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Earlier in the summer, I had the opportunity to kick the tires on the new 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning in Houston, Texas. The irony of driving a V8-powered car to test drive an electric pickup truck was not lost on me during the 500-mile round trip. Nevertheless, I deemed this interstate marathon necessary for a chance to witness a moment in automotive history. Because one day, when my hat covers only gray hairs, I’ll take a long draw from my hydro-powered vape pen shaped like an antique wooden pipe and tell futuristic youths that I test drove the first electric Ford F-150 Lightning in the early 2020s. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

First Impressions, New but Familiar  

The test drive event was held in the parking lot of a Neapolitan-style Italian restaurant named Grotto Ristorante. This restaurant is in the heart of River Oaks, the deep pocket neighborhood of Houston, Texas. For this event, it seemed Ford wanted to show their blue-collar electric pickup truck has the chops to assimilate among the fashionable Tesla Models and Range Rovers that littered the avenues. After all, while the F-150 Lightning is suited for commercial duty, it aims to provide style with function. 

For this event, it seemed Ford wanted to show their blue-collar electric pickup truck has the chops to assimilate among the fashionable Tesla Models and Range Rovers that littered the avenues.

Until now, I had only seen the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning in press photos. Walking up to it in person for the first time, I was taken by how seamlessly it blends with modern traffic. Ford understands the key to making a successful mass-produced EV is a balance between new and familiarity. One does not want to scare off customers with complicated-looking technology. The Ford F-150 is an American icon, and the Lightning respects that with traditional styling. Parked amongst its gasoline and diesel siblings, the F-150 Lightning is a team player with only subtle hints of its battery-fueled power. The main styling clues include a closed-off front grille, wrap-around LED headlight, and front fender charging port. 

Ford F-150 Lightning Test Drive

Ford provided several different trim levels of the 2022 F-150 Lightning for us to test drive. The model I picked was the top-tier F-150 Lightning Platinum wearing Star White Metallic Tri-Coat with standard 22-inch Pocket design wheels. Inside, the interior wears a Premium Nirvana Leather Seating Surface with Black Tuxedo Stripes. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

The test drive was brief but enough to learn that the Ford F-150 Lightning drives like any other F-Series pickup truck. Its electric personality becomes apparent when your right foot stands firmly on the accelerator. Instant torque lifts the front end of the truck with satisfying haste. The shock from this sudden burst of charging momentum will make you take the lord’s name in vain. Unfortunately, heavy city traffic prevented me from fully experiencing the estimated four seconds needed for the F-150 Lightning to sprint from zero to 60. I was overly cautious about accelerating in traffic as this electric truck has enough power to be quicker than the average motorist’s reaction time.

Under normal driving conditions, I found the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum to be smooth and quiet with a planted weight feel, like running your hand under still water. The silky ride quality is partly thanks to the truck’s independent rear suspension, a first in the F-150’s history. In addition, the EV truck’s low center of gravity helps reduce the pickup truck’s buckboard sway on the road. 

Instant torque lifts the front end of the truck with satisfying haste. The shock from this sudden burst of charging momentum will make you take the lord’s name in vain.

The Ford Lightning’s Platinum interior boasted business-class wide front seats. Vehicle information is projected on a 12-inch digital instrument cluster with a customizable interface. The 15.5-inch center-mounted touch screen follows the trend of being mounted vertically. This giant digital screen runs Ford’s SYNC 4A featuring natural voice control and cloud-connected navigation. In addition to expected software like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and SYNV AppLink. 

Useful Features, Junk in the Frunk 

The Ford F-150 Lightning’s Pro Power Onboard feature gained national news coverage during the 2021 Texas ice storm. This built-in electrical power source uses a 2.4-kilowatt or optional (combined) 9.6-kilowatt battery. In addition, there are eleven power outlets within the trunk’s frunk, cabin, and bed to plug-in power tools, appliances, generators, or charge other electric vehicles. 

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

At the front, the F-150 Lightning’s Mega Power Frunk provides storage space never seen in a pickup truck. Pop the automated hood to access a storage compartment wide enough to store two golf bags. Max payload is 400-pounds, allowing a diverse range of “stuff” to store and haul under lock-and-key. The frunk is lined with water-resistant material and equipped with four electrical outlets and two USB ports. Moreover, the Mega Power Frunk’s floor is drainable, making it ideal for transporting ice coolers. 

Ford Lightning Facts & Figures 

Ford offers two variations of powertrains for the F-150 Lightning. The standard-range battery pack is a dual-eMotor configuration offering 426-hp, while the extended-range battery pack produces 563-hp. However, both variants flex a 775 lb.-ft torque rating, making it the most powerful F-150 ever produced. When put to work, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has a standard max payload capacity of 2,235-pounds and a max towing capacity of 7,700-pounds. However, the Max Trailer Tow Package increases the tow rating to 10,000-pounds.  

Photo by Jesus R. Garcia

The standard battery range on the F-150 Lightning is rated at 230-miles. An extended-range battery pack, available on higher trim levels like the XLT and Lariat, increases the range to an estimated 320 miles. However, the F-150 Lightning Platinum I test drove offers an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles with four-wheel-drive. Moreover, the 4×4 system offers four drive modes: Normal, Sport, Off-Road, and Tow/Haul.

Starting price for the base Pro model is $39,974, followed by the XLT at $52,974, then the Lariat at $67,474. After that, there is a significant leap with the Platinum starting price at $90,874, guaranteeing all the bells and whistles. 

Catching Lightning in a Pickup Truck 

The phrase “catching lightning in a bottle” is typically used to describe success in a lucky or unlikely manner. However, Ford’s success with the F-150 Lightning is anything but lucky. The electric pickup truck’s build quality and technological features show the level of attention that went into its development. You can tell Ford underwent long hours of focus group testing to learn the consumer’s needs and wants. 

Photo courtesy of Ford

The opportunity to road test the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is currently in the works. Driving the F-150 Lightning for a week will allow me to discover the real-world battery range and exercise new features like its Ford BlueCurise hands-free driving mode. But, more importantly, find out how electrifying this truck can be when there’s no traffic.

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