HomeOutdoorsNewsUS Forest Service Experimenting With New Electric Ford F-150 Lightning

US Forest Service Experimenting With New Electric Ford F-150 Lightning

by Sean Griffin
(Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Last year, the Biden administration issued an executive order regarding vehicle emissions.

In working towards the administration’s goals of lowering emissions, the order mandated that government vehicle fleets start the transition to electric vehicles. Now, as of recent reports, the U.S. Forest Service has started this transition to electric, starting with a small test group of Ford F-150 Lightnings.

According to a report from Outside Online, the Forest Service has picked up three F-150 Lightning electric pickup trucks. They’ll drive them for “field testing.” The trio will be used to see if these EVs can handle to rough demands of a US Forest Service truck.

The outlet spoke with Jason Kirchner, a representative for the Forest Service. He said that the F-150 Lightning is currently the only electric pickup truck eligible for government purchase under its current set of rules. 

This means that with more electric pickups coming down the road, these Lightnings will serve as a Litmus test for the other battery-powered trucks that come after.

Kirchner also told the publication some details on the specific trucks used in testing. He said they were all straight up standard, fleet-spec Lightnings. USFS’s new Ford F-150 Lightnings will contain a 230-mile range, four-wheel drive, and a 2,000-lb. payload. The truck will be operated in a fleet setting and will be recharged every night, so it won’t require too much maintenance or investments. Any USFS location with a standard 240-volt outlet can charge any of the trucks.

Ford F-150 Lightnings and Other EVs Will Slowly Replace USFS’s Truck Fleet

It also appears that the Forest Service didn’t request any modifications like a truck suspension. This could also serve as a test for future electric truck buyers, especially if the service determines they don’t need elements like shock or four-figure range to work effectively.

The Forest Service didn’t specify how long the trial would last, though we’d think it would at least last throughout an entire calendar year. One test drive won’t determine the vehicle’s ability to react to seasonal changes and years of wear and tear.

“The Forest Service is embarking on an exciting study of the first-ever use of electric vehicles in a natural resources field setting,” Jason Kirchner said of the new trial. “The research will determine the feasibility of electric vehicles in field-work settings, helping the agency determine the right tool for the job when it comes to electric fleet vehicles.”

USFS currently operates 8,775 light trucks. The EVs will slowly begin to replace them all as they end their normal service lives. Kirchner says the goal is, “minimizing carbon emissions in the long run.”

The Ford F-150 Lightning is a battery electric full-size light duty truck. It was first released by Ford in May 2021 as part of the fourteenth generation Ford F-Series.

The United States Forest Service (USFS) operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The USFS administers and oversees the nation’s 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service currently manages 193 million acres of land.