Duke Gibbs has no idea how much gas costs these days. Since the Oconee County businessman began driving an all-electric Ford F150 Lightning pickup, “fueling up” means plugging in for a charge.
Gibbs, a longtime F150 driver, purchased the EV model in October 2022 — mostly because he was intrigued by the novelty of owning one of the auto industry’s first battery electric full-size pickup trucks. Over time, though, he’s found several reasons to appreciate his EV.
Driving a battery-powered vehicle saves Gibbs precious minutes. “I love not having to waste time pumping gas,” he said. He estimates saving a minimum of 20 minutes weekly — or more than two full workdays each year — just by avoiding gas stations.
The Walton EMC customer-owner has crunched the numbers on fuel costs, too. Assuming gas costs $3 per gallon, he estimates fuel for a regular F150 is about 28 cents per mile. His EV goes the same distance on 2 cents of electricity.
He’s also calculated return on investment. With a $7,500 federal tax credit, lower fuel costs and minimal maintenance expenses, he predicts a two-year payback on the purchase price difference between electric and gas F150s.
Beyond the numbers, Gibbs likes the Lightning’s acceleration capabilities. “When you push the accelerator, it really goes,” he said. “It’s made driving fun again.”
The Lightning’s 300-mile battery range is limiting at times. A second, gas-fueled car is needed for taking long road trips, Gibbs said.
The home charging equipment that came with the Lightning replenishes the battery at a rate of 30 miles per hour. Gibbs must allow an average eight hours for a full recharge.
The vehicle’s battery range is cut in half when Gibbs uses it to tow his boat to an area lake. “The truck’s towing power is awesome, but you have to recharge much sooner,” he said.
Though it’s rarely a concern for Gibbs, recharging while on the go can be a challenge, he said. Public charging stations with a fast charger aren’t yet widely available.
For his part, Gibbs is installing EV charging stations at some of his properties. Wire Park, a mixed-use project he’s developing in Watkinsville, offers six hookups with infrastructure to expand with demand.