Electric truck not worth the hassle, says stranded user
Farmers Forum staff
OTTAWA — Detroit’s first battery-powered pickup truck, the Ford F-150 Lighting, made a media splash this summer, for all the wrong reasons.
The worst fears of consumers, who are skeptical about the practicality, range and high cost of electric vehicles (EVs), were only confirmed by the story of a Canadian man on a road trip gone shockingly awry.
Dalbir Bala, a Winnipeg-area trucking firm owner, wound up abandoning his Lightning in the U.S. after trying to drive it to Chicago on a family vacation. Widely reported by Canadian and U.S. media, Bala’s truck effectively ran out of juice July 27 in Albertville, Minnesota, because of a series of non-functional charging stations along his planned route.
Down to only 15 km of remaining range — not enough to reach the next available station — he completed the trip by renting a gas-powered Toyota 4Runner. The Lightning was towed to a Ford dealership and retrieved during the family’s return drive home.
An unhappy Bala went public on social media, calling electric vehicles “the biggest scam of modern times” after spending $131,000 on the truck and supporting hardware seven months earlier. That cost includes the vehicle’s $115,000 purchase price plus the installation of fast chargers at his home and workplace, according to his Facebook post.
Prior to the attempted trip south, the truck sat unuseable for six months in a repair shop after a minor accident, according to Bala. That’s most of the truck’s life since he purchased it.
Trouble repairing EVs after collisions has become a known issue in the insurance industry. According to reports, many are simply written off after even minor accidents.
He has concluded that the Lightning is only useful for city driving. “I can’t take it to my lake cabin. I cannot take it for off-grid camping. I cannot take (it) for even a road trip,” he wrote.
After Bala’s story broke, Ford CEO Jim Farley took a Lightning on multi-day drive across the U.S. on Route 66 and acknowledged some firsthand issues with recharging. “It was a really good reality check of the challenges of what our customers go through and the importance of fast charging and what we’re going to have to do to improve the charging experience,” said Farley, who did not end up stranded like Bala.
Both Ford and GM have inked deals with Tesla to begin using that company’s more abundant supercharger stations next year.
Ford in July announced it will lose $4.5 billion USD on its EV division this year. Previous reports suggest the company loses almost $60,000 USD on every EV sold. The automaker also announced an approximately $10,000 SD price cut on the Lightning.