2022 Ford F-150 Lightning: World’s Best-Selling Vehicle Goes Electric
If you’re waiting for a sign confirming electric vehicles have gone mainstream, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning ends the wait. The F-150 has been the best-selling vehicle on the planet for over four decades, and when Ford opened the order banks for the all-electric Lightning version last year the automaker had to stop taking orders after 200,000 people signed up. So the electric vehicle revolution is no longer coming soon — it’s here.The enthusiastic response to the F-150 Lightning isn’t surprising when you consider how much it costs and the compelling specs for this new electric truck. The base F-150 Lightning Pro SR (standard range) offers 452 horsepower, 775 pound-feet of torque and 230 miles of range for $41,669, including a $1,695 destination charge. The mid-grade F-150 Lightning XLT ER (extended range) offers 580 hp, 775 lb-ft of torque and up to 320 miles of range for $54,669, including destination charge. Both prices do not include the $7,500 federal tax rebate or any state rebates (i.e. $2,500 in California).
That means for a post-tax-rebate price of between $35,000 and $48,000 you can buy a full-size truck with the highest torque figure ever offered on a Ford F-150, along with up to 10,000 pounds of towing capacity (7,700 for the standard range battery) and 2,235 pounds of payload capacity. And if you like your full-size trucks with performance car acceleration figures, the F-150 Lightning accelerates from zero-to-60 mph in either 5 seconds for the standard battery or mid 4 seconds for the big battery. It should be noted the top-line Platinum version of the F-150 Lightning ($92,669) is rated at 8,400 pounds max towing, 1,850 pounds max payload, and 300 miles of range, presumably due to that model’s increased curb weight, which Ford hasn’t confirmed but is estimated to be around 6,500 pounds.No! And that’s really the appeal here, beyond the electric truck’s impressive power, range and tow/haul figures, it’s clear Ford went above-and-beyond in designing an innovative truck with innovative features. The list of segment-first capabilities is long, and we’ll try to cover the most appealing items in this F-150 Lightning review. Items you might expect, like a standard dual-motor 4x4 drivetrain, electronic locking rear differential, multiple driving modes (Normal, Sport, Tow/Haul, and Off Road), a full-size spare under the bed, and up to 11 power outlets (including one 240-volt outlet) are bolstered by a long list of Lightning-specific features. Ranking the Ford F-150 Lightning’s list of innovative tech isn’t easy, but we’ll try:
Backup Power — lets the F-150 Lightning fully power your house for up to 3 days if/when the electric power grid goes down
Onboard Scales with Smart Hitch — provides real-time estimates of cargo weight, including the trailer tongue tow weight and “frunk” cargo weight
Mega Power Frunk — front trunk area with power-operated door, 400-pound weight capacity, four 120-volt power outlets and removable drain plugs
LED Zone Lighting — illuminates all four sides of the truck, including integrated LEDs in the running boards, to be able to work at night
BlueCruise hands-free driving — not unique to Lightning, but allows for truly hands-free driving for extended periods on approved highwaysAdditional truck-friendly features, not unique to Lightning, include Ford’s Pro Trailer Backup Assist tech, which makes backing up with a trailer easy through the use of an intuitive dial. There’s also an integrated trailer brake controller, a 360-degree camera, a trailer light check system to confirm all tailer lights are working, trailer reverse guidance, and the aforementioned OnBoard Scales with Smart Hitch tech. All of these items are included in the F-150 Lightning’s Max Trailer Tow package. Many of these technologies are connected to the FordPass app and can be utilized through your smartphone.
The F-150 Lightning introduces the F-Series’ first-ever independent rear suspension, which, combined with the truck’s instant torque and available Sport mode setting, resulted in responsive handling in and around the Texas hill country outside San Antonio where we road tested it. We’d have appreciated a bit more steering feel, with some progressive weighting off center, but given this vehicle’s role (it is a truck after all), curb weight (over 3 tons) and capabilities (it can two up to 10,000 pounds, remember), we can’t honestly complain, and would describe the Lightning as confident, even nimble...for a truck. Charging the Ford F-150 Lightning can be accomplished with a standard 110-volt outlet, though that could take days. A 150-kilowatt DC Fast Charging station can replenish the F-150 Lightning’s battery from 15% to 80% in as little as 44 minutes. But most 240-volt level 2 home chargers will need between 8 and 20 hours to charge the battery from 15% to 100%, depending on the charger’s amperage. Ford has its own 80-amp Charge Station Pro wall box for home use, which gets you that 8-hour charge time, and is included with all F-150 Lightnings with the extended range battery. However, at some point you’ll need to charge your F-150 Lightning beyond your property. In what can only be described as a brilliant move on Ford’s part, the company has built partnerships with all the major electric vehicle charging networks across the U.S. (ChargePoint, Electrify America and EVgo). As a result, if you sign up — just once — for Ford’s Blue Oval Charge Network through the mobile FordPass, you can use one of 70,000 electric charging plugs at one of 20,500 charging stations across the U.S. This includes 7,300 DC fast-charging plugs that take those 44 minutes to get the F-150 Lightning from 15% to 80% battery charge.Having this streamlined charging network option, versus trying to establish and manage multiple network accounts, is arguably a game-changer. But there remains the issue of range impact when using an electric truck like a truck. And Ford’s representatives admitted an F-150 Lightning towing 10,000 pounds is going to lose up to half its range, just as a gasoline-powered truck would. Where things get tricky is the Lightning’s 320-mile range, cut in half and needing between 44 minutes and more than 10 hours to “refill” versus an F-150 Hybrid with a 700-mile range (or 350 miles when towing 10,000 pounds) that needs 10 minutes to refill.But (possible) range concerns aside, the F-150 Lightning is a huge accomplishment, both for Ford and the industry as a whole. A $40,000 electric truck (before tax rebates) that offers the performance and technology included in even the base model is highly compelling. If its range and charging times line up with your needs, you won’t be disappointed in the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning’s performance, driving dynamics, ride quality, user interface, or feature list. Those are all fabulous.