Ford isn’t exactly the first car brand that pops to mind in a conversation about electric vehicles, but it began selling the all-electric Mustang Mach-E this year and next year will bring the much-anticipated 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.
It’s one thing to bring a new electric vehicle to the market. The Mustang Mach-E shares the Mustang name, but it is a small SUV, and nobody will confuse it with the iconic gas-powered Mustang.
It is an entirely different thing to introduce an electric version of your best-selling vehicle while the gas-powered model is still on sale.
Ford sold more than 623,000 F-150s in 2019.
The truck is well-loved by the driving public and by fleet managers, but some of those customers are starting to look for greener and more economical options.
In late May, Ford introduced the all-electric 2022 F-150 Lightning, which fits right in with its F-150 lineup.
Earlier this month, Ford brought one of the very few F-150 Lightning prototypes to Dallas to show it off and answer questions. Attendees of the event did not get to drive the truck, and the dashboard had some pieces borrowed from other models, but the outside looked great.
Since there was no driving, this isn’t a review of the Lightning — that will come next year when production begins.
But here’s a look at some of the Lightning’s specs and newest features.
You’ll find cool new features all over the truck.
The Lightning has four trim levels: the Pro, XLT, Lariat and Platinum.
The Pro will start at $39,974 with the standard battery (add $10,000 for the extended-range battery), and the Platinum will top out at around $90,000. Final pricing has not been announced.
Buyers have the potential to get up to a $7,500 federal tax credit once the F-150 is certified by the IRS to qualify for the credit.
Each trim level has two options for battery capacity. The standard battery pack has a targeted range of 230 miles, and the extended-range battery brings an estimated range of 300 miles.
The $39,974 Lightning Pro is aimed at commercial applications and features a 12-inch touch screen, vinyl seating and the standard battery.
The truck on display in Dallas had the Platinum trim with the extended battery.
The Lightning Platinum features a 15-inch vertical touch screen, and it has an actual knob to turn for interacting with the screen and controlling volume.
Is it capable?
Brian Bell, the Ford truck marketing manager, led off the presentation with these numbers: 563 horsepower, 775 pound-feet of torque and 0 to 60 mph in the mid-4 second range, making the Lightning the quickest F-150.
It has a payload of up to 2,000 pounds and a towing capacity of up to 10,000 pounds.
Every Lightning comes standard with select shift four-wheel drive with four selectable drive modes — normal, sport, off road and tow/haul.
The Lightning has a new independent rear suspension and the strongest steel ever used on a Ford frame.
The battery pack is heavy. Bell said the Lightning weighs about 1,000 pounds more than a gas-powered F-150.
Because the Lightning is an electric vehicle with a huge battery, the Lariat and Platinum trims have the ability to provide electrical power you can use to power tools at a jobsite or even to power your home.
The Lightning has 10 120-volt AC outlets spread out between the bed, the frunk (the front trunk) and the interior.
The truck bed also features a 240-volt outlet. Together all these ports can share up to 9.6 kilowatts of power.
You can also use the truck’s extended-range battery to provide backup power to your home during a power outage.
This feature requires Ford’s 80-amp Charge Station Pro, which is included with the Platinum trim truck.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.[object Object]