The U.S. Forest Service Is Trying Out the Electric Ford F-150 Lightning

The Biden White House is requiring government vehicle fleets to switch to EVs, so the Forest Service is taking a few F-150 Lightnings for a test drive.

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Ford, please, sell me a Forest Service Green Lightning
Ford, please, sell me a Forest Service Green Lightning
Photo: Ford, Image: US Forest Service, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Just over a year ago, the Biden White House issued a sweeping order regarding vehicle emissions. In working towards the administration’s emissions-lowering goals, the order mandated that government vehicle fleets begin transitioning to EVs — including the organization with the best paint scheme in the whole government. That’s right, the U.S. Forest Service is going electric, starting with a small test fleet of Ford F-150 Lightnings.

Above, our speculative rendering of how an F-150 Lightning would look in the Forest Service’s signature green paint. We think it’s stunning.

According to a report from Outside Online, the Forest Service has picked up three F-150 Lightning electric pickup trucks for “field testing.” The trio will be used as an EV audit for the service, to determine if the trucks can meet the rough demands of the group in green.

Image for article titled The U.S. Forest Service Is Trying Out the Electric Ford F-150 Lightning
Photo: Ford

Outside Online spoke with a representative for the Forest Service, Jason Kirchner, who said that the F-150 Lightning is currently the only electric pickup truck eligible for government purchase under the current set of rules. With more electric pickups coming down the pipeline, this trio of Lightnings won’t just be a test of this specific chassis — they’ll set the benchmark for every battery-powered pickup to come.


Kirchner also gave Outside Online some detail on the specific trucks used in testing: Simple, standard, fleet-spec Lightnings. The Forest Service seems not to have demanded any kind of extended range or trick suspension, which could set an interesting precedent for electric pickup purchasers. After all, if the Forest Service doesn’t need rock-crawling shocks or four-figure range, why do you?

The Forest Service didn’t specify the duration of the study, though one would expect it to last awhile. Determining a vehicle’s suitability through all seasons, and through the vehicle’s own life cycle of wear and abuse, will take more than a quick test drive.