The steady growth of the electric vehicle market has seen auto manufacturers convert some of their most beloved models over to electric drivetrains in recent years. At this point, it might seem like old hat, but every now and then, something new comes along that renews the fervor over this new generation of clean, efficient electric vehicles. Few vehicles exemplify that excitement quite as well as the new 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. In combining the country’s best-selling pickup with an all-electric platform, Ford has its vision set firmly on creating the truck of the future, giving this working-class stalwart a modern makeover and setting the standard for what an all-electric truck can be.
Ford’s F-Series has long been a leader in the domestic market, boasting an impressive 44 years of industry dominance and earning a reputation as a truck that gets things done. In translating the F-150 into an all-electric vehicle, Ford has taken on a significant challenge: adhering to the rugged reputation and Built Ford Tough ethos that’s served the storied auto manufacturer so well throughout the years while also integrating the efficiency and cutting-edge features that drivers are increasingly demanding from their vehicles.
With the Lightning, Ford accomplishes all this and more, delivering unprecedented efficiency while simultaneously producing the most torque ever offered in an F-150 - and making it a mobile power supply to boot. Let’s take a closer look at just how this balance was struck and investigate some of the next-generation features that are sure to excite longtime fans of the popular truck.
While there is no shortage of exciting tech features to discuss on the F-150 Lightning, the truck’s centerpiece is obviously its all-electric powertrain. Driven by a pair of electric motors, drivers can choose between a standard battery with an estimated range of 230 miles or an extended-range upgrade that boasts 300 miles of range. While both setups provide ample power, it’s the F-150 Lightning’s torque that is the real standout statistic.
Electric motors are not only a more efficient way to power today’s vehicles. They’re inherently better at producing torque, making them uniquely well-suited for the rugged demands of a pickup truck. Here is a quick engineering lesson for the less mechanically-inclined: traditional internal combustion engines are composed of hundreds of moving parts that all play a role in translating the contained explosions that take place inside of the engine into rotational energy to move your vehicle down the road. Not only do combustion engines take time to spool up and generate power, but the whole process creates huge amounts of friction and heat, with only around 30% of the energy actually making it to the wheels.
On the other hand, electric motors like those found in the F-150 Lightning require far fewer moving parts and are essentially just a central rotor driven by a magnetic field. The minimal setup means very little energy is lost between the motor and axle, giving drivers not only a more efficient driving experience but also a more responsive one. Not only does nearly 80% of the energy get channeled to the road, but from the moment you depress the pedal, you instantly feel that power without the momentary delay we’ve come to expect with the traditional combustion setup. One added benefit to this technology: by operating in reverse, the electric motor can recharge the F-150 Lightning’s battery every time you hit the brakes, capturing otherwise wasted energy and increasing overall range.
Electric motors can also deliver maximum power at a moment’s notice. Unlike gas engines which must be revved up to higher RPMs in order to achieve peak performance, an electric motor is providing roughly the same amount of torque whether you’re accelerating from a complete stop or already cruising along at 65 MPH. While efficiency in a car has long been associated with decreased performance, this new generation of all-electric vehicles is smashing the old stereotypes and delivering faster, more responsive vehicles than ever before. While we want to say such a game-changer will have drivers on the edge of their seats, the reality is that the beastly torque of the F-150 Lightning will likely have them firmly glued to their headrests.
Every F-150 Lightning will feature the same roomy four-door SuperCrew cab with a 5.5-foot bed and room for five passengers. Those interested in customizing their Lightning will have four trim levels to choose from, ranging from the base Pro trim to the XLT, Lariat, and Platinum. Ford has always been good about providing trim levels that span the price and feature spectrum, and the Lightning is no exception, with prices ranging from just under $40,000 up to nearly double that number.
The second trim in the lineup features a Standard Range battery with the option to upgrade to the 300-mile Extended Range setup. Drivers can also upgrade to a power tailgate and LED lighting in the bed, making accessibility easier and safer than ever. Polished 18-inch aluminum wheels come standard, as does Ford’s 2.4-kW ProPower Onboard system and a 12-inch touchscreen featuring the manufacturer’s SYNC 4 infotainment system. Those towing large trailers or boats will appreciate the available Tow Technology package with trailer backup assist, as well the Co-Pilot360 Assist 2.0 driver-assist technology package with adaptive cruise control, built-in navigation, and lane centering.
The Lariat trim sees an upgrade to 20-inch wheels and includes available retractable running boards. The bump in price is reflected in the cabin, where the Lariat offers a massive 15.5-inch vertical touchscreen display as well as heated and cooled leather seats and an eight-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system to round out the premium feel. Improved tech features take center stage on the Lariat. In addition to the impressive touchscreen, the trim is available with Ford’s advanced BlueCruise automated driving system with active park assist. The PowerPro OnBoard system is boosted to 9.6-kW on the Lariat trim, providing enough power to run a wide range of tools and appliances.
The Platinum trim comes standard with the Extended Range battery pack, giving drivers a more versatile driving experience. Luxury is in full effect here, with 22-inch wheels and maximum recline heated and cooled seats trimmed in Ford’s ultra-luxe Nirvana leather. The upgraded 9.6-kW PowerPro OnBoard is also standard, as is a concert-ready 18-speaker Bang & Olufsen sound system.
If the F-150 Lightning was only a groundbreaking all-electric truck from one of the nation’s most established auto manufacturers, that would probably still be enough to warrant the hype the pickup has garnered - but it doesn’t stop there. The all-electric configuration of the F-150 Lightning allows the truck to pull off some pretty impressive tricks, such as regenerative braking and near-instant power delivery, but the most novel feature isn’t actually related to driving at all.
When equipped with the available 80-amp Charge Station Pro - a home-charging unit featuring Level 2 fast-charging capability that’s included standard with the Extended Range battery - the F-150 Lightning can serve as a backup power supply. This will allow families to keep vital appliances running in critical situations, such as extended power outages or natural disasters. The Lightning provides your home with a steady stream of 9.6-kW power, giving you the ability to power your home from the Extended Range battery for three days or as many as ten days with power rationing.
The Lightning’s generator potential isn’t only useful during storms or natural disasters: it could also be used as a bill-slashing solution to rising energy costs. While Ford has yet to finalize any announcement, the brand has alluded to introducing a Ford Intelligent Power feature, allowing homeowners to power their home directly from the truck’s battery during expensive peak-energy hours and recharge the truck during cheaper overnight hours. As illustrated by some of the astronomical utility bills brought on by cold snaps and heatwaves in recent seasons, this could well prove to be one of the most valuable features to date, giving drivers a more affordable way to power their homes during energy-use spikes.
“Whether sheltering during a storm or trying to stay safe in a heat wave, customers can now use their truck to give themselves power when they need it most,” said Ryan O’Gorman, electric vehicle manager at Ford. “F-150 Lightning is built for seamless transitions between charging your vehicle and powering your house when needed – and Ford is the first in the U.S. to offer this capability on an electric truck.”
The power-generating capabilities of the F-150 Lightning are useful outside of outages and price spikes as well. Those who opt for the optional ProPower Onboard feature will be able to operate a variety of tools, appliances, and gadgets directly from the truck’s battery. Depending on the trim and packages, this feature can provide between 2.4 kW and 9.6 kW of juice through 120V and 240V outlets conveniently located throughout the cab, bed, and frunk.
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Based on model year EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your actual mileage will vary depending on how you drive and maintain your vehicle.