Five Things We Like About The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning And Three Things We Don’t Like
Now that the “Lightning Storm” has cleared, and I’ve had time to dissect more information from this week’s launch and reveal of the F-150 Lightning, I took a closer look at some details of the all-electric F-150 and compiled a list of things I liked and some things I was disappointed with.
There was a lot of chatter on social media over the reveal of the F-150 Lightning. The all-electric F-150 even made it onto a spot on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. This was clearly a paid spot that Fallon turned into something casual and funny. But clearly, the publicity machine churns for this all important all-electric F-150. See the video below.
It’s not hyperbole to state that the F-150 Lightning is tremendously important to Ford Motor Company and the automobile industry. As Tesla has been a (good) disruptive force in the auto industry, they really disrupted things when they unveiled the funky, quirky Cybertruck.
The specs and price of the Cybertruck seemed impossible and took it to the old-school auto makers and their gasoline guzzling pickup trucks. Suddenly, America’s best-selling vehicle, the Ford F-150, seemed quite passé in comparison to the chic and hip Cybertruck.
So Ford needed their all-electric rival to the Cybertruck to be widely accepted and praised. And all-in-all, I think they succeeded, with a few exceptions. Here’s a look at the things I liked about the 2022 F-150 Lightning.
Related story: 2022 F-150 Lightning to have 563 HP and 300 miles of range.
Five Things To Like About the 2022 F-150 Lightning
There was a lot to digest about the F-150 Lightning, and sadly, we got very little in the actual live reveal but shallow talking points. Without hard substance, I had to scour through all the materials released to the media. It was a lot to digest, but also several things stood out.
Frunk. In the world of EVs, the front storage area under the hood, known as the frunk, is always of interest. Even Jimmy Fallon made jokes about the frunk. But the fact is the F-150 boasts an additional 400 pounds of payload and 400 liters of space for the frunk.
It’s weird to say liters, instead of the 14.1 cubic feet of space, but that’s because it can be used as a cooler with a drain underneath it. So having liter capacity in the frunk is appealing. Most interesting about the frunk to me was that it would open and close with the push of a button, a feature the Mustang Mach-E’s frunk lacks.
High tech features. I reported earlier on the Power Up over-the-air updates and Blue Cruise hands-free driving technology in the F-150, well the F-150 Lightning will have all those features and then some. One such feature is available Onboard Scales, which uses the truck’s sensors to estimate payload and tell customers how much they’re hauling. And since payload can impact range, Onboard Scales is integrated with Intelligent Range to help ensure F-150 Lightning gives an accurate estimate of how far you can go.
F-150 Lightning Lariat and Platinum will get Sync 4, which is by far Ford’s best infotainment technology.
“It really is the smartest F-150 we’ve ever made,” said Darren Palmer, general manager, Battery Electric Vehicles, Ford Motor Company. “F-150 Lightning offers an immersive touch screen, giving our customers all the info they want in an instant – a real-time view of where they’re going, what they’re hauling or how much real-world range they’ve got banked. And with Ford Power-Up software updates, the experience is only going to get better.”
Torque, Payload and Towing. Three things that are very important to pickup truck consumers and the F-150 has impressive numbers for all three areas. The F-150 Lightning is a powerhouse that delivers a targeted 563 horsepower and 775 lb.-ft. of torque – the most torque of any F-150 ever. It will also have a maximum 2,000-pound payload and up to 10,000-pound towing capacity.
Those numbers are mind-blowing and exactly what you’d want to see from a big truck.
Power at home. I’m still waiting to ask more questions about the Ford Intelligent Backup Power but from what I read and saw this is a gamechanger. We already saw the 7.2 kW OnBoard Generator of the PowerBoost hybrid f-150 save the day during a winter storm in Texas, now the F-150 Lightning takes tha concept further with he ability to offload 9.6 kilowatts of power that keeps the lights on during an outage while providing security by powering home appliances, security systems and more.
With Ford Intelligent Backup Power, enabled by the available 80-amp Ford Charge Station Pro and home management system Ford can help install, F-150 Lightning automatically kicks in to power your house. Once power is restored, the truck automatically reverts to charging its battery. Based on an average 30kWh of use per day, F-150 Lightning with extended-range battery provides full-home power for up to three days, or as long as 10 days if power is rationed, with results varying based on energy usage.
Major thumbs up on this. No other competitor has anything like this.
F-150 Lightning looks like a truck. I point this out because it’s main competitor the Cybertruck looks like something a five year old drew and then made out of clay. The strange look of the Cybertruck generated buzz, but I simply can’t imagine seeing those roaming around the streets pulling a boat. Conversely, the F-150 Lightning has just enough of its own personality to stand out from the comfortable, attractive 14th-generation F-150. The Lightning didn’t need a gimmicky look to gain attention and appeal.
Three Things That Were Disappointing About the 2022 F-150 Lightning
The F-150 Lightning has maximum range of 300 miles. This is a good number, but not great. It’s better than some outlets predicted, but falls below what I was hoping which was 500 miles. Additionally, I was highly disappointed that there was no mention of what payload or towing will do to the range. Obviously it will diminish it, but by how much?
5.5-foot bed is only option. I like the shorter beds to help with maneuverability and overall looks. But die-hard truck fans sounded quite disappointed the short bed was the only option. I hope Ford addresses this in the future with a 6-foot bed and maybe even an 8-foot bed, to give the Lightning broader appeal.
Deceptive pricing. Ford played up that the Lightning will start with a price below $40,000. Initially that caught my eye, but then I realized it’s for a stripped down, commercial-grade truck. While I think that’s awesome for Ford’s working-class roots, the average consumer truck will cost much more than that. The mid-series XLT model starts at $52,974 MSRP but when decked out with all the aforementioned cool features, you’ll likely be left with a truck with a price tag north of $70,000.
If Ford, and all auto manufacturers want EVs to catch on, they need to price them appealingly. And relying on government discounts and rebates is foolhardy.
All in all, the F-150 Lightning was exciting. I’ve been to many reveals like this, and while I only watched it virtually there was a certain historic vibe to it. The big letdown was that the reveal itself lacked substance. Prepared speeches and sterile talking points were a bit of a letdown.
If Ford is going to go against Elon Musk, they need more showmanship and certainly more details based in consumer reality. Next week, I get a chance to ask some people from Ford more specific questions, and rest assured I’ll press them about things like range when towing.
What else would you like me to ask them? Leave me your comments below and I’ll include them in my upcoming story.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since the high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. He is also co-author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Also, Jimmy works in the social media marketing world for a Canadian automotive training aid manufacturing company. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, Twitter, at his special Ford F-150 coverage on Twitter and LinkedIn. You can read the most of Jimmy's stories by searching Torque News Ford for daily Ford vehicle report.