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Ford Tech Helps To Ensure That Towing Reliability Data For The Lightning

Ford's Lightning uses its "brains" to ensure that they can tow their trailers the distance.

The all-new Ford F-150 Lightning, which began rolling off the assembly line about two weeks ago, boasts some great features. For example, the electric pickup matches any pickup on the market in towing capability – 10,000 pounds – the truck has more than enough torque to pull out a tree stump or two.

How much torque does the Lightning boast? The electric driveline of the pickup turns out 775 pounds-feet of torque. It's also instant torque. In other words, when you tell it to go, the power is instantly available. It's not like an engine of a standard pickup that has to wait for the power to spool up before it hits its maximum torque. It is the beauty of an electric powerplant – it is instant-on.

Lightning Offers Its Buyers More

The Lightning offers its buyers much more through the vehicle's brain. The microprocessor gives customers the range of information they need to tow long distances in confidence. One thing that standard internal combustion engine (ICE) pickups inspire is confidence. If, for example, you were to look at the numbers for a standard pickup, you might see that you could haul your 8,000-pound overnighter from here to there and back again quite quickly (it can be from Location A to Location B, if you would like). With over a century's worth of development, it is easy to have faith in the ICE pickup because you know that they have engineered reliability over time.

Though electric pickups are the latest on the automotive scene, you know that the engineering development team has applied not only its electric knowledge but also With an electric; you have to assume that the engineering development team has done incorporated not only the reliability of a standard pickup but also the technology of the electric so that the electric has the same reliability metrics as the standard ICE pickup.

One of the ways that Ford ensures reliability is through technology. Ford-exclusive technologies: Intelligent Range and FordPass Power My Trip plus the available class-exclusive Onboard Scales. They work seamlessly to give F-150 Lightning customers more accurate vehicle range estimates based on actual towing experiences and real-time energy use. At the same time, Trailer Profile remembers its trailer specifics so the system can associate energy use for each trailer used.

"We know many F-150 Lightning customers will be first-time electric vehicle owners who expect that familiar Built Ford Tough capability along with robust towing," said Linda Zhang, chief engineer, F-150 Lightning. "That's why we created smart technologies to help take the worry out of towing long distances by giving customers more reliable and accurate range calculations, and then automatically locate charge points along the way if needed."

Intelligent Range, The Techno Genie Behind The Scenes

The magic that enables confident and rewarding towing experiences with F-150 Lightning is the Ford-exclusive Intelligent Range, which is enhanced to work specifically with the needs of electric truck owners.

On F-150 Lightning, Intelligent Range collects critical vehicle data to determine how much electrical energy drivers are using in real-time. The data includes traffic speed, ambient temperature, available battery energy, driver habits, climate control use, and route topography. The system also uses cloud computing to gauge energy use from other similar types of Ford electric vehicles operating in similar situations, resulting in more accurate vehicle range calculations over time.

With F-150 Lightning, Intelligent Range can also sample similar towing and energy use situations to refine range calculations in real-time. It happens automatically through available Ford Onboard Scales, which communicate with Intelligent Range. As range data improves and the system becomes more robust, the system can be further refined via Ford Power-Up over-the-air software updates.

"Whether you're towing a gas-powered or electric truck, range degradation as a percentage is the same – determined primarily by overall cargo and trailer weight at low speeds and the aerodynamic profile at higher speeds," said Zhang. "That's why we expanded the capabilities of Intelligent Range on the F-150 Lightning with the available Onboard scales to also measure the load effects of trailers and cargo to further refine range calculations when towing."

Power My Trip Empowers Long-Distance Towing

Bringing a more secure electric towing experience to life is FordPass Power My Trip, the online mapping system where drivers can plan out their trips. Customers input their trailer information into Trailer Profile, then enter their destination into the SYNC 4/4A navigation system or on their smartphone via the FordPass app. Power My Trip automatically maps their towing route using Intelligent Range – and provides charge points along the way, if needed.

Should an F-150 Lightning customer stop for a charge along the way, they can access the Ford BlueOval Charge Network, the nation's largest public charging network with more than 20,500 charge locations and 70,000-plus plugs across North America. That includes more than 7,300 DC fast chargers, some of which can deliver up to 150 kW of energy, giving an extended range F-150 Lightning from 15 percent to 80 percent of additional estimated battery range in 41 minutes when using the 150 kW Electrify America chargers.

Every F-150 Lightning customer will get a Ford Mobile Power cord charger, which gives them 120- or 240-volt AC charging with easy, portable charge connectivity wherever they go. Extended range F-150 Lightning customers will also receive an 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro, which they can install at home or work. Standard range customers can purchase the Ford Charge Station Pro for $1,310 MSRP plus tax.

Customers Get Most Accurate Assessments Possible

"By giving customers the most accurate range assessments possible and the charge tools they need to tow reliably, we believe they'll move past the myths about towing with an electric truck and embrace the value-added benefits F-150 Lightning provides," said Zhang. "As they get accustomed to how Intelligent Range and Power My Trip work, they'll naturally adjust their routines – whether stopping for lunch and a DC fast charge or finding a route that simplifies their drive."

To learn more about Ford electric vehicles and Ford intelligent charging, go to Deliveries of the all-electric F-150 Lightning begin this spring.

Marc Stern has been an automotive writer since 1971 when an otherwise normal news editor said, "You're our new car editor," and dumped about 27 pounds of auto stuff on my desk. I was in heaven as I have been a gearhead from my early days. As a teen, I spent the usual number of misspent hours hanging out at gas stations Shell and Texaco (a big thing in my youth) and working on cars. From there on, it was a straight line to my first column for the paper, "You Auto Know," an enterprise that I handled faithfully for 32 years. Not many people know that I also handled computer documentation for a good part of my living while writing YAN. My best writing, though, was always in cars. My work has appeared in Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated, AutoWeek, SuperStock, Trailer Life, Old Cars Weekly, Special Interest Autos, etc. You can follow me on: Twitter or Facebook.