In Which a Major Corporation Flirts With My Wife

Here’s how it went down on Twitter today:

Also, yes, we reserved one of the F-150 Lightnings, i.e., the new electric Ford truck that will come out next year. I wrote a Facebook post explaining why, which I will repost below.

—-

So, in 2015, after I signed that big contract with Tor, one of the things I was going to do was secretly buy Krissy a convertible, as a way of showing my appreciation to her for everything that she had done to help us get to that point — as I’ve frequently said, after all, without Krissy, I absolutely would not have the career that I have had.

I was looking at the Mustangs for this, but when I sneakily brought up convertible Mustangs in conversation to her, she was all, “meh, they’re okay I guess,” and then later just straight up bought a beater convertible from a pal for really cheap just to tool around in for the summer (I mean, really cheap; I have musical instruments that cost more). At that point I admitted to her I had been planning to get her a car but that it hadn’t worked out, so, basically, whenever she decided she wanted a new car, she had a redeemable coupon for one.

In the six years since, she hasn’t really thought to redeem this coupon, until this last week when I was showing her some videos about the upcoming electric Ford F-150, which, aside from having very good range for an electric and a massive closed storage space where the engine would be and huge hauling and towing capacity and more electrical outlets than some apartments (including a 240 V outlet), can also, in the event of a power outage, actually power one’s home for two or three days (with an optional installed power inverter, which of course we would absolutely get). Krissy’s eyes lit up like a house whose power was now being provided by a big-ass truck.

Sooooo now we have a reservation in for a Ford F-150 Lightning, and we are both happy: Krissy because she’s going to get a very cool truck which she will absolutely have a use for out here in the country, and me because I finally get to give her a car (and also because it comes with a bunch of super cool technology stuff which I will totally be a geek for). Expect to see Krissy tooling around in this thing sometime in 2022.

— JS

46 Comments on “In Which a Major Corporation Flirts With My Wife”

  1. As the owner of a Tesla Model 3 for the past 2 years, I LOVE my electric vehicle. If I was going to buy a truck, this would probably be the one I’d get too. It just has the right mix of features and usability.

    Let us know what you think of it once it arrives!

  2. ” (I mean, really cheap; I have musical instruments that cost more)”

    John, you have a six-necked guitar. You can probably get more car for that than more, say, a snazzy kazoo.

  3. Dave Hogg:

    The guitar itself was surprisingly affordable, especially if you consider it per neck!

    The shipping, however…

  4. Great! I love EVs! I have had a Chevy Volt since 2016 and it’s mane the best car I’ve ever owned. It’s a plug-in hybrid that runs in electric mode until the battery is zero. Then the engine starts. But pure EVs are awesome too! I assume you will get a 220 volt charger because 110 is too slow. I’m looking forward to your future reviews.

  5. Speaking as someone who’s driven electric for a decade (Chevy Volt and Tesla Model 3 Performance), splurge and get the top of the line Lightning. You will have more fun “spiritedly” obeying the speed limit than you can possibly imagine. Also, it may well be the case that the top models are available sooner – this was certainly the case for the Teslas.

  6. Okay, the guy or gal running Ford’s twitter got to have some fun today, whilst also making their company look good. Nice day of work there!

  7. That’s the truck President Biden essentially hijacked on a visit to the Ford plant, so he could zoom around in it. I think he said it had quite a kick.

  8. I love my EV. I suspect you guys will love yours as well.

    You will want to get a NEMA 14-50 outlet installed in your garage, and then get a charger to plug into it. You could buy Ford’s, but I recommend a ClipperCreek (the HCS-40P), with a 25′ cable: I know because my family has 3 of them. They work great.

    Those ClipperCreeks can take a huge amount of abuse and survive just fine.

    You can get an HCS-40P either from clippercreek or used from ebay sometimes; it is worth setting up a watch for it in case you see one for cheap. Your houses electrical box will need to have 2 adjacent, unused slots.

  9. Bravo! Now put a big “V8” badge on the back, broadcast fake engine noise over the external speaker and really confuse your neighbors!

  10. We’ve got that penciled in for early 2024, when a balloon payment comes due. I don’t get excited about vehicles, but truck +tech and the rightness of this thing has given me tingles since it came out.

  11. For buying a car, what I did was buy Consumer Reports magazine which had lots of good things to say about the hybrid Prius.

    Being a nerd, not a car sage, it was easy to choose by what the scientists said.

    The fact that some of my new age eco friends had one was a bonus, but not why I bought it.

  12. If it has keyless ignition, get a Faraday pouch too.

    Ford is not doing a good job of staying ahead of the hackers. My next door neighbor had both of his Fords stolen last week.

    Cop said you could buy a relay for $17.00 and steal Fords all day long.

  13. Curse You SCALZI!!!! I was all set to be the Cool Kid with a shiny NEW Mustang Mach-E! I gotta say that’s a sweet ride. Lucky, lucky Krissy, who absolutely deserves every bit of it! Congratulations!
    (Also, I suggest finding a user group forum of some sort for the truck as you get closer to getting one, as I have found it very helpful for my Prius Prime and even the Mach-E (even though I don’t even HAVE it yet). The tech on EV stuff is just different enough to need a support group.)

  14. Sound plan as far as I can tell. I won’t be getting one because it’s way more vehicle than I need (and won’t fit in my garage) but I’m hoping to find a decent middle-sized car or suv when I next go car shopping. I love my Cube, but they don’t make them in “murica anymore so hoping that Scion or Kia has some electric options by then.

  15. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.
    timeliebe

    I’d wanted to get an EV for a while, but Tammy said “No” because she’s terrified of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no power, or having to shut off the AC/Heat and everything else to make it to where she could recharge. Given the range of the cars back when we were shopping was between 110 – 250 miles and our most regular trip was to NYC (almost exactly 250 miles), I had to concede she may have had a point.

    I honestly don’t think she’d want an EV until the range per charge is around 400 miles, because we used to regularly drive to Boston, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore (all over 300 miles one way) to attend Cons and other events. (Haven’t attended much of anything this last year, what with one thing and another!)

  16. @timeliebe

    Range anxiety is not a thing if the fast-charging infrastructure is good enough — and the Supercharger network is one reason Tesla succeeded. I’ve done multiple NC NY trips in my Model 3 and it’s an absolute non-issue; by the time the car needs to eat some amps, the humans need a bio break too.

    Right now, if you’re doing longer trips frequently, Tesla has a huge edge. This will equalize over the next few years, no doubt.

    You can plan routes using different charging systems and cars using https://abetterrouteplanner.com/ to get an idea whether a particular car will work for your common routes.

  17. I live in a townhouse development in Reston Va and we’re (via the HOA) going to have to figure out what it will cost to put the wiring for chargers in out in the carports. Because without that, EVs make no sense.

    I’d like a small pickup (say, a Jeep Gladiator or 90’s Ranger sized) that’s a hybrid.

    I can see why the F150 has to have that high front hood line that can hide pedestrians in crosswalks, but it’s still annoying.

  18. Mark,

    Kia makes an all electric car called the Niro. It used to be available in hybrid and all electric, but I think they’ve discontinued the hybrid recently.

    Currently the Niro is only sold in 12 states in the US. Presumably if it is successful enough it will become more widely available.

  19. The electric Ford truck looks great! I’m not an early adopter (and I’ve only had my Subaru Impreza for 2.5 years, and I’ve been essentially housebound for about half of that due to the pandemic), so I’m not going to join the queue for v1. But I’ll look forward to hearing your and Krissy’s experiences with it!

  20. Timeliebe mentioned driving to cons. In sunshine, of course.

    If you don’t mind snow, you could drive up to Canada, as in this cosplay video with music by Owl City. (from the end of the movie Wreck it Ralph) Some of the cosplay is on pavement that has melted the snow, or indoors, rather than on the snowy grass.

  21. I’ve got a Tesla Model 3 and don’t mind saying that I was blown away by the specs on this truck when they made the announcement. And having such a (relatively) low price point is the cherry on top.

    Congratulations to you and Krissy. I look forward to seeing photos (taken by you, naturally) of her behind the wheel.

  22. cool. But what happened to waiting for all bugs to be worked out of something and then buying the best version you can afford. :-)

    I’m thinking about getting the electric Jeep when it is available if I can swing it.

  23. I am exceedingly envious- I want one of these, bad. When I saw the pictures of the front trunk (No I will not use the portmanteau) full of ice and beverages, I realized this is the ultimate tailgating vehicle.

  24. Ignore the guy who said get the Clipper Creek EVSE. He means well, but apparently didn’t see the part of the F-150 announcement of the Vehicle to House only working with the specific Ford brand 80 amp charger. You are going to need to look into getting the electrical run for a 100 amp circuit (circuit needs to be 125% of the EVSE’s amperage). This may be enough that you need a upgrade to your house electrical panel as well.

    I do love my EVs, so much that I’ve bought 2.

  25. My kids will be out of the house in a few years, and our current people mover will be at the end of it’s usefulness by then. I would like a smaller version on the Lightning then. All I need is something to run to Lowes for lumber and make my two-mile commute to work. An EV version of a Ranger or S-10 would be perfect.

  26. That’s cool. I grew up in Dearborn and had a number of occasions to tour the Rouge complex. It was fun to see the assembly line, and nice to know there still is one functioning.

  27. At last I have an irrefutable argument to persuade Mr. Mythago, who is an inveterate tree-hugger and insists on electric vehicles, that we should buy a bee truck! Thanks, Scalzi clan!

  28. I don’t know if there will be ample energy.

    One of the things society seems to have Orwelled out of our awareness (call it denial) is that bitcoins and NFT’s (non fungible tokens) use up horrendous amounts of energy increasing the price of EV trucks or, say, the use of fans for senior citizens during heatwaves.

    Internet blockchains are energy guzzlers. (And denial is chains on my mind)

    In visual terms, at home I can spend my lifetime in a sweater with with cold fingers and my heat turned down, to help save the planet, only to have my sacrifice wasted by a single transaction.

    On the other hand, I seem to be a minority of one for this, so let’s hope I’m mistaken.

  29. I agree with Benjamin Lefebvre. Except MAYBE in a million years. The Cybertruck looks so futuristic people might think you’re an SF writer. Oh, wait…

  30. Ooooh sweet! I just bought a brand-new (gas) Ford F-150, because I need a new truck now and not a year from now, but if I’d been able to wait, I’d probably be reserving an F-150 Lightning, too. They really look awesome. I might just trade my current F-150 in on a Lightning in a couple of years.

  31. Bob Portnell – Sparks, NV USA – In no particular order: Husband, parent, child of God, technical writer, stargazer, gamer, and in no particular order.
    Bob P

    Congrats to you both!

    I got distracted this week by the upcoming hybrid Ford Maverick, a so-called small truck.

  32. Dear Sean,

    Fair question!

    The short (mostly uninformative) answer is that the transition is going to take 20 years; we’re not suddenly replacing every ICE with an electric. That one detail addresses most of the detractors’ naysaying about how it’s infeasible – they imagine waving a magic wand and suddenly replacing all vehicles with electrics. Well, if they can do that, I can wave my magic wand and redo the power infrastructure [high-wattage grin].

    Okay, being more informative — if we do imagine every vehicle being replaced with an electric, then, based on the current annual mileage for drivers in the US, the average power required to run all those electrics is 100 GW. That’s currently 9% of the US generating capacity. One has little difficulty imagining that much additional capacity being added over 20 years.

    Where does that come from? That’s up to society’s collective decision-making. I wouldn’t begin to guess. But I will mention that small-scale/residential solar generation is growing faster than the demand of electric cars. Crunching the numbers, if 50% of residential homes have rooftop solar in 20 years (and the predictions are for higher penetration than that), they generate enough energy over the course of a year to completely offset what the electric cars use. (No, I’m not analyzing load-leveling — this isn’t a position paper! But I am incorporating the effects of weather and daylight hours on the real total energy generation.)

    Distribution and grid capacity is not the problem some have made it out to be – we don’t and won’t need megawatt fast charging stations on every block. The average US driver drives an average of 35 miles a day. That’s less mileage than you can put on a typical electric plugging its trickle charger into a 120 V outlet each evening and unplugging it in the morning. We’re not even talking about rewiring an outlet — it’s a 1200 W draw. About that of a hairdryer, less than that of the typical microwave oven.

    That’s the average. Some people will need more, and there will certainly be times when one needs a bunch more for longer travel. That’s why you still want fast charging stations. But most people’s needs, for most of the time, not an issue!

    I speak from experience, having owned a Model X for 18 months, now. (And put on 25% less than said average miles, because of The Plague, but I’m in the ballpark.)

    pax , Ctein

    (Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training!)

    Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

  33. Dear timeliebe,

    With regards to range anxiety, I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Here’s the good news. You and Tammy should take a real close look at A Better Routeplanner (ABRP)

    https://abetterrouteplanner.com/

    It’s what all of us serious EV drivers use for planning trips. There’s also a free app that will run under iOS (don’t know if there’s an android version), which I use all the time.

    Highly customizable, for your vehicle, driving habits, safety margins you like, etc. Give it your travel itinerary and it will figure out the best places to stop for charging, based on minimizing your total travel time and your personal preferences. You can, of course, force it to choose or ignore certain stops.

    Play with this for a while and you may be able to convince both of yourselves that this is workable for you. Or not.

    Now for the bad news. The EPA official mileage figures are not likely to be useful for road trips. It’s not that they’re inaccurate, it’s just that they are far too dependent upon the driving situation, and long road trips don’t work in the favorable direction.

    For one, you won’t be running the battery pack below 10% or above 90% unless you really need to. Unless you like running on “fumes,” or you don’t mind waiting an extra 20 minutes (no kidding!) for that smart fast charging station to nudge your battery the last 10% from 90 to 100.

    There goes 20% of your range.

    For another, electrics are incredibly efficient, which means they are incredibly sensitive to driving conditions. For example, my Tesla Model X which is uber-efficient (it gets the same mileage as Paul’s Chevy Bolt which weighs half as much and is a whole lot smaller), loses about 25% of the EPA rating when I’m driving 75-80 mph, which is typical of long-haul driving here in California and the American Southwest. My EPA-rated 350 miles drops to a real 260 miles. And that’s before chopping off the aforementioned 20% for 10-90 charging! My real range in open road driving? More like 210 miles, unless I’m pushing it.

    (On the other hand, driving from here in Daly City to Berkeley, where the average speed is much lower and there’s a fair amount of slow-and-go traffic? I get 15-20% better than EPA.)

    For the third, given where you live, cold weather driving will be an issue. Efficiency goes down as the temperature drops below freezing. You can find lots of online information about this, but in severe winter weather you should expect to lose a third of your range. In really extreme weather, possibly half your range. (On the plus side, you’re not likely to be driving 75 to 80 mph!)

    Put all of that together and, yeah, you’d be talking about wanting a 400 mile official range, and there are only a couple of cars on the market that will do that.

    On the other hand, ABRP might well convince you both that stopping for charging midway during the trip is not going to be a big deal or make the drive unduly long and that you’ll be happy with a much shorter range car.

    The other thing I can tell you is that resale values on used electrics are incredibly high, so if you decide a year or so down the road you made a mistake, you’re going to recoup most of what you spent for the car.

    (Important Caveat: all the above range analyses are for ordinary electrics — I have no idea what the mileage behavior of the F-150 will turn out to be like. Nobody does, until we get a bunch of them on the road.)

    pax , Ctein

    (Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training!)

    Ctein’s Online Gallery http://ctein.com
    Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

  34. Oh Internet, is this my sign?

    My spouse and I have spent the past week or more trying to decide between a Ford Mustang Mach-E (so pretty!) and a Volkswagen ID4 (ground clearance!), and they’re just so close on so many things there’s not a “wrong” decision and so we just keep watching videos hoping to decide which one we’ll put down money for.

    Is this, my favorite SF author getting an electric Ford, the sign I’ve been hoping for?

    (Yes, we’re only looking at those two for reasons both good and personal, and we’ve already got the outlet.)

  35. I wasn’t ready to go all-electric because I was paranoid about grid capacity and have a condo so I can’t do solar *(and face west anyway). I bought a CR-V hybrid which seems OK so far. It gets about the mileage of my older Civic which is OK as long as I don’t drive it (which I have to to get kids around).

    I hope the F-150 works out though – it seems cool.

  36. Nice! If I had need for a truck and a place to park it easily, the F-150 Lightning would be a very exciting option for me. It looks good too (sorry, Cybertruck looks like crap).
    I got a used Prius Prime last year, which is a compact so not too bad for city street parking, and hybrid so I don’t have to fret when I run out of electricity on my trips to the mountains. The 50+ mpg is nice too, although y’all are gonna love not having to put gas in your truck at all.

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