The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is already making waves for being the first full-size, light-duty pickup truck to go fully electric. While we know that the powertrain does away with the combustion engine, what you probably didn’t know was that there are a handful of other features that help redefine what you can expect from this reinvented take on the F-150. While some people may not require much convincing to race to a Ford Lightning dealership, for the people who aren’t quite convinced that the electric isn’t anything more than a novelty, here’s a list of some of its unexpected highlights.
#7 – Power Frunk
The electric motors for the F-150 Lightning are located in the frame under the body. With the front of the truck no longer occupied with mechanical mechanisms, it means it’s free to be used as a trunk. Ford is advertising this reinforced, empty space as a “Mega Power Frunk.” It can be used for a number of purposes, some of which might surprise you.
The 14.1-cubic feet of empty space can store just about anything you want to take with you – it is even capable of housing up to 400 pounds worth of payload. If you have tools or sports equipment you want to keep safe or just need a bit more room for cargo, the frunk is sure to come in handy. This is in addition to a fully functional rear bed. So you get two spaces for storage purposes.
#6 – All-Digital Cluster
Most full-size pickup trucks come with a mix of analog and digital instrument clusters. There’s usually a fundamental old-school appeal to the classic dial and gauges of a physical cluster sitting in front of the driver. That’s gone now with the Lightning. Although in some ways it’s not too unexpected only because the 2021 Ford F-150 also adopted a full digital cluster, but now it’s not just a novelty; it’s the standard.
The digital cluster for the F-150 Lightning differs slightly from the display in the standard F-150, which still retained some similarities to the traditional analog gauges. The new cluster is part of a 12-inch display that not only shows the telemetrics but also highlights the status and positioning of the Lightning with a model display of the truck. For some tech enthusiasts, this may not seem like much of a surprise, but for those who are used to certain standard features from the F-150, it might come as a shock to see the F-150 fully embrace its new electric personality with a fully electronic instrument cluster.
#5 – 15.5-Inch Touchscreen
As if the digital cluster wasn’t shocking enough, maybe the inclusion of a 15.5-inch touchscreen will get your attention. The optional 12-inch touchscreen that the 2021 model year F-150 sported seemed like a big enough upgrade over the 8-inch touchscreen found in the previous model year of Ford’s most popular truck. But 12-inches is now old news, and the automaker has opted for an absolutely massive 15.5-inch touchscreen for the F-150.
The upgrade isn’t just about giving you more screen space to touch, but also more options and vehicle configuration settings to alter as well. One of the new features of the larger touchscreen is that you can now access more trailering controls straight from the center console. Some of these controls include trailer view, truck view, and trailer assistance, all on the same screen at the same time. So it’s both more screen real estate and more features to use. It’s a win-win.
#4 – 9.6 Kilowatts Of Power via 11 Outlets
With four onboard 120-volt outlets located in the frunk, four in the bed, and two in the cabin, the Lightning is essentially a mobile power generator all on its own. An extra 240-volt outlet is also located in the bed, bringing the total to 11 outlets. This is in addition to two USB outlets consisting of a USB-C and USB-A port. In total, up to 9.6 kilowatts of power can be supplied.
While there are fewer outlets in the Lightning than the 2021 F-150, the fact it can provide up to 9.6-kilowatts of power is a significant upgrade over the 2021 model year’s top-end output of 7.2 kilowatts, which in turn was a pretty big upgrade over the 2.4-kilowatt standard. This makes the Lightning an extremely versatile truck for keeping items powered during camping trips or vacations where traditional lighting isn’t available. The truck can also be used to help power up a fellow electric vehicle that needs a little bit of juice to get to the next charge station.
#3 – Mobile Backup Power Supply
Ford F-150s may have been used before as generators for small electric devices or portable electronics like smartphones, laptops, and some power tools. But with the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning, the power that it can provide is enough to keep a small house running. That’s not even hyperbole. The pitch from Ford is that you can keep a full-size house powered up from the Lightning for up to three days. If you cautiously ration the power from a fully charged Lightning, they claim you can get up to 10-days of power out of the truck.
In order to achieve the figures touted by Ford, you will need the extended-range battery installed in the Lightning, and it’s expected that you’re using less than 30 kWh a day. With the Ford Intelligent Backup Power, it’s also possible to have the home automatically start drawing power from the truck if the local grid goes down. It could end up being super helpful during stormy seasons or in areas where power outages are frequent.
#2 – Over-the-Air Upgrades via Software Updates
People might see this as useful or scary (or maybe a little bit of both). But how do you feel about upgrading the performance of your vehicle with a software update? Well, that’s the future we face with the 2022 Ford Lightning. I’m sure some Tesla owners are probably scoffing at the idea of upgrading a Ford’s performance over-the-air since it’s a common feature for those vehicles. But it doesn’t detract from the fact that Ford Lightnings will be able to receive upgrades via over-the-air software updates.
The extent of the upgrades remains to be seen, but utilizing the FordPass Connect system, you’ll be able to keep your Lightning up to date with the latest features. The upgrades will apply both to the cabin and to the truck’s actual performance, battery efficiency, and more. If you’re not keen on having your truck’s performance altered by the company remotely, you can always disable the feature and stick with the factory settings.
#1 – BlueCruise
One of the big new selling points for a lot of all-electric vehicles is hands-free driving. Again, this is one of those features that may or may not appeal to everyone, but it’s certainly something you probably didn’t expect to see as a feature of an F-150 light-duty pickup truck anytime soon. For those of you who have no idea what BlueCruise is, it’s among the most advanced hands-free driving systems out there.
The BlueCruise feature makes use of multiple cameras and sensors to automatically travel along 100,000 miles worth of “Blue Zones” spread across North America. It’s a bold new option for the F-150 that I’m sure most people didn’t see coming. While it may seem crazy, hands-free driving is a great way to relax on long drives.