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EV Motoring: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning - Review by Larry Nutson +VIDEO

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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Review

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

A common question asked by many folk when I mention I’ve driven a new battery-powered electric vehicle is: How does it drive?

My response is, consistently, that it drives very well like every new vehicle coming onto the market today. It can accurately be said: Today, there are no bad cars—or trucks!

The new electric Ford F-150 Lightning full-size pickup can do what every Ford F-150 full-size pickup can do, and then some. The Lightning is very capable; it’s an F-150 without a tailpipe. To be called an F-150, the Lightning must be able to do what a full-size pickup must do.

The F-150 Lightning has 4-doors. It seats five. It can carry up to 2,000 lbs. It can tow up to 10,000 lbs. It has four-wheel drive.

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The cargo bed is 67.1 inches long with 52.8 cu.ft. of space. Since there is no internal combustion engine (ICE) under the hood, the Lightning has a front trunk with 14.1 cu.ft. of volume. Y es, it holds two sets of golf clubs. But for those of you with a young family, it holds all those baby/toddler things, such as a stroller, pack ‘n play, foldable high chair, a cooler full of snacks and so on.

With the standard-range battery it develops 426-horsepower and has an EPA-estimated driving range of 230 miles on a 100% fully charged battery. When equipped with the extended-range battery it develops 563-horespower and has an EPA-estimated driving range of 300 miles.

Because electric motors develop a lot of torque at low motor RPM, BEVs can accelerate quickly. Perhaps too quickly for the average driver. In any case, the Lightning can get to 60 mph from stop in a bit over 4 seconds. That’s race-car quick.

The Lightning is offered in Pro, XLT, Lariat and Platinum trims. Prices start around $40,000 and can go up into the $90,000 range. Lightning does qualify for the $7,500 Federal tax credit for EVs.

On the invite of Ford, I drove the new F-150 for about 30 minutes around the streets of Chicago. Since there is no ICE under the hood it is quiet. I love this about BEVs. Both less noise in the cabin and less noise in the neighborhoods. Huzzah!

Ten years ago the big concern with BEVs was driving range. The first BEV I ever drove had a driving range of 60 miles! Today we're up to 300 miles and more.

Charging, or recharging, has become the bigger concern. The Lightning can be recharged from 15% to 100% battery charge using Ford’s Level 2 240-volt 80-amp charger in 8 to 10 hours. That’s overnight while parked at your workplace or home garage. For on-the-road charging, using a Level 3 150kW DC-fast charger (DCFC) you’ll need between 41 and 44 minutes to take the battery from 15% to 80% charge.

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The ability for everyone who wants to drive a BEV to charge the battery is an issue for many. U.S. Bureau of the Census American Housing Survey says 63% of all occupied housing units have a garage or carport. Garages and carports often have access to electricity for parked vehicles to allow for the installation of a Level 2 charger. But that leaves 37% of American households with no garage or carport. Industry leaders have to leap a massive hurdle to penetrate the white space of vehicle owners who don’t park in their garages and struggle to find viable charging options.

The situation is especially acute for dense communities where BEV owners may live in apartment or condominium complexes--a multi-unit dwelling or MUD, and are not able to install home chargers in a garage. Extension cords running from apartment building windows to street parking (over sidewalks) in urban areas isn't sustainable. European cities such as Rome and Paris have many public, curb-side chargers near street corners. America needs this. The U.S. Department of Energy is working with engineering consultants to develop viable options for MUD charging.

All in all, the F-150 Lightning is quite nice. The cabin is very comfortable and quiet. The center-mounted tablet-like touch screen does everything except make coffee. Although, you can get guidance to a local barista. If the cabin is too quiet for you, you can activate the simulated sound of an engine. Ford was smart to provide an on/off for this feature. I prefer it off.

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Lastly, I find it curious that every BEV is being compared to every BEV. If you need a pickup then buy a pickup. If not, using Ford as an example, get a Mustang Mach-e if that meets your wants and needs.

Happy motoring!

© 2022 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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