was waiting to see which electric car would crack the market wide open, a credible Ford and an aspirational Tesla look like they'll be the trucks to do it.