Quick Spin: 2022 Ford Lightning

quick spin 2022 ford lightning

Over the past two months, I’ve had two chances to take a Ford Lightning for a quick spin — once around the scenic village of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin (which you probably know as the home of the famed Road America racetrack) — and once around the block in a part of Chicago dotted with strip malls.

I wasn’t going to write about my experience, because these short drives aren’t as informative as a full day of driving on a press trip or a week-long press loan, and because our own Matt Guy had covered the first-drive event for us. I initially thought of these quick trips as a way to learn about the truck on background.

For those unfamiliar, I don’t write up every vehicle I test. Sometimes, I consider the drive to simply be providing background information. I might not review, say, a BMW X3, but I will know it drives, which is useful when comparing it to a competitor I am writing about. That’s just one example.

The more I mulled it over, however, the more I realized I had some thoughts on the Lightning, thoughts that merited sharing.

Still, this won’t be a deep dive — I got maybe 35-40 minutes of wheel time, combined. There will be no fast-facts box. I do have at least one Lightning loan scheduled, so look for a full review down the road.

I drove a Platinum with the extended-range battery both times — I didn’t check the VIN, but I think it was the same truck. The estimated horsepower on this model is 563 and peak torque is 775 lb-ft from the front and rear traverse-mounted dual electric motors. Range is 300 miles.

What I find most interesting about the Lightning is how much like a traditional F-150 it is, despite the electric powertrain and all the other Lightning-only features Ford likes to advertise. Yes, the truck has some styling cues that differentiate it from ICE-powered F-150s. But the overall profile still screams “F-150.”

Lightning’s driving experience is obviously different, of course. There’s no engine sound — just the silence one associates with EVs. One-pedal driving can be activated if you so choose. And the torque is instant.

The one-pedal driving experience kept me from having to use the brakes too much — I mostly only needed to apply the binders when traffic in front of me came to a sudden stop. Pay attention to the road ahead, be aware of yellow lights, and you’ll be able to coast down to a stop with the one-pedal action.

The Lightning rides well enough on good pavement, feeling not too different than any other full-size truck with an unladen bed. The steering does feel distant at times while feeling nicely weighted at others.

This truck’s greatest tricks have little to do with driving, though. You know about the front trunk (“frunk”), the onboard chargers that can power tools (or other EVs), and even the ability to power your home. But you might not know that the truck can estimate your payload size to help you adjust your driving style — and to make sure the range estimate is accurate.

There’s a useful space in the frunk for cooling beverages — I took note as someone who likes to tailgate at concerts — or for luggage or two golf bags. Speaking of tailgating, the presence of electrical outlets (4) and USB ports (2) in the frunk make the Lightning an intriguing choice for your next SEC football game.

I also liked that Ford’s Sync system can show you a breakdown of energy that was used on your last trip. My second spin came on a very hot day, and it was interesting to see how much the climate control (and ambient temperature) were part of the energy usage.

More wheel time is needed before I can render a verdict on the Lightning, but the more time I spend around the truck, the more curious I am to see what a full loan will reveal. It’s the most curious I’ve been about a Ford since — last year, when I was intrigued to drive both the Bronco and Maverick.

The EV truck revolution is upon us. I can’t wait to learn more about Ford’s part in it.

[Images: Ford, © 2022 Tim Healey/TTAC]

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3 of 64 comments
  • DenverMike DenverMike on Jun 22, 2022

    Once the private sector, retail, restaurants, even gas stations see demand rise, and that a $25 recharge cost them under $2, with outlets that are just glorified lamp posts, it'll be all over.

  • PJmacgee PJmacgee on Jun 28, 2022

    "I mostly only needed to apply the binders when traffic in front of me came to a sudden stop" I'd be surprised if the "binders" got used at all, even then. Unless you're engaging the anti-lock systems in an emergency stop, or hurdling down a mountain at 100% battery charge - basically all "braking" is energy capture in an EV. (my EV with 77k miles has completely unused pads and rotors, despite plenty of spirited driving and many sets of tires)

    • SPPPP SPPPP on Jul 20, 2022

      "my EV with 77k miles has completely unused pads and rotors, despite plenty of spirited driving and many sets of tires"

      So, have you disassembled and lubricated them to make sure they will actually move when needed in an emergency? This looks to be necessary for EV drivers in climates where rust occurs. (This is an honest question - Tesla fanboys, don't play the "FUD" card.)

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.