There I was, behind the wheel of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – The Blue Oval’s first all-electric pickup truck. As I pulled out of an active San Antonio parking lot during a humid afternoon in early May, I instantly noticed how blazingly fast this truck is. As I would soon learn, the transformation of the F-150 into a battery electric vehicle resulted in the best F-150 Ford has ever made.
That’s no small feat for America’s best-selling pickup truck. Indeed, Ford managed to improve on an already excellent formula in the F-150 PowerBoost by ripping out the internal combustion engine and replacing it with a healthy-sized battery pack and two electric drive motors.
Though I did get a chance to drive the F-150 Lightning in all four trim levels and with both the regular- and extended-range batteries, most of my time was spent with a well-optioned Lariat model with the extended range battery pack, pictured here. That means that it was equipped with the 19.2kW input (17.6 kW output) battery capable of 300 miles of driving range, 580 horsepower (up from 563 horses announced originally) and 775 pound-feet of torque. All 2022 F-150 Lightning models feature 4WD via electric motors at both axles.
To say that the F-150 Lightning is fast is an understatement. It’s lightning fast (pun fully intended). So fast, in fact, that the tires of this large four-wheel-drive truck chirp upon laying down the throttle even at highway speeds. There’s also a healthy amount of torque steer at WOT, which dissipates after the wheels hook up. Never have I driven an F-150 this fast. Ford puts the 0-60 time in the mid-four second range, giving us a general idea of how quick this truck is, but that’s only a small part of the story. The much bigger part are the benefits brought about by this greater amount of power.
The biggest benefit to the electric powertrain is that the power is delivered in an even, predictable kind of way that makes the F-150 Lightning a very useful tool when navigating traffic. Need to make a pass on the highway? Step on the accelerator, and the lifted Ram with the loud (aftermarket) exhaust disappears in the rearview, the driver left wondering how he just got pwned by a weird-looking F-150. Looking to make it across a two-lane undivided back-country highway? Step on it, knowing full well that the Lightning will oblige. The fact that the Lightning is silent is also a plus, though one that I – generally a fan of raucous engine and exhaust sounds – must admit took some time for me to get accustomed to. A few hours behind the wheel did the trick.
Drives And Handles Better Than Ever
The F-150 Lightning has one big change over the ICE-powered F-150 model: it has an independent rear suspension. This is key to delivering the best-riding F-150 I’ve driven to date.
The era of a road imperfection on one side of the truck disturbing the truck’s entire rear end – an inherent quality of the solid rear axle setup in the ICE F-150 – is over. The Lightning’s coil-based independent rear suspension soaks up the bumps much better than any F-150 I’ve ever driven. Complementing this new configuration is a lower center of gravity afforded by the battery pack, placed within the frame rails. The end result is a more planted, better handling truck.
In fact, my path took me through some twisty back-country roads (who knew that Texas had these?!), and the Lightning impressed at every turn. Not to sound like a broken record, but I’ve never driven an F-150 that felt this good from behind the wheel. It’s not all perfect, however, as spending time in the back seat revealed a slightly bumpy ride on the highway. That said, it still felt better than the the ICE trucks, if memory serves me right.
Frunk For The Win
If the F-150 Lightning’s positive qualities ended here, one could argue that Ford would already have a solid win on its hands. But there’s much more good qualities to this truck, starting with the front trunk, also known as the frunk.
Many truck traditionalists might be quick to dismiss this new feature. After all, we’re talking about a truck with a bed, so who needs a frunk, right? Well, here’s one use case: I flew to Texas to drive the Lightning with a standard-sized carry-on suitcase and a backpack. Typically, I would open one of the rear doors, flip up the rear seat, and put my carry-on on the floor. That works, until I have to carry five people in the truck, at which point I’d need to relocate the suitcase to the bed.
And that would work until it rained (sure, I could use a bed cover to protect my carry-on), or until I needed to park the truck in a public spot, at which point I would need to relocate the suitcase to the cab. And that’s not to mention that – in the absence of a bed divider – my platic-fantastic carry-on would be rolling around the bed while I drove, scratching and denting it in the process. The point is that neither the cab nor the bed are optimal spots for my suitcase. That’s where the frunk comes in.
Not only is the F-150 Lightning’s frunk weather-proof, but it also features a rubber lining top to bottom that would prevent items like my suitcase from sliding around while driving. Not only that, but it’s big enough for at least two carry-ons, and then some. There’s also a net to secure smaller items, a “lower level” for even more storage, and a drain to let out water, meaning that the frunk can be used as an impromptu cooler – perfect for a tailgate or picnic.
It doesn’t end there. The removable frunk floor panel is reversible, and there’s also a set of household outlets plus two USB ports. The fact that the frunk door (the hood) is power-controlled is simply icing on the cake. Did I mention that the F-150 Lightning is the best F-150 yet?
Very Capable, And Then Some
With the F-150 Lightning being an electric truck with an independent rear suspension, one might expect compromises when it comes to the two metrics that make a pickup truck, well, a pickup truck: payload and towing. Not the case for the F-150 Lightning.
The Lightning is rated at 2,000 pounds of max payload for the (lighter) standard range truck, and 1,800 pounds for the (heavier) extended-range models. That compares quite favorably to the 2,135 pounds of maximum payload for the ICE F-150 with the same bed and cab configuration. Having hauled 1,350 pounds and 1,950 pounds in the bed during my time with the Lightning, I can say that that it handles it without breaking a sweat. In fact, the truck makes hauling a breeze thanks to the even power delivery of the electric powertrain I mentioned earlier.
The story is similar when it comes to trailering. The Lightning is rated at a maximum 7,700 pounds of towing for the standard range model, and 10,000 pounds for the extended-range trucks. By comparison, the ICE F-150 is rated at an admittedly higher 13,900 max trailer weight for the same body style. So while the internal combustion engine F-150 does have a higher max towing capacity, the Lightning should satisfy the towing needs of most. After briefly towing two trailers with the Lighting (one weighing in at 5K and the other 7K), I can say that the truck handled both with absolute ease. Like with hauling, the even power and torque delivery of the electric powertrain help build power in a controlled and steady fashion.
For those concerned with range, Ford engineers tell me that the drop-off when towing in the Lightning is roughly the same as it is in an ICE truck. While an exact figure is hard to come by due to the vast amount of variables such as trailer weight, trailer type and driving behavior, the loss in range while towing is around 30 percent. In addition, the onboard scales feature, which delivers real-time weight data, take the guesswork out of hauling and towing.
I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the Lightning’s other capability benefits: this electric truck is quite the capable dance partner off-road, and it can also power a home for a healthy period of time in the event of a power outage.
Best F-150 Ever
All this leads me to my original conclusion that the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is the best F-150 ever. It’s faster, and the ride and handling is better than its ICE counterparts. It’s also (mostly) just as capable when it comes to towing and hauling. Add in the added usability of the frunk, the ability to power a home, plus handsome looks with unique headlights and tail lights, and it’s not all that difficult to infer that the Lighting is, in fact, the best F-150 ever, to the chagrin of engine and exhaust note fanboys like myself.
The only downside that I’ve noticed, for now, is that it can get expensive pretty quickly, especially with the extended-range battery. My Lariat tester stickered in the mid-$80s, but that’s a story for another day.
We’ll have a lot more on the F-150 Lightning soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, F-150 Lightning news, and non-stop Ford news coverage.
Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Overview
|Model||Ford F-150 Lightning|
|Construction||High-strength steel frame, high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy body and bed|
|Vehicle class||Full-size pickup truck|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Body
|Construction/materials||High-strength steel frame, high-strength, military-grade aluminum alloy body and bed|
|Body style||SuperCrew four-door with 5.5-foot bed|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Suspension
|Front configuration||Independent double-whishbone with coil-over shocks, stabilizer bar|
|Rear configuration||Independent semi trailing arms, coil springs, stabilizer bar|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Battery/Energy Storage
|Battery Type||Onboard charger power (input/output)|
|Standard-range battery||Lithium-ion pouch with internal battery management, liquid cooled||11.3 kW/10.5 kW|
|Extended-range battery||Lithium-ion pouch with internal battery management, liquid cooled||19.2kW/17.6 kW|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Powertrain/Drivetrain
|Targeted peak power (hp/kw)||Targeted peak torque (lb-ft)|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Charge Times
|Level 3||Level 3||Level 2||Level 2||Level 2|
|150 kW DCFC 15-80%||50 kW DCFC 15-80%||80A Ford Charge Station Pro 15-100%||48A Connected Charge Station 15-100%||32A/240W Mobile Charger 15-100%|
|Standard-range battery||44 minutes||91 minutes||10 hours||10 hours||14 hours|
|Extended-range battery||41 minutes||122 minutes||8 hours||13 hours||19 hours|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Targeted Miles/Charge
|10 minutes, 150kW DC Fast Charge||1 hour, 80A Ford Charge Station Pro||1 hour, 48A Ford Connected Charge Station||1 hour, 32A/240W Mobile Charger|
|Standard-range battery||41 miles||19 miles||19 miles||14 miles|
|Extended-range battery||54 miles||30 miles||20 miles||13 miles|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Range
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Charging Unit
|32A Ford Mobile Charger||48A Ford Connected Charge Station||80A Ford Charge Station Pro with Ford Intelligent Backup Power capability|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Exterior Dimensions
|Overall length (in.)||232.7|
|Cab height (in.)||78.9|
|Width - excluding mirrors (in.)||80|
|Width - including standard mirrors (in.)||96|
|Width - standard mirrors folded (in.)||83.6|
|Track width - front (in.)||68.1|
|Track width - rear (in.)||68.3|
|Overhand - front (in.)||37.8|
|Overhand - rear (in.)||49.4|
|Angle of approach (degrees)||25.5|
|Angle of departure (degrees)||24.2|
|Ramp breakover angle (degrees)||17.8|
|Ground clearance (in.)||8.9|
|Open tailgate to ground (in.)||37.2|
|Front bumper to back of cab (in.)||155.9|
|Front truck liftover height (in.)||35|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Interior Dimensions
|Shoulder Room (in.)||66.7||66|
|Hip Room (in.)||62.5||62.2|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Bed & Front Truck Capacities
|Inside length (at floor) (in.)||67.1|
|Width between wheelhouse (in.)||50.6|
|Inside height (in.)||21.4|
|Cargo box volume (cu. ft.)||52.8|
|Front trunk volume (cu. ft. / L)||14.1 / 400|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Payload & Towing
|Targeted Maximum Payload (lbs.)||Targeted Maximum Towing With Max Trailer Towing Package (lbs.)|
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Specs - Production
|Final assembly location||Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, Rouge Complex, Dearborn, Michigan, USA|
|Motor build location||Van Dyke Transmission Plant|
|Battery assembly location||Rawsonville Components Plant|