Ford has taken orders for the upcoming 2022 F-150 Lightning and plans to start production of the first models to be released in the spring of this year. Potential buyers placed their reservations months ago and now eagerly await further news about the delivery of their shiny new EV trucks. In celebration of the newest member of the F-150 family, we thought it would be fun to share a list of the most innovative features buyers can expect to discover when the freshly minted Lightning trucks arrive at their local Ford dealership.
1. Ford Intelligent Backup Power
Some buyers have already gotten the pleasure of enjoying the Pro-Power Onboard generator if they purchased a hybrid F-150, a feature that can deliver up to 7.2 kW of power for use anywhere you care to go. That’s a lot of juice to supply, enough for a jackhammer to be run all day long if you like. While the new 2022 Lightning will offer an even more powerful generator to supply up to 9.6 kW of power, that’s not its coolest trick. Buyers who install Ford’s 80-amp home charging station can power not just a job site but their entire home for three days. In fact, Ford states on their website that, with frugal use, the Lightning can potentially power your home in an outage for as long as ten days.
2. Intelligent Software
Forget having to visit the service center of your Ford dealership when the infotainment system needs to update its software. Now, the 2022 Lightning will update itself. Automatic updates will keep the system evolving as soon as the updates are released from the manufacturer, and the onboard systems actually learn from the way you interact with them. That means the system keeps track of your favorite routes, times you tend to travel, places you visit, what temperature you like the cabin, and even how loud you play your music. All those habits are recorded, and the system then responds by preparing your navigation without you having to ask, turning on your favorite music station when you usually listen or setting vehicle controls the way you like. Welcome to the future.
3. Front Trunk
Without a gas-powered engine under the hood, the 2022 Lightning can use the extra space for cargo storage. Thus, when you buy a Ford Lightning, you get a nifty front trunk. Up to 14.5 cubic feet of cargo space is available, and it has a small chamber below the load floor that can act as a cooler. It even has a drain. Cargo management accessories like hooks for hanging bags, a cargo net, and sensible dividers can make excellent use of the space, which can hold up to 400 pounds of goodies. If you opt for one of the trims that include Pro-Power Onboard, you get up to 11 outlets scattered to different locations of the truck, including the “frunk.” Imagine the tailgate parties that can be had with a truck that has outlets for crockpots, griddles, a refrigerator…and then you can be everyone’s best friend when you let them all charge their phones.
Maybe hands-free driving isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, but it sure is cool. BlueCruise is a hands-free, semi-autonomous driving feature that allows the driver to set the cruise speed, and then you can put your hands in your lap. One drawback of BlueCruise is that you do still have to keep your attention on the road or else it shuts down, but not having to keep your arms out straight for hours at a time could be refreshing. Highway driving is rarely engaging like back roads or trails, so letting the system take over for you may be a welcome relief. At the moment, Ford says the feature only works on designated roads, but knowing your truck can steer and maintain variable speeds on the highway is science fiction becoming science fact. And those over-the-air updates will add new roads as soon as Ford provides them.
5. Less Expensive Maintenance
This may not be as alluring as a generator that can power your whole house, but it’s a reason to get excited. EVs are known for having fewer moving parts, and fewer moving parts means fewer things to repair or replace. You will have to stay on top of tire wear or damage to the suspension from rough use, but most of the systems that power the Lightning are seated in small boxes over the axles. Fewer parts to break means less expense over time to maintain them. Even the brake systems will require less maintenance since regenerative braking functions differently than the typical rotor-based brake systems of gas-powered trucks.
6. Intelligent Range
On-board systems are capable of estimating how much driving range you’ll get when you take certain routes, and its accuracy could prove to be interesting as it takes into account the topography, weather conditions, and additional weight that will affect the driving range. Using this feature, you can also find charging stations on your route if you need them, and it calculates for trailers, too. If you’re towing a trailer up a hill with four passengers in the cab, that will use more battery power than driving alone on a flat highway without a trailer. Hence, the intelligence of the system, and Ford has that handy on-board scale feature to estimate trailer weight, too.
7. Independent Rear Suspension
Having an independent rear suspension on a truck will change everything. It means less of that bouncy, jarring ride in the cab that typically results from the heavier springs and more muscular suspension built to handle big loads. Thanks to the use of two electric motors, each axle is powered independently. This makes it possible to reduce the unsprung weight placed on each axle and lets the wheels move more freely and independently of each other. When one wheel hits a pothole, the rest of the wheels don’t have to jump. The result? Better ride quality without having to use adaptive dampers.
8. Enhanced Zone Lighting
Gas-powered F-150 models have the option of adding zone lighting to the exterior of the truck, but the Lightning is taking that feature farther. When you go on a camping trip or have to work past dark, the Lightning has the capability to be lit in a full 360-degree circle surrounding the truck. Rather than just settling for headlights, puddle lights, and a cargo bed light, LED lights are placed in locations all around the truck, so you don’t have to worry about using a flashlight when you’re working in close proximity to the vehicle.
One exciting side effect of electric power is the capability for speed. When you hit the accelerator, the Lightning will take off with instant torque. Reports of zero to 60 times in the 4.5-second range are touted for the 2022 Lightning, which beats most vehicles on the road today. Even some sports cars don’t have that kind of quickness, so it will be interesting to see how driving habits are affected by the capability of electric vehicles in general. Good thing most EVs come with features like adaptive cruise control—it might save some drivers from getting speeding tickets.
10. Fast Facts
When the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning hits dealerships, buyers of trucks with the extended range battery will be able to tow up to 10,000 pounds. Standard range batteries will be able to tow 7,700 pounds, and charging can take place either at home or on the road. Level 2 charging at home can add up to 30 miles of driving range per hour, and the standard range battery allows up to 230 miles of total range. Bumping up to the extended range battery gives up to 300 miles of range. Four trims are available, though the first trucks to come off the line will be the First Edition models.