Ford knew that in order to create an electric pickup truck, they needed to utilize a familiar platform and make it look like something they love and cherish.
A Victory & Reseda review of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
The policy of this website is to not call out certain other manufacturers when discussing one of its rivals. This covers both legacy and start-up companies.
However, there is a theme we must discuss here. There are a group of consumers who have plunked down deposits on certain new products to become one of the first to own one. Once their ride is set for delivery to that customer, they get a notification that another vehicle they ordered is about to head down the assembly line.
What do they eventually do? Trade in or sell the one they just took delivery of to take delivery of the other vehicle. This is not just exclusive to battery-electric pickup trucks, but of certain other “hot” vehicles in other classes.
Honestly, I do not endorse this practice. Choose one you want to own and stick to it!
In the meantime, let’s talk about the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning.
Ford knew that in order to create an electric pickup truck, they needed to utilize a familiar platform and make it look like something they love and cherish. Their ownership base is loyal, and loyalty is born from familiarity – even when there are elements that are new to them.
Starting with the familiar, the Lightning looks like any other F-150, right? It does, when you consider it has the profile of a Super Crew cab and a 5-1/2-foot bed – the only configuration available on the F-150 Lightning.
However, you start noticing the differences between regular F-150s and the Lightning. The grille that is more of a black piece of plastic bridging the two new LED headlamp units. This is crowned with a wide LED lighted trim piece framing the grille and headlamps. The two port doors on each side with the model badge – one is actually working. The taillight unit that spans the tailgate, bridging the two corner units.
Of course, one cannot forget the number Lightning-specific badges places all over the bed and tailgate. And, my Platinum tester’s 22-inch aerodynamically designed alloy wheels. Add the Atlas Blue paint job and you have one of the most beautiful non-off-road-ready half-ton full-size pickup trucks available today.
Interior-wise, you will find that there is a lot of design continuity between a Lightning Platinum and a regular one. The fold-down shifter, along with the armrest that folds over becoming a desk. The cushioned seatbacks up front are shared with the internal combustion engine F-150 Platinum. The entire shape and space of the cabin should be a very familiar one to anyone driving anything from a base XL model to a Raptor.
Then, you see the instrument cluster. This one has a cleaner screen – minimalist information focusing on what you need to know. You have state of charge, range, speed, and a readout for vehicle distance – and BlueCruise. More on that later.
On the center stack is a 15.5-inch touchscreen that is found on the Mustang Mach-E. It is driven by Ford’s SYNC 4A infotainment system and offers the same functionality as experienced in the electric pony. Sound is pumped through the B&O Unleashed Sound System equipped with 18 Bang & Olufsen speakers.
The benefits of design continuity is to ensure that the experience found on an F-150 Platinum is the same when you trade in your EcoBoost version in for a Lightning. The F-150 offers excellent cabin space, comfort, and visibility. These benchmarks remain exactly the same in the Lightning.
And, yet, the F-150 Lightning is one of the most practical vehicles of its kind in the world. For example, you’re taking three of your friends to the airport. Where do you stow their bags? In the bed? On their laps? Well…if you open up the frunk – normally where an internal combustion engine normally lives – you get 14.1 cubic feet of space. There is a little under-frunk compartment that you can stow the 110-volt charging unit in. Speaking of which, this F-150 Lightning has a couple of 110-voly outlets and a couple more USB-A ports where you can charge up a few things – such as phones and laptops.
This F-150 Lightning Platinum is equipped with a dual-motor driveline connected to an extended range battery. Each motor drives its own axle giving it an EV version of four-wheel drive. Some may argue that with a lack of a transfer case, you might as well call it all-wheel drive. There is a rear eLocking axle equipped on this tester and you can select Off-Road mode for better traction away from the tarmac.
All told, the battery capacity is 131 kilowatt-hours, although charging rate tops out at 150 kilowatts. The dual motor set-up is rated at 563 horsepower and 775 pound-feet of torque, both of which are quite substantial when you press the accelerator. The Platinum model has a maximum to rating of 8,500 pounds, although you can equip any other extended range battery F-150 Lightning up to a maximum rating of 10,000 pounds. The payload rating of this tester is just 1,480 pounds. However, you can equip a F-150 Lightning with a maximum payload of 1,800 pounds.
As for range, we were able to get up to 302 miles after a full charge. This brought up some questions I will explore towards the end of this review.
In the bed of my Platinum tester is another place to plug in your goodies. The Enhanced Pro Power Onboard system includes is a 240-volt outlet for heavier equipment. In all, there is 9.6 kilowatts of electric power available for both work and play. We did some testing of this power port in the bed – some of which will be seen in our upcoming video on this vehicle.
One question I got was whether the F-150 Lightning drove like a normal sedan or SUV. Let’s just call it closer to one than, say, a Raptor. I know…bad comparison – but let me explain.
The ride quality is a bit better than a regular F-150, thanks to a lower center of gravity with the placement of the battery. It also helps that the Lightning has independent suspension at all four corners, helping to soften the blow from rougher surfaces. It simply drives smooth as does an F-150 Platinum with an EcoBoost…or, rather, the PowerBoost hybrid driveline.
You will feel some roll and lean when doing evasive maneuvers. Yet, it feels a bit more controlled than a normal F-150. It’s hard to explain, but there are times when the Lightning handles like a regular F-150. You still have to remind yourself that it is built as a cab and box on a fully-boxed frame – just like an F-150.
This is the first chance I had to drive a vehicle with Ford’s BlueCruise. Working in concert with the adaptive cruise control, the front-facing cameras, lane centering, and Ford Co-Pilot 360 Active Pro systems, BlueCruise enables you to settle into a cruising speed and just let go of the wheel on preferably straighter sections of highway. It does work well in that scenario and follows the lanes quite well.
Steering is about the same as in any F-150. The turning radius is fine; however, tighter spots are somewhat of a challenge. On-center feel is simply better in the Lightning than in a normal F-150.
However, the brakes are much better in the Lightning. Pedal feel and response to the wheels are great. It does exhibit improved stops in normal and panic situations – I’m talking better than a regular F-150. You also the added bonus of toggling the Lightning for one-pedal driving. It may seem weird to use this on a half-ton full-size pickup truck, but once you get used to it, you might enjoy it.
As for pricing, my 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum tester is truly at the top of the range. The sticker price for this Atlas Blue example came to $93,509. The Lightning range is offered in four trim levels in only the Super Crew and 5-1/2-foot bed configuration, starting at $39,974.
I need to make one thing clear: I love this current generation of the Ford F-150. The improvements over the last model were tremendous in terms of interior quality, innovations, and overall driving experience. I specifically love the Raptor – no surprise to anyone reading this website.
However, the Lightning is far from a Raptor. It is in a completely different ecosystem. It is for the EV adopter looking to utilize a pickup truck to augment their lifestyle. Perhaps there are others who have been curious about EVs – including EV pickup trucks – but the takeaway I received through comments on our social channels, there are people who would rather pass on the Lightning and wait for their order on one with an internal combustion engine to arrive at their dealership. Said, but it is the nature of the pickup truck customer base. Maybe that might change?
If you are interested in an EV pickup truck, there are some caveats when considering one. If you live in a place or travel where DC Fast Charging is not as plentiful as it is in some other parts of this country, then you will have to do some math. A 300-mile range is fine, but an internal combustion engine version of a similar half-ton full-size pickup truck will have a longer range, more towing capacity, and refueling flexibility.
Here’s my advice to anyone holding any reservation on any electric pickup truck: Consider your needs, calculate the numbers, then decide which one you will live with for at least three years. Right now, it’s the Ford F-150 Lightning.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by the Ford Motor Company
All photos by Randy Stern, except otherwise noted