2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Electrical Pickup: First Experience Report

It might be Ford’s most sudden product success, at the least primarily based on reservations – and it’s not even in manufacturing but. The ʼ22 Ford F-150 Lightning, for which deliveries are to start out this spring, has now had its reservations capped after they reached greater than 200,000 within the eight months after its Could 2021 unveiling.

That demand led to Ford’s September announcement of “Blue Oval Metropolis,” a brand new electric-truck meeting plant and battery manufacturing unit in Tennessee, plus twin battery vegetation in Kentucky.

Thus far, no automotive journalists have pushed an F-150 Lightning on open roads. Nonetheless, a tasting menu is healthier than no menu in any respect, so we jumped on the supply of a quick low-speed ride-along in an F-150 Lightning Professional, the work-truck mannequin that can come off the strains first (pictured, beneath).

Our experience, at speeds as much as 20 mph (32 km/h), took us alongside packed grime and gravel roads between plots of grapevines in neat rows, up into the hillside vineyards of the Dutton Ranch in Sebastopol, CA. It was one a part of a two-day media introduction to the Ford Professional suite of software program and companies that the corporate expects to account for billions of {dollars} of income by mid-decade.

The Professional model of the F-150 Lightning will embody these Ford Professional companies, constantly transmitting information on location, driving patterns, battery cost and numerous different info to the cloud. Fleet managers can entry the information and, as they add battery-electric autos to their fleets, use Ford Professional Intelligence to handle and schedule charging on the depot, at public charging websites and even at drivers’ properties in the event that they take a piece car in a single day.

John Voelcker

Visually, Each Bit an F-150

Not like the ʼ24 Chevrolet Silverado BEV that’s to hit showrooms later subsequent yr, the electrical Lightning pickup truck is immediately identifiable as a member of the F-150 household. Ford has persistently mentioned lots of its long-term truck consumers have been open to electrical powertrains, however they demanded the truck “appear to be an F-Collection” and never be “bizarre.”

Whereas solely the cab and the within of the pickup mattress are shared with gasoline or diesel F-150s, that enables all present upfit tools to drop in with out modifications to any mounting factors. The Lightning’s smoother sheet steel and lack of a grille register visually as only a totally different mannequin of the prevailing truck. Mission achieved on that entrance.

Inside, the Lightning Professional cabin is extra just like its gasoline equal than is the retail electrical F-150 (pictured, beneath). Not like the retail car’s 15.5-in. (39-cm) portrait-style middle touchscreen show, the Lightning Professional has the 12-in. (30-cm) panorama touchscreen discovered on higher-end F-150 gasoline vehicles – with added icons reflecting the electrical drive – and the sturdy laborious plastics of any work truck.

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Smoother Experience, Quieter

Climbing up rutted winery trails, it’s instantly clear the experience of the electrical F-150 is healthier than that of the gasoline mannequin. The Lightning is the first-ever F-150 with unbiased rear suspension, and with the added weight of the battery pack – roughly 150 kWh, although Ford hasn’t given a exact capability – the electrical truck handles potholes, uneven ridges and different irregularities with out the crashing experience of a live-axle pickup.

It’s additionally remarkably quiet. Ford didn’t have a comparable gasoline F-150 Professional onsite, however the electrical pickup’s loudest noise as much as about 20 mph was the pedestrian-alert sound. The few seconds we spent at larger speeds confirmed how quiet an electrical work truck could be.

Tight Turning Circle, Digital Locker

Navigating the tight curves between the plots was a great way for Ford to indicate off the F-150 Lightning’s tight turning radius of 24 ft. (7.3 m) (in opposition to the 20.4 to 26.5 ft. [6.2 to 8.1 m] of gasoline variations, relying on mannequin). The electrical truck has virtually precisely 50-50 weight distribution, so the rear wheels didn’t lose traction even with none load within the mattress.

Within the tightest of turns, as a result of we climbed to the highest of the hill with the truck in Off-Highway mode, the within rear wheel skidded on the gravel. That’s the “digital locking axle” programmed into the traction-control software program, in response to Jasen Turnbull, the Lightning’s advertising supervisor. In Regular drive mode, the driving force can select to activate the locker, but it surely’s in any other case off.

All too shortly, our 5-minute experience was over, however from this minimal expertise, it appears secure to counsel the Ford F-150 Lightning ought to show able to the sorts of truck duties – as much as 10,000 lbs. (4,536 kg) of towing, as we heard a number of instances – that truck consumers anticipate. We stay up for a extra complete take a look at drive.

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