Like a longstanding feud continuing in a new generation, the Ford F-150 Lightning and the Chevrolet Silverado EV will soon tussle for dominance in the fast-growing EV pickup market. The Ford F-150 has been the leading vehicle in the USA for many years, with 3.7% market share in March 2022, according to Ford Authority. Meanwhile, the Chevy Silverado pickup claims the second place with 2.7% market share, ahead of many other very popular passenger vehicles.
As a result, the two titans of the pickup truck world are now squaring off in the electrification race. Both offer an all-electric, full-size, light-duty pickup as part of their pivot toward EVs. The rival models are close in price. Engineers, at least initially, built each featuring a crew-style cab seating five and a single-bed length. Multiple cab size and bed length options, familiar in gas and diesel pickups, aren’t yet available in either, though these choices might be added in the future. Here’s how the Lightning and the Silverado EV trucks stack up against each other today.
F-150 Lightning vs. Silverado EV: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Ford F-150 Lightning||Chevrolet Silverado EV|
|Date of Release||2022||2023|
|Range||230/240-320 miles||400 miles|
|Top Speed||111.8 mph||Unknown|
|0-60||4.4 seconds to 3.8 seconds||4.5 seconds|
|Range with Ten Minutes of Charging||54 miles||100 miles|
|MSRP||$46,974 to $96,874||$39,900 to $105,000|
|Payload||1,480 lbs. to 2,000 lbs.||1,300 lbs.|
|Towing Capacity||5,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs.||8,000 lbs. to 10,000 lbs.|
|Horsepower||452 to 580||510 to 664|
|Torque||775 pound-feet||615 to 780 pound-feet|
|Number of Seats||Five||Five|
The F-150 Lightning vs. The Silverado EV: 5 Must-Know Facts
- The F-150 Lightning has standard pickup architecture with a separate cab and bed; the Silverado EV features unibody construction with a removable partition between the cab and bed areas.
- Both pickups feature four-door crew cabs with seating for five people.
- Both pickups initially release with a bed slightly under 6 feet (5.5 feet for the Lightning, 5-feet-11 inches for the Silverado)
- The Silverado EV features a midgate to extend cargo space into the cab.
- The F-150 Lightning has better after-market parts and accessories support.
F-150 Lightning vs. Silverado EV: What’s the Difference?
Similar in several key ways, the F-150 Lightning and the Silverado EV pickup also have some significant differences.
Range and Charging
With prices for the Lightning and Silverado on par, the trucks’ range could be a deciding factor for some potential buyers. After all, an Autolist survey in 2021 showed almost two-thirds of buyers choose what EV to buy based on range.
Assuming it lives up to Chevrolet’s promises, the Silverado EV is the range contest’s clear winner. GM will use its Ultium battery technology in the Silverado EV. The Ultium system uses advanced battery packs with “long pouch” battery modules, stackable in multiple space-saving ways. It also eliminates 80% of bulky wiring by embedding electronics inside the battery cells. Chevy claims the battery will give 400+ miles of range to both the base WT (Work Truck) trim and the premium RST trim, Motor1 reports.
The F-150 Lightning offers decent range for a modern electric truck but doesn’t equal the Silverado EV. The basic Pro model gets 230 miles per charge on a standard battery pack. The standard-range battery is also found on XLT and Lariat vehicles, though Ford offers an optional extended-range battery. The extended-range battery boosts range to 320 miles. The Blue Oval builds the Platinum model with an extended battery, but its range is only 300 miles.
Recharging speed is a key factor for making any EV competitive against ICE vehicles and gas tanks that fill in a minute or two. It’s even more crucial in a possible work truck, where downtime translates directly to lost money, and perhaps, lost jobs.
The companies built the Silverado and Lightning with significantly different battery and electrical architecture. Chevrolet’s 800-watt architecture means the Silverado EV can recharge at 350 kW, adding 100 miles of range in ten minutes. While it can use DC fast chargers to their full potential, the Silverado also charges on Level 2 chargers and even Level 1 household current.
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s charging is limited by 400-volt battery architecture. It currently charges at a maximum rate of 150 kW, even hooked up to a 350 kW fast charger. Extended batteries recharge faster, achieving 80% charge in 41 minutes, compared to the standard battery’s 45 minutes on a Level 3 connection. It can add 54 miles of range in 10 minutes of fast charging, slightly more than half the Silverado’s speed.
While the Silverado takes first place for fast recharging, both trucks offer vehicle to load (V2L) capability. In other words, both can be used as a power source to operate tools or recharge another EV. The F-150 Lightning also has ten 120v outlets and a single, optional 240v outlet. The Silverado EV pickup features eight 120v outlets, two 240v outlets, and can charge another EV with an optional power cable.
The F-150 Lightning is the winner when serving as a power source. While its 9.6 kW output is less than the Silverado’s 10.2 kW, its designers made it compatible with powering a house. Dubbed Intelligent Backup Power, this feature can power a home for three days from an extended battery, or ten days with rationing.
Performance and Driving
Both pickup trucks put the acceleration offered by electric motors to use, achieving performance earlier available only in muscle cars. Ford’s EV pickup is slightly faster than the Silverado EV, though perhaps not enough for ordinary drivers to notice. The slowest Ford F-150 Lightning model, the Pro, achieves 60 mph in 4.4 seconds. The fastest, the Lariat, blasts from 0-60 in 3.8 seconds. The Silverado RST trim reaches the same speed in 4.5 seconds, while the base WT’s 0-60 is currently unknown.
Horsepower and torque are roughly equivalent, with the Silverado’s slightly slower 0-60 times likely because of weight and design. The F-150 Lightning develops 452 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque with the standard battery. Fitment of an extended battery nudges this upward to 580 horsepower. The Silverado EV WT trim cranks out 510 horsepower and 615 pound-feet of torque, while the RST trim registers 664 horses and 780 pound-feet.
Hauling, Towing, and Utility
As work trucks, both pickups include beds. Ford builds the F-150 Lightning with a 5.5-foot bed, housing four power outlets for tools and an optional power tailgate. The Silverado’s bed is 5-feet-11-inches long, but includes numerous features to expand it when necessary. The tailgate drops and locks in place, with a rear stop that raises to prevent cargo sliding out. Chevy’s engineers made its cab with a back window and wall that can be removed, too. This “midgate” extends the cargo area all the way to the front seats with the rear seats folded down. Opening the midgate lengthens the cargo space to 9 feet, increased to 10-feet-10 inches with the tailgate lowered.
While the Silverado’s bed is roomier, the F-150 Lightning has a higher payload. The base Pro trim offers the best payload capacity at 2,000 pounds. The top-end Platinum trim carries the least, at 1,480 pounds maximum, thanks to its bulk and extra features. The Silverado EV’s payload tops out at 1,300 pounds for both trims, 700 pounds fewer than the Lightning’s base model.
The Silverado holds an edge over the F-150 Lightning in towing. The base WT trim tows 8,000 pounds straight out of the showroom, while the RST hauls 10,000 pounds. GM also notes a 20,000-pound-towing-capacity WT is under development for near-future release. In contrast, the F-150 Lightning manages 5,000 pounds of towing with a standard battery. An extended battery boosts this to 7,700 pounds. The company offers a Tow Technology Package, raising towing capacity to 10,000 pounds (9,400 with all-terrain tires) for an extra $1,948.
Technology and Convenience
As modern EV pickups, both the Chevy Silverado EV and F-150 Lightning come with a suite of driver assistance features. The Lightning’s Blue Cruise gives hands-free driving on about 130,000 miles of roads, Edmunds says. The Chevy equivalent, Super Cruise, provides drivers with similar hands-free assistance on 200,000 miles of U.S. and Canadian roads. Super Cruise nearly doubles the available driving area.
Some drivers dislike the odd vertical 15-inch touchscreen Ford installs in the Lightning as the main control interface. The engineers designed the touchscreen with a strange aesthetic, which looks like a bolted-on tablet. The Silverado’s 17-inch horizontal touchscreen, recessed into the dashboard, has a cleaner, crisper look. Both interiors include a lot of comfort features, such as adjustable seats, pleasing upholstery, and up-to-date sound systems. The Lightning’s exterior aesthetics may be more attractive to some buyers, with a mix of strong-looking traditional pickup aesthetics and modern details. The Silverado’s exterior is somewhat unusual looking because of its unique architecture.
One area of convenience where the F-150 Lightning outshines the Silverado EV is in parts support. While some gasoline F-150 parts won’t fit the Lightning, many will, including aftermarket accessories and upgrades. The Silverado, however, is built from the ground up on the Ultium platform. Few to no existing ICE Silverado parts or accessories fit the EV pickup, so it has almost zero aftermarket support.
The F-150 Lightning and Silverado EV are nearly equal in price at the lowest trim level. After a recent price increase, the Lightning Pro’s base cost is $46,974. The Silverado EV WT trim will allegedly start at $39,900, almost exactly the same as the original Pro price. The most expensive F-150 trim starts at $96,874 compared to the Silverado RST’s $105,000. The Silverado is slightly cheaper at the bottom end, the Lightning slightly less expansive at the top end.
F-150 Lightning Pros and Cons
|Fast 0-60 times (3.8 to 4.4 seconds)||400 watt architecture (charging speed halved)|
|Parts interchangeability||Less range (still up to 320 miles)|
|Ample aftermarket parts support||Only one bed size|
|Payload capacity up to 2,000 lbs.||Less towing in base trim (5,000 lbs.)|
|Available 10,000-lb-towing package|
Silverado EV Pros and Cons
|Likely 400 mile range||Lower cargo payload|
|800-watt-battery architecture||Zero aftermarket support|
|Charges 100 miles in ten minutes||Zero parts interchangeability|
|Tows 8,000 lbs. in base trim||Only one bed size|
|Midgate, cargo space up to 10-ft-10-in|
F-150 Lightning vs Silverado EV: Which Is Better?
With prices between the Chevrolet Silverado EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning pickups nearly identical, deciding which is better comes down to function and features. The F-150 Lightning has the advantages of parts compatibility, slightly better driving performance, payload, and model options. The Silverado is ahead in range, charging speed, bed space, and towing. The Silverado may also have a slightly better interior.
If range, fast recharging, long cargo space for lightweight payloads, and/or sheer towing power are most important, the Silverado is probably the better choice. For pickup drivers who need payload capacity or use a lot of aftermarket parts and accessories to modify their truck, the Lightning may be the go-to option.