Ford F-150 Lightning First Engine: That’s Big

Ford took us to San Antonio, Texas, took us around town and out to a beautiful rustic winery to test the Ford F-150 Lightning in its natural environment. They say everything is bigger in Texas…

Ford calls the F-150 Lightning the smartest and most innovative F-150 Ford has ever built. It is easy to see why. Compared to the regular F-150, the Lightning has:

  • 10 kW smart power station on wheels, for more than three days of whole home backup, operation of a job site, or offset for one day super peaks in V2G application
  • Acceleration from 0 to 60 in the mid-to-low four-second range, beating even the Raptor by about a second
  • Quiet, low-vibration engine but 580 horsepower, 775 lb-ft. of torque – the most torque of any F-150 ever
  • Low center of gravity for better weather handling
  • Possibility to charge another electric vehicle
  • Mega Power Frunk, which has a capacity of 400 liters and 400 pounds of payload. Lockable and has internal plugs to keep tools charged
  • Just shy of the ICE’s maximum: a 2,235-pound payload and 10,000-pound towing capacity but the Lightning pull in such a way that you almost instantly forget you’re towing

The only area where the Lightning falls short of the gasoline F-150 is a range with a base length of 230 miles and 300 to 320 miles of extended range. The Lightning is also a much heavier vehicle due to its 6,500-pound batteries, which is 35% more than the gas-powered F-150. why? This 1,800-pound battery has a lot to do with it.

Approaching F-150 Lightning

My flight was delayed so I missed the introductory meeting and came down late for our flight around San Antonio. This meant I got a little more traffic than the other group, which included our video producer Miles, who I planned to join throughout the trip.

Getting the F-150 is a real big step forward. All the models we drove included a trigger pad (the base Pro models don’t), which was definitely appreciated by my 48-year-old knees. When you climb into the driver’s seat, you will notice the spacious and spacious cabin. The area that is the armrest of a regular car can be opened to create a workspace when the transmission is folded down. It’s the size of a small desk between the driver and passenger seat. This would make a great mobile office, especially with all USB-C and 20 A (!!) 110V sockets available on the dashboard.

This means that the F-150 is spacious on the inside. Anecdotally, where on most vehicles I can reach the passenger door from the driver’s seat, my bag fell from the “office” into the passenger feet area. In most vehicles I’ll be able to get to it, but on the F-150 I had to stop, disengage, and get out of my seat to get my bag.

All this means is that this is a massive vehicle and feels like a road vehicle. You’re a little taller, and at that height and the sheer width of this thing, it looks like you’re going to hit the curb or oncoming traffic, even if you’re only a few inches away.

Ford F-150 Lightning Ride

You can operate the F-150 Lightning like many vehicles, with the power button – then simply switch to “Drive”. This is where the similarities with conventional F-150s end. With just a whisper, the F-150 slams forward as you cruise with the agility of a sports car. That’s a whopping 6500 lbs. The car now looks as nimble as the sedans with a low center of gravity. On the highway and want to pass a car traveling at 60 mph? Acceleration from 60 to 80 mph is almost as impressive as four seconds from 0-60.

The frame is still a structure, and things like navigating a tight building area or parking *gasp* are still noisy. But once you’re out on the open road, Lightning feels impressive.

Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford F-150 Blue Cruise does not require manual hold

Unlike the self-driving Tesla and Rivian (or even the Ford Mustang Mach-E), the Ford F-150 Blue Cruise doesn’t require you to hold the steering wheel while “driving the car itself.” This is because to the right of the steering wheel on the dashboard is an eye-tracking sensor that ensures your eyes stay on the road.

On our trip, we drove nearly 25 miles and nearly half an hour on a busy highway during rush hour without interference. Only when the lines on the road were broken up by a construction zone did we have to step in.

The Blue Cruise sensor is not tampered with. When you look out the side window or on your lap for your iPhone for more than a second or two, you’ll get loud audible warnings. Even when looking at the instrument cluster for a very long time, it calls out for loud beeps and dash warnings.

It also doesn’t do fancy things like navigate or even change lanes. It’s a simple yet very effective cruise control system with lane-keeping in mind. But that in itself is a huge bonus for flights. It’s clear that Ford is working on a Blue Cruise and could have more navigation options in the future.

As it stands now, the experience from the reviewer’s point of view is similar to that of a passenger. Boring. You’re just watching out the window with your hand in your lap on the highway. Great for consumers and bad for people who love to drive.

F-150 High Efficiency

The F-150’s form factor, which outwardly resembles gas or electric, doesn’t result in terribly low energy use. It’s big, heavy, and not aerodynamic at all. But Ford has slightly improved the aerodynamics of the Lightning with a flat front grill that no longer requires cooling.

Perhaps one of the biggest ways to conserve energy is with regenerative braking, which can be tuned from almost nothing to driving a single pedal. Naturally, as a person with electric cars, I was rejuvenating aggressively, thus being able to convert that kinetic energy back into storage for the battery. This also reduces brake wear, dust, and replacements.

If you look at the EPA’s chart below, the Lightning is three to four times cheaper to go 25 miles than its F-150 ICE counterpart. It will save approximately $11,000 in fuel costs every five years on average. The Lightning actually costs about half the cost of the much smaller Ford Maverick Hybrid per mile. Fleet owners have to drool at a base Ford Pro model of $39,999 with a $7,500 federal tax credit.

Ford F-150 Lightning

What may be even more impressive here is that the larger F-150 is as effective as the smaller Rivian R1T EV with a similar battery range and size. Sure, Rivian is more than a second faster than the line. Somehow the smaller Rivian also weighs around 200 lbs. More than the F-150 Lightning.

Storage, swipe and more

Ford F-150 Towing Lightning

The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling car in the United States for decades. why? Because of its usefulness and value. Lightning takes the best utility vehicle in the world and improves this service in various ways. Besides adding a 400lb power lockable storage bin and a whopping 400L of space, it’s also a power station on wheels that can quietly and inexpensively power a home or power the job site for days.

The Airstream took us around town for a half hour drive, and I honestly forgot I was towing after a few minutes. Ford has plenty of nifty towing features, including a tool to make reversing with a trailer easier. Interestingly, you can park an Airstream in the woods and run it from an F-150 battery for a week or more. You can also charge the electric boat (or any EV) others have been riding.

Ford F-150 Towing Lightning

Take Electric:

The F-150 Lightning is a big deal for a lot of reasons. First, it’s a big vehicle and probably one of the largest electric consumer cars if you don’t count the Hummers GMC 1000 or something. And it is not only electric, but better and more convincing in almost all respects.

But range is also a big problem. Darren Palmer, president of Ford Electrification, noted that although the Lightning had a different drivetrain, the cab was an “F-150 Scale” and Ford makes 8 million of these cabs annually. That brings the price down and allows for things like a $40K starting price with a 100kWh battery pack, something no other automaker has done or even come close to doing.

Ford has year-long reservations for the Lightning, and it appears that at every opportunity it has, CEO Jim Farley says it will double EV production. Even with all the production ramps, Ford has long sold Lightning cars in the next few years, at least until that model is finished in 2025.

TE1, the frame-based platform that powers the next generation of lighting, will be the basis for the EV Ranger and Bronco in the second half of this decade, not to mention EV Navigators and Expedition. That’s when Ford is EV first and old ICEs are pushed to the back of the piece.

I’ve said it before but as automakers transition to electric, they have to worry about the Osborne effect. The Lightning is so convincing that the idea of ​​buying a gas version of this car sounds a little crazy. At some point, Ford will run out of customers wanting to buy gas cars. I think Ford knows this is coming and is seeing the early signs of it after the 2022 Mustang MacBook S sale in April. Hopefully, CEO Farley has a few double-digit electrics in his back pocket.

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