The US Forest Service is Testing the Electric Ford F-150 Lightning
To Protect the Environment, the Entire Fleet of USFS Vehicles will Transition to EVs
The US Forest Service has launched a pilot program to test the use of electric vehicles in the field. The organization recently added three Ford F-150 Lighting pickups to its existing fleet to evaluate their performance in remote and rugged locations. The goal is to eventually replace all USFS-owned cars and trucks with EVs in order to meet the requirements of an Executive Order handed down by the President.
The three F-150s have been deployed to the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania, the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and Maine, and the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan. Those locations were chosen as test sites thanks to their demanding conditions and remote settings. Over the coming months, the vehicles will be evaluated for their performance and reliability.
The USFS hopes to collect as much information as possible from this pilot program to help it make the transition to electric vehicles as seamless as possible. In addition to learning how well the F-150 performs in adverse conditions, the agency will also track the vehicle’s range, maintenance requirements, and dependability. This will eventually allow it to optimize the size of its fleet and build a charging infrastructure to keep all of the vehicles running.
“The Forest Service is embarking on an exciting study of the first-ever use of electric vehicles in a natural resources field setting,” US FS spokesperson Jason Kirchner told Outside magazine. “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.”
While the Ford F-150 Lightning can cost in excess of $96,000 for a fully decked out Platinum Edition, the USFS will purchase the more modestly-priced Fleet version. That model comes with four-wheel drive, a 2000-pound payload capacity, and a range of 230 miles with a price tag of around $42,000. That’s less expensive than an entry-level gas-powered F-150, as well as electrified competitors like the Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer.
The Forest Service hasn’t indicated how long it will spend evaluating the trucks, although the pilot program will likely require some time. Rangers need to test the vehicles in various conditions, ranging from the frigid temps of winter to the extreme heat of the summer. If all goes well, the government agency could start replacing its existing fleet as early as 2024.