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Jim Rossman: Dallas gets its first look at the all-electric, super buzzy F-150 Lightning

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Published in Science & Technology News

The Charge Station Pro has the ability to reverse the electricity flow and provide power to your home. You’ll need an electrician to install a small box on your home’s electrical system to switch from grid power to using the truck’s power. This is much like what you would do if you wanted to install a whole-home generator.

The Lightning has enough capacity to keep your home fully powered for up to three days or as much as 10 days if you ration the power.

And keeping the power going is as easy as driving the truck to a charger and recharging.

This is a feature I haven’t seen on any other electric vehicle.

Huge frunk

Because the dual electric motors are mounted at each axle, between the frame rails, the area that would normally house the gasoline engine is now available for lockable storage space called a frunk. The Lightning isn’t the first vehicle with a frunk, but it is the largest in the industry.

Because there are four AC outlets and two USB ports inside, Ford calls it the Mega Power Frunk.

It has a 400-pound payload capacity and it is lockable and weatherproof. Need to carry a few bags of cement home in a rain storm? Put them in the frunk.

Ford says the frunk volume is 400 liters. The space is also washable, and the frunk has a drain, so you can hose it out or even use it as a big drink cooler.

Since the Lightning’s grill is attached to the hood, the grill raises up with the hood, making access to the frunk very easy.

The frunk was the star of the media preview event.

Other highlights

The battery packs are protected with metal skid plates and a waterproof casing. They have been extreme tested down to -40 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Lightning can use a smartphone as a key. It also has pro trailer hitch assist, where the truck controls steering, throttle and brakes to align the trailer ball and hitch.

Also available is pro trailer backup assist that makes backing up a trailer as easy as turning a knob on the dash in the direction you want the trailer to go.

The truck has on-board scales to figure out its weight. That measurement is then used to recalculate the truck’s range, giving the driver an accurate picture of how far the truck can go before it needs a charge.

Ford can also upgrade the truck’s software over the air.

The Platinum’s 15.5-inch touch screen not only helps with navigation, it can also run Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it has Amazon Alexa.

The dashboard instrument cluster is also one big 12-inch LCD screen that’s customizable.

WFT

We all know what working from home is, but what about WFT, or working from your truck?

 

The Lightning has built-in 4G LTE to keep you connected. There is also a fantastic work surface in the cab. The gear selector folds down at the touch of a button, and the padded center armrest folds out to make a flat surface that makes a great place for a laptop.

Hands-free driving

Ford has an option called BlueCruise that allows the driver to drive hands-free on prequalified sections of divided highways. There are more than 100,000 miles of eligible roads in North America.

The system uses driver-facing cameras to make sure the driver is watching the road. It uses radar-sensing technology to watch the road ahead.

Charging network

Ford has put together a network of more than 19,500 charging stations with more than 63,000 individual charging plugs across the country. This is based on existing charging locations that can all be billed back to you via the FordPass app.

The standard battery models ship with a 32-amp mobile charger that lets the driver charge from a 120v or 240v outlet.

If you opt for the extended battery, you get an 80-amp 19.2-kilowatt fast charger. The extended battery has dual onboard chargers so you can fully charge overnight.

For drivers who run the battery down all the way, there is included roadside assistance for 5 years/60,000 miles that offers free towing to the nearest charger.

The show-and-tell event for the Lightning generated a lot of interest, especially from fleet managers from cities, school districts and corporations around the area.

“We have such a great customer base with the F-150, we really have had a lot of fantastic feedback from them,” Bell said.

“There is a lot of push for this, not just because it’s green, but it’s the reduced maintenance, less downtime, the ability to charge overnight, lower operating cost.”

“These fleet managers know how many miles their trucks travel each day and even the standard battery is more than enough. This is a terrific truck, and it shows our commitment to the F-150 and the future of the technology.”

Will it sell?

In a word — yes.

If you’d like to reserve a Lightning F-150, all it takes is a $100 deposit that is fully refundable if you change your mind.

Ford has already accepted more than 100,000 reservations for the Lightning. That number has to make Ford happy.

As for the performance of the Lightning in the real world?

We’ll have a better idea when the production models start hitting the streets.

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