A Pickup Worth Waiting For: 10 Cool Ford F-150 Lightning Details
After startups continuously dominated EV pickup headlines for years, America’s legacy manufacturers are off the bench and in the game. General Motor’s crab-walking GMC Hummer appeared first, but the high-concept EV pickup truck enters the fray as a $100,000 halo vehicle. GM also confirmed it would build an electric version of its Silverado pickup alongside the Hummer, but its arrival date is unknown.
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, on the other hand, takes the figurative low road, aiming at the heart of the market with real-world features and the kind of functional, understated styling appreciated by tradesmen and outdoorsy types and a price to match. Here are 10 details and features that make the F-150 Lightning EV pickup more than just a green-washed, four-wheeled lifestyle accessory.
1. The Name Lighting Previously Appeared on a High-Performance F-150 Variant
Ford stirred up some vocal opposition when it co-opted the Mustang name for its Mustang Mach-E electric crossover, and there already are similar, if less intense, grumblings about the Lightning. The difference? The previous Ford F-150 SVT Lightning was a low-volume, special-edition high-performance pickup manufactured from 1993 to 1995 and 1999 to 2004, and the Mustang is arguably one of the most beloved, recognizable and successful coupes in automotive history. If it’s any consolation, the new Ford F-150 Lightning EV pickup comes standard with 775 pound-feet of torque, four-wheel drive and can out-accelerate, out-tow and out-haul both generations of the old V8-powered SVT Lightning.
2. A 32-Amp Home Charger is Standard, but More Robust Options are Available
Each F-150 Lightning includes a basic 32-amp mobile charging unit that plugs into either a standard 120-volt wall outlet or a 240-volt AC outlet. The unit can fully recharge the battery in 14 hours for the standard, 230-mile range battery or 19 hours for the extended 300-mile range battery. An optional “Ford Connected” 48-volt level 2 charger cuts those times to 10 and 13 hours, respectively, but it requires a dedicated circuit. Owners of models with the extended range battery will get a Ford Charge Station Pro 80-amp unit that drops recharging time to 8 hours by optimizing charging for the dual onboard chargers that come only the extended-range battery version. Plus, it opens the door to Ford’s Intelligent Backup Power.
3. It can Power Your Home During a Utility Outage Using Intelligent Backup Power
In regions where utility outages are common, the Lightning’s available Ford Intelligent Backup Power will offer up to 9.6 kW of power from the larger extended-range battery pack. While simply running a few extension cables to essential appliances in such a situation is a solution, the Intelligent Backup Power does it automatically. Just opt for the 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro Charger (standard with extended range) and pair it with a required additional home management system (think a specialized transfer switch, Ford can arrange installation). When connected, they work in concert to kick on when the power goes out and seamlessly feeds directly into the home’s AC circuits. Based on an average 30kWh of use per day, F-150 Lightning with extended-range battery provides full-home power for up to three days, or longer if power is rationed. Best of all, no noisy generator is running through the night.
4. The Body is Still Aluminum
To the surprise of no one, the 2022 F-150 Lightning EV wears an aluminum skin, as does the rest of the F-150 lineup. While this is unremarkable, the aluminum skin does help keep its weight down, which is critical for an EV. While Ford hasn’t yet released an official curb weight for the Lighting, industry experts bet it will cross the scales around 6,500 to 7,500 pounds, significantly lighter than the 9,000-plus pound reported weight of the new GMC Hummer.
5. It Can Tow up to 10,000 Pounds—But For How Far?
Ford is proud of the 2022 F-150 Lightning’s 10,000-pound maximum tow rating (7,700 with the standard battery). Still, it hasn’t shared any details regarding how tugging a heavy load will decimate its commendable 300-mile range estimate. Ford spent many hours pulling trailers in Iowa Hill, California, proving its mettle and test the cooling system, but remains tight-lipped on the range. For a slight apples to oranges comparison, consider that Tesla ModelX 100D owners report a 40 to 65% range reduction with a 3,800-pound camper in tow.
6. It Has An Independent Rear Suspension, An F-150 First
Despite a decade of rumors, all the currently available gasoline-powered full-size half-ton and HD pickups still utilize a solid rear axle for several reasons, including their durable, robust nature and heavy payload and towing capabilities. While an independent setup would improve handling and ride comfort as they have in large SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade, but their geometry and requisite hardware require more fine-tuning before appearing in prime-time pickups. However, the F-150 Lightning’s electric powertrain provides a fresh blueprint to incorporate an independent rear suspension. You can bet Ford is evaluating it for possible migration to the standard F-150.
7. You Can Get Frunky With It
With no bothersome internal combustion engine to hog up all that space between the front fenders, the F-150 Lightning offers 14.1 cubic feet of space for golf clubs, luggage or other cargo up to 400 pounds. Ford spent a considerable amount of time maximizing this space for utility and even making sure it stylistically matches the exterior. It even has a drain, should you find yourself without a cooler but desire to ice down some beverages. It also has four 120 AC outlets and a pair of USBs to power the fun.
8. Over The Air Updates, 15.5-Inch Screen And Phone As A Key
Ford’s new SYNC 4A infotainment system features natural voice control, cloud-connected navigation, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and integrated Amazon Alexa and SYNC AppLink apps. It also serves as the command center for scheduling software updates via Ford Power-Up, which can tweak or update existing features and add all-new functions and capabilities. Most updates are projected to take less than two minutes. Phone As A Key tech also integrated, allowing users to enter the vehicle without a key fob as long as their phone is in their pocket.
9. Onboard Scales Weigh And Monitor Your Payload
Ford recently introduced its Onboard Scales system, which can display the weight of your payload in the infotainment screen, phone (when equipped with the Ford MyPass app) or via segmented bars in the rear taillamps. The Lighting version goes a step further, incorporating that data into the Intelligent Range feature to display real-time range calculations based on your current conditions.
10. The Lightning Could Provide The Juice To Push F-series Sales Past The One Million Mark In The U.S.
The F-series pickup has been the best-selling truck—and occasionally vehicle—for decades. 2018 is its best year on record, the maker peddling 909,330 units in the U.S. alone and an additional 145,694 in Canada for good measure. (Sales slipped slightly to 896,526 and 145,064 in 2019) Should the post-pandemic economy continue on the same trajectory and EVs continue to move into the mainstream when the Lighting hits showrooms in spring of 2022, it’s not a stretch to think Ford could crest the magical one-million mark in the states. But that’s only if the Lightning has the mojo to bring 100,000 new customers into the fold; simply stealing them from the current gasoline F-150 customer base won’t move the needle. That said, Ford CEO Jim Farley says they received over 44,500 reservation deposits in the first 48 hours after the Lightning’s debut. It could happen.