2022 Ford F-150 Lightning First Drive Review: A Real Game-Changer.

Ford’s F-150 is ready to deliver a full truckload of Lightning capabilities.

Ford F-150 Lightning, MSRP- $ 39,974.

The F-Series is the most popular vehicle on the automobile industry.  Last year, Ford sold more than 725,000 items that were in spite of supply-chain issues and everything that was going on in the world.  That fact – the full significance of Ford’s bottom line to the success of this truck – announced last May that the company will build an electric F-150.  The F-150 Lightning had all the potential in the world to become a true mass-market game-changer.  Now, a year later, the F-150 Lightning is in full production, and it is truly a game-changer.

Ford invited me to San Antonio, Texas, to drive its electric F-150, the perfect place to back up the key thing the company wants to strengthen with lightning: it’s just a truck.  A really good, really useful, really quick truck that is electric.  Fully electric, to be clear, it delivers a range of 230 and 320 miles with a 98- or 131-kilowatt-hour battery pack.  Go with two lower battery packs and if you step into the extended range pack you’ll see 452 horsepower or 580 hp.  No matter what battery you get, 775 pound-feet of torque can be applied to all four wheels.

To put it in perspective, it has more horsepower than all but the F-150 Raptor and more torque than any other F-150.  In fact, you’ll need to step up to the 6.7-liter Power Stroke Diesel on the F-250 to get more torque than the Lightning, but the EV still delivers 100 more horsepower – not to mention a significantly smaller carbon footprint.

While those numbers are significant, what you can do with them is more important.  And here, it’s a little mixed bag compared to the siblings of the F-150 Lightning’s internal combustion.  The Lightning has a maximum tow rating of 10,000 pounds and a maximum payload of 2,235.  Both figures are significantly higher than the 3.3-liter V6 F-150’s ratings of 8,200 and 1,985 pounds, respectively, but lower than the 14,000 and 3,250 pounds of the 3.5-liter EcoBoost F-150.  The Lightning is close to the 2.7-liter EcoBoost F-150 configuration, with its 10,000 lbs pull and 2,480 lbs pull.

In other words, it is more or less correct in the middle of the F-150 capability range.  To test that capability, Ford provided a number of pulling and pulling experiences, ranging from the enviable pile of plywood to a utility trailer loaded with water and liquor.  The complete weight of that cargo and trailer?  9,500 pounds, just under 500 for maximum rating.  Despite that, the truck accelerated smoothly and brake clean, so even though I had no substantial hills to climb, I had no doubt the truck would handle them without any problems.

 (Ford pulls a F-150 lightning boat that pulls well, but for how far?

The question remains as to how many hills the truck covers when surrounded.  The range is one of the biggest question marks around the F-150 lightning when towing.  I only have access to a short, 15-mile towing test loop – and a low-speed one at that – so I can’t give any number with real confidence.  But I can tell you on different trucks with different trailers, I’ve seen an approximate range, usually 150-mile, about half the maximum range.  In my own test loops, I usually see usage rates of 1.2 miles per kilowatt-hour.  That again marks a range of about 160 miles, well below the 320-mile EPA estimate with the extended pack.

Now, a 50% reduction in range may seem extreme, but it is more or less in line with the increased usage you would expect when towing a regular truck.  The difference is, you can refill much faster than you can recharge.  I think more overhaul pull tests should be done before I make any formal conclusions, but the F-150 seems to be better able to pull lightning less.  You may want to stick with your gas powered rig for the long haul, though.

Okay, so from the F-150 Lightning cargo standpoint, the F-series may not be as capable of trucks, but I’m just getting started.  This truck brings to the table many new capabilities that no truck on the planet can achieve.  This, for example, can carry up to 400 pounds of cargo in its weatherproof franc.  The unique trick of the F-150 lightning, however, is the function of loading it from its vehicle.  With the V2L, you can use the truck to power … anything, even the whole house.  Ford says the extended-range battery is enough to power an average home for three days, which, for professionals, means no more expensive, droning generator rentals in the workplace.

 

 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Does Truck Stuff With Uplomb

If that’s not enough, the truck’s bi-directional charging is smart enough to cycle your home on and off the grid, recharge itself at night, and potentially disconnect your home utility system during the day when rates are high.  This only applies if you live somewhere with meter billing, but if you do, this could be a significant savings on your utility bill.

So, the lightning is a truck with exceptionally comprehensive skills, but it still leaves the question of what to drive.  The answer is that it sounds great, really.  It’s quick with a 0-60-mph time somewhere in the mid-four-second range.  That’s a few tenths slower than the Mustang GT.  Off-road, it’s very capable;  The instantaneous torque and smooth throttle response make it easy to rock over and over.  And with locking differentials on both ends, the truck has no trouble moving, even when the opposite wheels are suspended in the air.

The quality of the ride is remarkably good, smooth and compliant and I can easily see what I want to do for the long haul.  Yes, I know this is EV, you may not think it’s good for road-tripping, but the 320-mile range is four or five hours of driving.  With the right charger, the lightning can return to the 80% charge in just 40 minutes.  That 150-kW charging rate is much slower than what we see from products like the Porsche Tacon, but the 40-minute break in the saddle after 5 hours isn’t too bad for me.  In addition, the truck’s navigation system is smart enough to lead you through and through those charging brakes.

 

 (Ford F-150 Lightning Interior)

The inside is a straight F-150.

If I have one complaint about riding, it’s that the body control is on the poor side.  Truck compliant yes, but floating.  This is not the end of the world, because it is a truck that weighs 6,500 pounds in a ballpark depending on configuration.  In other words, it is you along with other vehicles.  Not the kind of thing you want to bump into the corners of the garage.

And that’s really my only complaint.  The F-150 Lightning strikes all points.  It is remarkably capable of everything you want from a truck, while having a wealth of new and exciting features.  This will revolutionize how a utility vehicle like this fits into your life and perhaps most significantly, your business.  Auto industry critics have said that lightning has the potential to change the game.  Ford has made it real now.

Credits : Tim Stevens / Ford

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