Tyler "Hoovie" Hoover is known as an automobile savant and the owner of the popular YouTube channel Hoovies Garage, which has nearly 1.5 million subscribers who watch videos where he comments on all things about automobiles, including EVs.
He recently purchased the premium version of the Lightning, known as the Lariat, with a friend. According to Car Buzz, a fully charged standard battery on the Lightning Lariat has a maximum range of 240 miles and a maximum towing capacity of 7,700 pounds (lbs). (Related: Range test finds gas pickup can tow 2,000-lb trailer 2.8 times farther than new electric pickup.)
On Friday, Sept. 23, Hoover uploaded a video to his channel titled "Towing with my Ford Lightning EV Pickup was a TOTAL DISASTER!" In this video, Hoover decided to test the towing capabilities of his new Lightning by driving the EV 32 miles away to pick up another recent car purchase of his, a 1930 Ford Model A.
In the first part of the test, Hoover drove his Lightning while it was towing an empty aluminum trailer estimated to weigh less than 1,500 lbs. He commented that he expected to lose only very little driving range during the first half of the journey – but this wasn't the case.
When Hoover began the trip, his Lightning had around 200 miles of range on the battery. After he drove just roughly one-quarter mile to leave his neighborhood, his truck had already used up three miles of range. By the time Hoover reached his destination, the Lightning only had 132 miles of range remaining. This meant that the truck was eating up twice as many miles of range – and he hadn't even started towing his car yet.
Once he got to his destination, Hoover secured the Model A – estimated to be around 2,200 lbs – on the trailer. Meaning, the Lightning was only towing around half the truck's maximum capacity.
By the time Hoover got home, his truck only had around 50 miles of range remaining.
"Are you kidding me? That's almost 90 miles of range in 30 miles. Are you serious?" said Hoover. "That's nuts. What a joke."
Hoover initially wanted to make two trips with the Lightning so he could load up the trailer with something heavier to test the truck's maximum tow capacity. But after the first trip ended in "total disaster," Hoover said he didn't think it would even be worth trying.
"That was abysmally bad, and if the future is electric, there has to be some kind of solution for this," said Hoover.
Speculating on why electric trucks perform so poorly when towing, Hoover suggested that the car's transmission might be preventing it from taking such heavy weights.
"I have no idea why EVs tow so bad," said Hoover. "My guess would be it doesn't have a normal transmission where there's gears and the car's in a lower rev range but still pulling … versus an EV which is a dry motor working harder and harder and harder. And when you're towing something with bad aerodynamics, it makes such a huge difference."
Hoover had some positive things to say about the Lightning. He praised the Lightning's comfortable ride and silent driving experience. He also noted that the electric motor's instant torque made the entire experience of towing effortless. But the massive drop in range completely overshadowed all of the positives of Hoover's trip.
In summarizing his review, Hoover noted that people who want to buy the truck are free to do so. But if they need a truck that can actually function like a truck and tow heavy weights, Hoover recommended his viewers not opt for an EV.
"If a truck towing 3,500 lbs can't even go 100 miles … that is ridiculously stupid," he said. "This truck can't do normal truck things. You'd be stopping every hour to recharge, which would take about 45 minutes a pop, and that is absolutely not practical."
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Watch auto guru and commentator Tyler Hoover's full experience of testing out the 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning electric truck's towing capabilities.