Exclusive Ford F-150 Lightning Winter Ride-Along Proves This Truck Is Ready for Every Season – Roadshow

Exclusive Ford F-150 Lightning Winter Ride-Along Proves This Truck Is Ready for Every Season – Roadshow

Ford’s upcoming F-150 Lighting sounds like a legitimately transformative product. This all-electric truck has respectable range, is surprisingly affordable in its base form and should offer all the features, ruggedness and capability F-Series customers expect. In fact, some 200,000 eager beavers have already plunked down money to reserve one.

And yes, you read that correctly, passenger seat timeFord wouldn’t let me climb behind the wheel when the truck was revealed last spring and I was barred from the captain’s chair again. Still, there is plenty you can glean from an extended ride-along.

For starters, the Lightning is a stable and planted pickup, even when driven in a way you’d never do on public roads.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Dances in the Snow

 

“So, everything [we’re] doing today, this truck is strictly production,” noted Dillon, which means owners will be able to switch traction and stability control off at the push of a button if they want to get squirrely.

“So, what we’re doing to change the response of the vehicle is strictly shifting the power from the front and the rear, to change how the vehicle is behaving,” explained Dillon, “[and] the heart of it is, these controls are active all the time.” Even from the passenger seat you can tell this truck’s electric drivetrain reacts immediately to inputs, since there are no camshaft phasers to deal with, ignition timing to adjust, turbo boost to manage or even a transmission.

The Lightning features a pair of three-phase, fixed-magnet AC electric motors, one at the front and another at the rear. This gives the truck up to 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque when fitted with the extended-range battery pack, which should be able to go up to 300 miles between charges. For particular gnarly situations, the Lightning also offers a locking rear differential.

Dillon’s demonstration illustrated how this all-electric truck responds in at-the-limit situations that customers hopefully won’t experience on the street — ’cause you shouldn’t drive recklessly on public roads. Naturally, engineers learned important lessons tuning the Mustang Mach-E’s all-wheel-drive system and applied those to this project to make sure the Lightning is smooth and intuitive.

The new Lightning should be ready for every kind of weather condition.

On-road performance

Driven more normally on a small, snowy road course, the Lightning feels exactly like a conventional F-150 — but better.

Bloch explained engineers were also able to deliver those improved road manners without impacting the truck’s payload or towing performance.

Indeed, this rig is remarkably car-like and extremely rigid, free of any rattles or jiggles. “I think you definitely feel the fact that the vehicle is a little heavier than a gas F-150 is today,” he acknowledged, “but that weight just feels very controlled and planted as you’re going around turns no matter what the surface is.”

Higher-trim versions of the Lightning come with a huge, 15.5-inch infotainment screen.

Cold-weather range anxiety

When asked how frosty conditions impact the Lightning’s performance, Bloch didn’t have a precise answer. “I think something that all automakers are going to struggle with is really publishing a value on that. “The really big thing that we’re focusing on is educating customers on how they can improve that,” Bloch added. He encourages drivers to plug into Level 2 chargers whenever possible to precondition the battery. Route planning on long trips is super important, too.

Trailering will also have a major impact on how far this all-electric truck can go between charges.

Remember, even though there are significant differences, the Lightning is still essentially an F-150. Starting with an existing vehicle instead of a clean-sheet design — like the Rivian R1T and GMC Hummer EV Pickup — comes with benefits and trade-offs.

Lightning strikes soon

“I personally am super excited to get these trucks out into customer hands,” Bloch said. “I think they’re absolutely going to love them.”

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