It's here. After years of hemming and hawing over whether it would happen or not and months of teasers and prototype sightings, an all-electric version of this country's best-selling automotive nameplate is here. This is the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, a vehicle Ford is billing as "the truck of the future, today" despite the legacy nomenclature. Remember the SVT Lightning? Of course you do.
Anywho, here are the new Lightning's headline facts and figures. Two battery options: a standard pack targeting 230 miles of range or an extended-range battery aiming for 300 miles. Dual inboard motors pumping out a targeted 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of instant torque with the extended battery. Maximum total payload of 2,000 pounds and a max towing capacity of 10,000 pounds.
When President Joe Biden took an impromptu test drive of the Lightning yesterday, he guesstimated that he was hitting 60 mph in about "4.3, 4.4" seconds. Turns out, the Commander-in-Chief's butt dyno is pretty accurate because Ford's official line in regards to the electric truck's acceleration is a zero to 60 mph time in the "mid-four second range." That's quicker than the F-150 Raptor.
The real surprise here, perhaps, doesn't have anything to do with this truck's performance but rather its price because the 2022 F-150 Lightning will start at just $39,974 before any government rebates. Granted, that gets you into a base, commercially-oriented model, but still.
A full-on electric truck for less money than Ford's own Mustang Mach-E crossover and the cheapest AWD Tesla Model 3? That's something to applaud. The XLT trim, however, will start at $52,974 and Ford says the Lightning can be optioned up to around $90,000 if you'd like one with all of the bells and whistles. That, my friends, is a lot of scratch.
It may go about its business much quieter than the F-150s we're all used to but Ford assures us that the Lightning will still do all of the truck things as well as or better than its internally-combusted brothers. Featuring full-time electric 4x4, the F-150 Lightning uses a military-grade aluminum-alloy body just like the gas versions and wears metal skid plates on the underbody that protect the battery and motors from sketchy terrain. That battery—the biggest lithium-ion unit from Ford to date—is further protected by a waterproof, crash-absorbent shell.
Independent rear suspension appears for the first time on an F-Series truck and lends to better handling and on-road stability. Speaking of driving, one-pedal operation is selectable while available BlueCruise hands-free driving tech helps out with highway action but also keeps a camera aimed at the driver at all times to make sure they're still paying attention and looking at the road.
Style-wise, the Lightning is probably the most technological looking F-150 out there with its Power Ranger-helmet vibe; clean, unfussy lines; and lengthy, uninterrupted light bars but its shape and demeanor is still quintessentially F-150. A relatively classic-looking antidote to the alien rover that is the Tesla Cybertruck.
To make the switch to electric trucking as easy as possible, Ford is including an 80-amp charge station standard with every F-150 Lightning for easy home charging. Using dual onboard chargers (the first truck to do so), this is good for 30 miles of range every hour the Lightning is plugged in or 15 to 100 percent juice in approximately eight hours. With DC fast charging, however, the extended-range Lightning can gain 54 miles of range in just 10 minutes or go from 15 to 80 percent battery in 41 minutes. Not 42 minutes, not 40 minutes. 41 minutes. A less honest automaker probably could've rounded that figure down to 40 but not the Blue Oval, no sir.
The way this truck both manages and helps its owner manage its power is quite smart too. For starters, its onboard, real-time range calculator takes into account towing, payload (thanks to Onboard Scales), and even weather conditions to give its driver an accurate idea of how much range they've got left at any given time.
Pro Power Onboard first seen on the hybrid F-150 PowerBoost lets the F-150 Lightning become a mobile generator with a total of 11 power outlets throughout, providing up to 9.6 kilowatts of portable electricity compared to the PowerBoost's maximum of 7.2 kW. What's more, Ford has taken this technology even further with something called Ford Intelligent Backup Power. Essentially, if the power in your home goes out while the Lightning is charging, (for example, due to a natural disaster or good ol' electric company incompetence) the truck will automatically start powering your home and, of course, automatically revert back to charging once your power is back on. Ford says a fully-charged, extended-range F-150 Lightning is enough to power a full house for up to three days. Oh, and there's also this:
"In the future, Ford will introduce Ford Intelligent Power, which can use the truck to power homes during high-cost, peak-energy hours while taking advantage of low-cost overnight rates to charge the vehicle in time for your morning drive," reads Ford's press release. "This can help save money on electricity that powers your vehicle and home while also taking pressure off the grid in peak usage times."
"Play 5D chess with your energy company" wasn't really something I expected the F-150 Lightning to be able to do, but here we are.
To make sure all of this alternate electricity use doesn't drain your Lightning's battery to the point of no return, the FordPass mobile app will send you a notification if the truck gets depleted below a third of its total range and owners can even set it up so that Pro Power Onboard turns off if the remaining range drains close to the distance to the nearest known charging station.
No, "Mega Power Frunk" is not some cutesy title I just came up with for the cargo storage section of this article. It's literally what Ford is calling the F-150 Lightning's very big and power-wealthy frunk. Naturally, the electric F-150's lack of an engine has allowed 14.1 cubic feet of storage space where an ICE would usually go, giving it the biggest frunk in any EV, apparently. The Mega Power Frunk will support 400 pounds of cargo and is big enough for two full-size golf bags but, more importantly perhaps, the M.P.F. is water-resistant, features four electrical outlets, two USB ports, and a drainhole. You could potentially fill it with, like, shrimp and buffalo wings as Ford did with the Mach-E's drainable frunk back in February 2020 and use a hose to clean it out.
With the benefit of hindsight, pre-pandemic hygiene standards were something else. (Who are we kidding, this was nasty even before COVID.)
Moving without the use of gasoline isn't the only thing that makes the F-150 Lightning the tech-head's pickup truck. Pro Trailer Hitch Assist makes hooking the Lightning up to a trailer less of a pain while Phone As A Key turns your smartphone into a keyfob, allowing for keyless entry and start just by keeping your phone in your pocket.
On Lariat and Platinum trims, new Sync 4A is debuting on a straight-up gargantuan, portrait-oriented, 15.5-inch touchscreen with a Mach-E-style on-screen physical volume knob. The system supports wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto as well as user profiles that, if you let 'em, learn your habits over time and tailors the onboard infotainment experience accordingly.
Over-the-air updates (a.k.a. the slightly cheesily-named Ford Power-Up) are expected to improve the Lightning experience and Ford says most of them can be completed in less than two minutes. They can also be scheduled to happen when you aren't using the truck, say, overnight. A 12-inch, customizable, digital instrument cluster makes sure the driver knows what's going on with their electric truck.
If all this sounds appealing, there's unfortunately still a bit of waiting to do because the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning will hit dealerships and the road next spring when assembly begins at Ford's new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Reservations, however, are open right now on Ford's official website with a proverbial spot in line costing just $100.
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