By on June 21, 2022

Ford

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.

Ford

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.

Ford

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.

Tim Healey/TTAC

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]

Become a TTAC insider. Get the latest news, features, TTAC takes, and everything else that gets to the truth about cars first by subscribing to our newsletter.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

62 Comments on “Quick Spin: 2022 Ford Lightning...”


  • avatar
    dal20402

    Does the range calculation really take payload (and/or trailer weight) into account? Seems like a great feature, if so.

  • avatar

    13 miles in two and a half hours!

    Sounds like Chicago.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

    There was an interesting article published recently in the Wall Street Journal. One of their writers needed to make a trip and decided to rent an EV and write about her experience.

    Predictably it was a disaster but wonderfully highlighted how comically bad our EV charging infrastructure is and, equally, how awful current EVs are compared to their ICE counterparts.

    At the end of the article she was absolutely loving filling up for over $4/gallon. The peace of mind and reliability of ICE was very welcomed.

    “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.”

    That seems to be a theme among all that drive the fake Lightning what I find hilarious is the dumber of the Farleys has already stated they won’t be doing that in the future. Makes sense. People really like it so Ford will stop doing it that way.

    • 0 avatar
      kjhkjlhkjhkljh kljhjkhjklhkjh

      Fixed it : “”Predictably it was a disaster but wonderfully highlighted how comically bad our entire infrastructure is””

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Fixed it again (i.e., what the WSJ article actually covered):

        “Woman took an EV on a four-day road trip and it was hard to keep it juiced up.”

        (No s**t, Sherlock. This is why people who do long road trips tend to gravitate away from EVs…just like people who live in cities tend to gravitate away from Suburbans.)

        • 0 avatar
          golden2husky

          Jeeze, Freed…if your going to be all picky with making sure the facts are correct…

          …No s**t, Sherlock. This is why people who do long road trips tend to gravitate away from EVs…just like people who live in cities tend to gravitate away from Suburbans.)…

          I guess it requires critical thinking skills to match the tool to the job…then again he’d hate electric vehicles simply because the media he gorges on considers them “commiemobiles”

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “Jeeze, Freed…if your going to be all picky with making sure the facts are correct…”

            You do realize everything I typed was 100% accurate right?

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            “You do realize everything I typed was 100% accurate right?”

            No, you left out that it was a four-day road trip. And, EVs suck for that kind of thing…it’s a well known issue. If my automotive needs included stuff like that, I wouldn’t buy an EV…just like someone who lives in a big city with narrow streets and parking issues wouldn’t buy some huge vehicle like a Suburban.

            But you just keep on keepin’ on with the “because I think EVs suck, no one should buy one” rant.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “No, you left out that it was a four-day road trip.”

            Why was that context needed? It doesn’t change anything at all. I said she needed to make a trip (fact) and that she rented an EV(fact). I also said she wrote about her experience (another fact).

            “The writer in question drove from Chicago to New Orleans. That’s a long road trip”

            Incorrect, yet again. She started in New Orleans, went to Chicago, and then back. To quote the article (which I’m sure you will take issue with):

            “Our writer drove from New Orleans to Chicago and back to test the feasibility of taking a road trip in an EV. She wouldn’t soon do it again.”

            Sit down.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “ just like people who live in cities tend to gravitate away from Suburbans.”

          Ah yes. Because New Orleans requires “long road trips”.

          Come on you are way better than this. You’ve constructed far better (yet equally illogical) arguments before

          • 0 avatar
            FreedMike

            The writer in question drove from Chicago to New Orleans. That’s a long road trip.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            @FreedMike–That is why EB comes on this site is to rant. He desperately needs to rant otherwise he would have to come out of the basement.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      If that article highlighted anything, it’s how the author didn’t bother doing the slightest bit of research or learning on the use of EV vehicles, expecting to treat it exactly like an ICE powered vehicle. Anyone who bothers to live with an EV for at least a few days (which I would expect an intelligent individual to do) prior to taking a long trip wouldn’t have had near as many problems.

      Plus, of course, it gave you a bit more ammunition in your daily slagging of EV’s. I can only imagine the smile on your face as you read the article.

      You really are determined to stem the EV tide, singlehandedly. Don Quixote, meet windmill.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “You really are determined to stem the EV tide, singlehandedly.”

        Not at all. EVs are so poorly designed that they are doing it to themselves.

        And now, Ford is saying that it costs them $25,000 MORE to make a fake Mustang than it does a comparable Edge. Yet more proof that EVs are a massive boondoggle.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          Your insistence on harping on a subject you know nothing about is appalling, annoying and untenable.
          Everyone I know who owns an electric vehicle loves them. Perhaps you should open your eyes, and your mind, a bit.

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            The interesting part is you, FreedMike, lou MR, and Jeffy are completely incapable of refuting anything I say.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Observation A) Didn’t roll it.
    Observation B) Didn’t get it stuck in the mud.

    Conclusion: Greatest Vehicle Ever.

    • 0 avatar
      Syke

      First two points, correct. Third point, huh? Where did he say “greatest vehicle ever”? If he said anything, it’s, “Will hold any firm opinions until I’ve had one for a serious drive.”

      Or is the refusal to slag an EV the equivalent of pandering to them?

      • 0 avatar
        ToolGuy

        Sorry, these were *my* observations and conclusion, not an attempt to summarize the writeup.

        Tim managed to operate a vehicle without denting it, rolling it or needing a tow. I say that’s a great vehicle.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Based on the F150s I see constantly hauling nothing and never going off road I bet most F150 owners would be thrilled to avoid $120 weekly fill ups and still drive a big, powerful, plush ride. I think Ford might have unlocked the secret: no more weird egg shaped ecoboxes, this is a form factor people already love but now its powered by batteries. Of course the B&B will continue to repeat the creed that all EVs are horrible things forced upon us by our corrupt government.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @JMII – I hauled a 1948 Jeep CJ2A a few weeks ago. 1/2 way trip fill-up was $270 for 136 litres. Fuel’s gone up 20 cents/litre since then.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        @Lou–At least you were hauling something. I have seen many a Ram, F-150, and Silverado driver hauling air and afraid to put a scratch or dent on their mortgaged ride.

  • avatar
    jmo2

    One general review complaint – too many car reviews focus too much on what the beehive would be like to borrow vs. own. An example might be pairing one’s phone. Ok that’s a valid criticism. But an owner might do that every few years vs. an auto journalist who is do it a few times a week.

    Per the WSJ she reviewed it as a vehicle borrowed for a road trip. That’s not how the vast majority of people experience their new vehicle purchase.

    Reviewers should be mindful of reviewing from the perspective of an owner.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Definitely looking forward to a full review of one of these.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I presume that in max-regen-braking, one-pedal-mode, whatever, the brake lights come on when you lift off the “throttle?”

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      Watch TFL truck and their towing test of the fake lightning. They cover it however I can’t remember, for sure, what the answer is.

      It’s also nice to see how, yet again, EVs are proven to be a laughable exercise. The trip from Detroit and then the towing test really shows how bad this truck is. Can’t go very far and takes a long time to recharge. But hey, at least it can spin the tires at 40mph while towing an excursion. Very important metric for truck owners

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        TFL reactions were “super impressed” and “blew away expectations” when it came to towing. They did buy the truck also. We’re talking full maximum towing/payload on the steepest (interstate) grade allowed, 8 miles each way, up to 11K elevation. It’s not a normal tow by any stretch, and obviously not recommend for ICE half tons.

        They burned 21% on the uphill, dodging slower traffic and regained 6% on the downhill.

        On the Detroit/Denver run, they mostly charged while sleeping and stops for snacks and whatnot. They weren’t going for a Cannonball record.

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “ It’s not a normal tow by any stretch, and obviously not recommend for ICE half tons.”

          They do it with ICE half tons all the time. In fact, they did it with a hybrid F150 at the same time as the fake lightning and it performed just as well and finished in about the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            “Maximum towing capacity at that elevation would, of course, also drop as well. Using our same example of the Eisenhower Tunnel and the truck’s maximum tow rating of 12,200 pounds — a two-wheel-drive F-150 equipped with a 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 and a 3.55:1 rear axle — the towing capacity could drop almost 2,500 pounds when going through the tunnel.”

            news.pickuptrucks.com/2015/09/should-your-pickup-tow-less-at-altitude.html

            What else you got? Where did the Ford girl touch you?

          • 0 avatar
            EBFlex

            “What else you got?”

            They literally towed the same trailer and same weight with both trucks. Almost 10K pounds that nearly maxed out both trucks. It is within what Ford says it can do and recommends. How are you not understanding this?

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            “it performed just as well and finished in about the same time.”

            That’s certainly a selective reading. The hybrid (like most gas trucks) heated its coolant up well beyond optimum temps (237º F) uphill. The hybrid also managed the load worse downhill, requiring frequent use of the friction brakes and straying up to 10 mph above the goal speed. The Lightning stayed within comfortable battery temp ranges and had no issue maintaining speed downhill on regen alone. As usual you seem to think the only aspect of vehicle performance that ever matters is fueling speed.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The Lightning isn’t downgraded by elevation and does a much better job at towing and payload, even at sea level. Also ICE trucks don’t put fuel back in the tank while braking or maintaining downhill speeds.

          Of course you’re sidestepping bigger points for a small, inconsequential one. There’s a name for it but it’s the exact style of argument BAFO was known for.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        “It’s also nice to see how, yet again, EVs are proven to be a laughable exercise.”

        Good thing you aren’t required to buy one!

        • 0 avatar
          Art Vandelay

          well duh…it isn’t 2035 yet

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Exactly! Nobody is against EVs as long as that isn’t the sole choice! And the behavior of the “planet über alles” ruling class certainly suggests that the choice WILL be taken away at some point! Anyone who is for EVs taking over, and yet thinks that there will always be a choice, is a prime example of what Lenin has been attributed to state, a “useful idiot.”

      • 0 avatar
        Jim Broniec

        I would recommend checking out Out of Spec reviews on YouTube. They focus on the realities of our inevitable transition, and have done some extensive work with the Ford/Tesla/Rivian/Audi/VW and highlighted the key deficiencies in today’s charging infrastructure.

        The F150 Lightning is a transformative vehicle. Once we get supply chain issues resolved in the next few quarters, and Ford and Rivian both start delivering these en masse, everything will change.

        Honestly, some of the truck bros here in Texas have quietly told me they’ve got orders on them, and privately think that it’s one of the soundest choices they can make for a ‘safer and secure future’.

        Once they start discussing solar array Megawattage, the charging idiosyncrasies of LiFeOS vs. NMh banks and bragging about the size of their respective arrays, we’ll be somewhere different, yet familiar. ;-)

        • 0 avatar
          EBFlex

          “The F150 Lightning is a transformative vehicle.”

          No, its a vanity product that was never meant to change the industry or change buyers habits. It’s too compromised and poorly engineered.

          The Escape pickup is more transformative than the fake lightning.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Yes, brake lights are applied during moderate to heavy regen in EVs and hybrids. Behold, the engineers thought of that over a decade ago.

      You can even drive them in the rain, which is kinda crazy being electric.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex Mackinnon

        Rather oddly that one’s a valid comment.

        My gen 1 Volt doesn’t do this under regen. They fixed it in the Gen. 2 and the Bolt, but there are some cars out there that didn’t.

        I’m also an engineer and always thought it was a terrible omission. I tend to manually flash the brake lights under regen.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Genuinely surprised by that. The automatic-transmission buses built in the 1980s which I drove would light the brake lights when the transmission retarder was active.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            Until the late ‘80s, perhaps, I was always under the impression that all buses and semis were manual transmission. I was genuinely surprised when, as a participant at a national youth gathering for church, I boarded a shuttle school bus from the outlying part of Denver into downtown, and the Ford bus chassis included a steering column, complete with transmission selector, which could have come from a Ford F-150, instead of a floor shifter and a steering wheel the diameter of a hula hoop.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            The agency I drove for got its first order of buses with automatic transmissions in the late ’60s. I drove 1979-built buses with manual steering (ooooof!) but never one with a manual transmission.

  • avatar
    Carlson Fan

    Trying to figure out how climate was twice the energy usage of driving???? The decrease in EV range on my Volt is minor when running the AC. I usually get 43-45 miles of range in the summer and running the AC will take 3-4 miles off that. Electric heat in the winter, that’s another story

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Because on “This trip” as captured on that screen (as Corey pointed out) the vehicle was ‘on’ (and running a/c and accessories) for 2 hours 27 minutes but only driven 13.7 miles.

      Am curious about the mi/kWh figure of 1.1: Apparently the rated figure is 2.3 mi/kWh. Does the 1.1 calculation only include energy use *while the vehicle is in motion*? Aggressive throttle inputs by curious press people could easily get us down to 1.1. But using only “20%” of the energy to move the vehicle seems like it would drive the mi/kWh even lower than 1.1 [ballpark 0.5 best case].
      TL;DR: How is Ford doing the math?

      (Does the Volt use a heat pump or resistance heating? Or does it run the engine to warm the coolant to heat the cabin? I’m seeing different things.)

      • 0 avatar
        Carlson Fan

        “(Does the Volt use a heat pump or resistance heating? Or does it run the engine to warm the coolant to heat the cabin? I’m seeing different things.)”

        I suspect resistive heating but not sure. Engine assisted heating has two settings, I keep mine on the lower setting so anytime the temp hits -15F or lower the gas engine runs as soon as you turn the car on. The higher setting is around 30F.

  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    https://www.ksl.com/article/50427002/8-states-powering-this-initiative-to-provide-ev-corridors-throughout-the-mountain-west

    The infrastructure is an issue that will be fixed. The Federal Government, and state and local governments want EVs on the road. Infrastructure is not an unsolvable issue.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      It certainly is an expensive and unnecessary one

      • 0 avatar
        tomLU86

        There was no government coercion required for re-energizing stations (technically that is was gas stations are) to sprout all over. The were a viable business, so private money, big AND small, invested and built them.

        But apparently, that’s not the case for EVs. So the government will divert resources to build an EV network that will probably never be “good enough” if EVs catch on, since the more people that use it, the more taxed it will be.

        What is Tesla doing?

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        …speaking of government expense, it was Uncle Sam that bankrolled all the computer and Internet technology people are using to complain about government expense. But the irony is probably lost on the complainers.

        • 0 avatar
          tomLU86

          I knew government (local, state, federal) built paved roads (unlike railroads) for motor vehicles.

          But I did not know the government developed the iPhone, tablets, and laptops, and all that technology people are using to tell us all about “clean EVs” (the battery has to be charged, right? –oh I forget, solar and wind–never mind)

          • 0 avatar
            ToolGuy

            An OECD survey and analysis in 2005 found that:

            • Private R&D had a positive 0.26 correlation with economic growth

            • Government-funded R&D had a negative 0.37 correlation with economic growth

            Source (pg. 83):
            Where Is My Flying Car?
            by J. Storrs Hall

  • avatar
    bachewy

    Still waiting for honest reviews about range and charging. My brother’s company has one and it’s been VERY disappointing in both regards.

    • 0 avatar
      tomLU86

      He is probably not driving it properly. Perhaps he should roll up the windows and not run AC or heat.

      Just kidding.

      Seriously, many of us don’t dislike EVs. We dislike being asked to pay, directly and indirectly, so those who like EVs can drive them, and we refuse to buy into the half-truths (EVs are “clean” and “they don’t pollute”) use to rationalize a mode of transportation that at this time is generally, for the vast majority of people, not as good or cost-effective as ICE.

      Now, if the price of EVs comes down, if the range and convenience goes up, it will help. Those are hard goals to accomplish.

      But, if the government pursues policies that make driving an ICE vehicle more costly, more of a hassle, then that might make EVs more appealing.

      And I think that is wrong.

      • 0 avatar
        EBFlex

        “Seriously, many of us don’t dislike EVs. We dislike being asked to pay, directly and indirectly, so those who like EVs can drive them, and we refuse to buy into the half-truths (EVs are “clean” and “they don’t pollute”) use to rationalize a mode of transportation that at this time is generally, for the vast majority of people, not as good or cost-effective as ICE.

        Now, if the price of EVs comes down, if the range and convenience goes up, it will help. Those are hard goals to accomplish.

        But, if the government pursues policies that make driving an ICE vehicle more costly, more of a hassle, then that might make EVs more appealing.

        And I think that is wrong.”

        Very well stated. If they were serious about reducing fossil fuel consumption, they would subsidize PHEVs and hybrids. that is truly the game changing future, but they rather push these grossly inferior EVs.

    • 0 avatar
      EBFlex

      “My brother’s company has one and it’s been VERY disappointing in both regards.”

      Do elaborate.

  • avatar
    Bill Wade

    Two issues. It looks like you have to use that screen for the radio/climate controls. Ever tried to do this in other cars that utilize this tech with fat gloves in freezing weather?

    Secondly, how much to replace that giant cartoon of a screen?

    It really amazes me how they can make things less and less useful just for pretty tech.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    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.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • BOJO: Best one of these I have seen was a fully chromed one (all body panels chromed) That said… articles about...
  • thornmark: >>EVs are a boondoggle<< see ethanol and "high" speed rail
  • thornmark: maybe because of the fires – doesn’t GM tell Bolters to park their Bolts outside, lest they...
  • thornmark: Honda is paying GM because they don’t want to waste big money – GM knows how to do that like...
  • AK: Chevy dropped the price of the Bolt $6,000 for the 2023 model year and they’re giving that much money in...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber