While Tesla and newcomers like Rivian have dominated the electric vehicle news lately, it’s time for America’s best-selling pickup to shine. We’re talking about the F-150 Lightning, Ford’s new all-electric truck.
Ford took a familiar and safe approach to the design rather than go all futuristic like the Tesla Cybertruck, but the truck is still packed full of fancy features. The F-150 Lightning can go over 300 miles on a single charge and packs 775 ft-lb of torque. That’s more than any previous F-150.
The Lightning can go from 0-60 in just over four seconds, carry more than 2,200 lbs payloads in the back, or tow upwards of 10,000 lbs. It has all the makings of a modern electric vehicle, but it’s also a truck with real-world features that truck owners want and need. We’re talking about hitch assist, onboard scales to read a payload, or running power tools from AC outlets in the bed.
Mega Power Frunk (Front Trunk)
Yes, Ford is calling the front trunk the “Mega Power Frunk,” and with good reason. With no engine up front, the hood opens up to a frunk that features 400 liters of space or enough to carry two golf club bags, camping gear, suitcases, and more. It’s a massive storage space for all your gear without exposing it to the outside elements in the truck bed.
According to Ford, the frunk can safely hold upwards of 400 lbs worth of gear, bags, or tools. Plus, the frunk has four built-in AC wall outlets and two USB ports to keep things powered up. And if you’re worried about theft, there are locks included to ensure everything stays safe.
The Frunk is lined with an all-weather floor mat and a drain hole, has built-in grocery hooks and strap tie-down points, LED lighting, and more. Basically, you can have a tailgate party in the front or the back. So, plug in an electric grill or power tools and do what you do best.
Pro Trailer Backup Assist
Electric vehicles are fast and fun, but many truck owners need usability features, too. With Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist, hooking up and backing up a trailer will be the easiest part of your camping trip and less frustrating when you’re trying to haul something. That’s because the truck will do it for you.
Ford promises its smart truck will use all the onboard cameras to see, then automatically control the steering wheel, throttle, brake, and more to make hitching or backing up a trailer a breeze. You turn a nob which direction and how sharp of a turn you want while backing up to put your boat in the water, and the system will do the rest. You’ll look like a pro.
The company even added a new smart hitch feature where the truck can measure the tongue weight of a trailer and help owners with weight distribution. Plus, since EVs are giant computers, these features can receive updates and improvements over time.
Perhaps one of the most exciting features of the Ford F-150 Lightning is bi-directional charging. It’s something we’re starting to see on more EVs, and that’s because it lets you tap into the battery power inside your truck.
With bi-directional charging and what Ford calls “Pro Power Onboard,” owners can use the massive 9.6kW battery inside the truck to charge another electric vehicle. Instead of only receiving power, it can send it out, too.
That big battery will let you power various electronics, including power tools, camping gear, compressors, a TV, refrigerator, lights, and more. In fact, there are 11 standard 120/240-volt AC outlets located throughout the truck. I wish my garage had that many outlets.
The AC outlets in the frunk can access just under 3kW of the battery, while those in the truck bed have even more power for the biggest jobs.
The F-150 Lightning Can Power Your Home
Bi-directional charging in the Lightning is great for powering tools or charging another EV, but there’s one other massive advantage. The F-150 Lightning can power your home in an emergency or power outage and act as a silent generator. The company calls this Ford Intelligent Backup Power.
Not only that, but the system you’ll need at home to accept all that battery power is more affordable than expected. The base truck model doesn’t come with the Ford Charge Station Pro, which you’ll need, but the more expensive trims all come with it included.
Thanks to the massive battery cells inside the truck and bi-directional charging, once an owner installs the 80-amp Charge Station Pro and the whole system, the vehicle can easily power your house.
Once the power goes out, the system will automatically disconnect it from the grid, and you’ll be able to access the sizeable F-150 Lightning battery. For example, the average home uses around 25 kWh of power a day, meaning the F-150 Lightning and its 98 kWh battery can power your entire home for anywhere from 3-10 days. Obviously, the less you use big appliances, the longer it can keep the lights on.
For those unaware, hands-free driving and self-driving modes are all the rage right now. And while several vehicles have lane-assist and things of that nature, going completely hands-free is quickly becoming a mainstream feature. Tesla’s still busy making its full self-driving option a reality, but they’re not the only ones.
The Ford F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E are the first EVs capable of Ford’s BlueCruise technology. When owners opt for the Co-Pilot360 Active 2.0 software, they can enjoy hands-free driving experiences. Unfortunately, this is still a work in progress and only available on select roads, regions, or states, but that’ll expand over time.
With BlueCruise, the F-150 Lightning uses an advanced camera and radar technology to make driving easier. This includes lane assist, varying speeds, and even stop-and-go traffic. The truck can even recognize speed street signs to ensure you’re obeying traffic laws. And just like Tesla and other EVs, Ford will continue to improve and upgrade this technology over time. Like your smartphone, the F-150 Lightning can get software updates and advancements.
The truck also takes advantage of Ford’s new Sync 4A infotainment system. This will deliver entertainment, navigation, Android Auto, CarPlay, and more on the large 15.5-inch touchscreen center console display.
Onboard Scales for Payload Weight
This next Ford F-150 Lightning feature is one that regular truck people will love. Ford knows truck owners want to haul stuff in the bed, whether that’s toys, tools, or a home renovation project. The F-150 Lightning has onboard scales to manage payload weights, which can help you balance the weight evenly and ensure you don’t overload the truck.
As we said earlier, the F-150 Lightning can carry upwards of 2,200 lbs of rocks, dirt, or whatever you need in the truck’s bed. That added weight means you’ll likely get less driving range from a full battery. The onboard scale system then utilizes an intelligent range system to detect the additional weight and adjust the expected driving range on the fly.
You can haul tons of stuff in the back of the truck while still having a good idea of when you’ll need to stop for a recharge.
Use Your Phone as a Key
And last but not least, we wanted to mention one other handy F-150 Lightning feature. That’s the “Phone As A Key” mode the company recently introduced on a few other vehicles. If you have the FordPass app, you don’t even need the key fob to get into the truck.
As long as your phone is in your pocket and connected, the vehicle recognizes such and will automatically unlock it. Just imagine walking up to your Ford F-150 lightning and opening the door without fumbling through your pockets. You can instantly start the car, then get navigation instructions and more with wireless Android Auto or CarPlay without getting out your phone or the key. Everything is fast, easy, and seamless.
These are just a few of the many exciting and useful features of Ford’s all-electric F-150. Then, just like a Tesla, we’re expecting the company to update and expand features or functionality over time.
The F-150 Lightning is a capable new truck with a lot to offer. The company has already sold out of pre-orders and reservations for 2022. However, Ford is committed to expanding production as fast as possible to meet the growing demand for its new vehicle.
Unfortunately, if you didn’t pre-order one already, you’ll likely be waiting until 2023 before getting your hands on one, but it’ll be worth the wait.