2022 Ford F-150 Lightning: What's It Like to Live With?
Is the electric F-150 the king of electric trucks? We have one year and 20,000 miles to find out.
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Latest Highlights (updated 09/20/23)
- We bought a Lariat 4x4 SuperCrew
- Plus the extended-range battery
- And paid MSRP $80,014 (plus taxes)
- We wish the battery charged faster
What We Got And Why
• Our test vehicle: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Lariat Dual eMotor Extended Range Battery
• Base MSRP: $67,474
• MSRP as tested: $80,014
• What we paid: $80,014 (plus tax)
The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is arguably the most significant vehicle to go on sale this year. In gasoline form, the F-150 truck has sold better than any other vehicle in the U.S. for years on end. Electric vehicle technology, meanwhile, has been improving at an exponential rate. Now put them together. When Ford sees fit to electrify its cash cow, that's big news. The F-150 Lightning has the potential to make a huge impact on the momentum of EVs. So when online reservations opened on May 19, 2021, we jumped at the chance to secure our place in line. The cost was $100.
What Did We Get?
Fast-forward to January 2022. Ford CEO Jim Farley announced that it was time for early reservation holders, like us, to configure their trucks and place build orders. In early August, Ford notified us that our truck was undergoing final quality control checks. In September, we finally took delivery of our 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning SuperCrew in Lariat trim with dual-motor four-wheel drive and the extended-range battery. We opted for Atlas Blue metallic paint on the exterior and black leather inside.
Standard equipment on our F-150 includes LED headlights, power tailgate, power front trunk, 60/40-split fold-up rear bench seats, a 360-degree camera and a Class IV trailer hitch. It also has a suite of safety features like evasive steering assistance, adaptive cruise control, pre- and post-collision brake assist, and lane keeping assistance. Ford's BlueCruise system was a must, considering the emergence of competitive assisted-driving systems, which meant we had to spring for the 511A equipment group, tacking $10,000 onto the price. That's a chunk of change, but it also got us lockable storage beneath the rear seat, heated rear seats, the Tow Technology package (featuring onboard scales, Smart Hitch to help balance trailer weight, and an integrated brake controller), a power-adjustable steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers and a twin-panel moonroof. All-terrain tires cost $150 more and the spray-in bedliner $595. With destination, MSRP came to $80,014. And that's what we paid.
Why Did We Get It?
We already said it. The F-150 Lightning may be the most influential new EV this year. We've seen midsize trucks like the Rivian R1T, which we also own, funnel excitement into the segment. But are full-size electric trucks for real? What is the real trade-off between towing and electric range? How far can you drive with 2,000 pounds of payload in the bed? Or is this more about an electric family car that happens to have a bed — plus a trunk up front? We plan to answer all of these questions and more over the next year and 20,000 miles.
Edmunds purchased this vehicle for the purpose of evaluation.
Average lifetime consumption (kWh/100 miles): 51.0
EPA rating (kWh/100 miles): 48 combined ( 43 city / 54 highway )
Best consumption (kWh/100 miles): 41.2
Best range (miles): 332.7
Current odometer: 11,148
If you're charging the F-150 Lightning at home, keep this in mind
Senior Editor of Written Content Brent Romans explains the challenge that comes with driving an EV with a very large battery.
"You know how pickups typically have bigger gas tanks than regular cars? Well, the same goes for the F-150 Lightning relative to other EVs. Our truck's got the extended-range battery, which has an energy capacity of 131 kWh. It's a bit like having three regular Nissan Leaf batteries in one vehicle! Now, with a gas-powered vehicle, the extra time to fill up a truck's gas tank isn't particularly significant. But with the Lightning, it is.
"This is particularly notable for home charging, I think. You can plug in most EVs overnight in your garage and expect it to be full by the next morning. It's trickier with the Lightning. Here's an example: Let's say I've drained our Lightning's battery to 40% after a day of driving. I come home and park it in my garage. I then set the charge to start at 9 p.m. to help reduce the cost of charging and then switch off once the battery is 90% full. If my home 240-volt power cable is a little underpowered and is supplying 6.3 kW — this so happens to be the output of the supply stations we use at the Edmunds office — it's going to take approximately 11 hours to get back to 90%, or not until 8 a.m.
"So, I'd probably be OK in the above example as long as I didn't need to leave before 8 a.m. But consider that I'm now effectively limited to only using 50% of the battery per day. Needing more electricity in the battery, whether it is because I plugged in with a lower battery percentage or needed to go to 100% for the next day, would be problematic.
"Even though it'd be expensive, I'd seriously consider purchasing a robust home power supply unit, such as Ford's Charging Station Pro, If I bought a F-150 Lightning with the extended-range battery. This will better take advantage of the truck's onboard charger that can charge the battery at up to 19.2 kW."
Your mileage may vary
"I've noticed a significant difference between how much electricity our Lightning uses in city driving compared to highway driving. Around town, the truck's trip meter has reported I've done approximately 2.6 miles of driving for every kWh of electricity used. That's 38.4 kWh/100 miles converted to the more helpful kWh/100 miles standard. (See our MPG is Stupid article on why measuring fuel usage by miles per kWh can be misleading.) But ramp our truck to 70-plus mph on the highway and it's using approximately 50 kWh for every 100 miles driven. That's a 30% jump! Now, I'm not surprised that our Lightning is less efficient on the highway than in the city — many EVs are — but it does seem to take a bigger hit than other EVs with sleeker aerodynamic shapes." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content
2021 Ford F-150 Lightning: Maintenance
If anything goes wrong with our Ford F-150 Lightning, we'll let you know about it here
Something for us to keep an eye on
"Something may be up with the front end of our F-150 Lightning. I got a error message about the active air dam this past weekend. This morning the front sensors were acting up, beeping on the passenger side, despite the car ahead not being that close for it to freak out. It also flashed a message saying the sensor was blocked a number of times, but it went away so quickly that I couldn't take a photo of that one." — Ron Montoya, senior editor
How does it handle?
"Most EVs, even though they're inherently heavier than regular vehicles because of their batteries, feel fairly composed and hunkered down because of the lower center of gravity. Not our F-150 Lightning. It rides higher than the typical EV to begin with, and it has the optional extended-range battery that I'd guess is even heavier than the regular battery. Make a few quick steering inputs and the truck gets pretty wobbly. To me, our Lightning drives like a regular F-150 with 1,500 pounds of payload in the bed. It's a big and heavy vehicle that needs to be driven with care." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
Is it fast?
"Heck yeah! I've had to readjust my expectations, in fact. Normally for a light-duty truck, I'd think: 'OK, big truck, it's going to make some burly V8 truck noises and take a beat or two before it really gets going.' But not with the Lightning. Put your foot down and it immediately launches forward like an angry NFL linebacker who's got a clean shot at a quarterback. There's very little noise, too. Objectively how quick is it? Well, check this out: At the Edmunds test track, our long-term Lightning test truck sprinted from 0 to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds. Bam! That's not quite as quick as the Rivian R1T, but otherwise it's way quicker than any typical light-duty truck and matched only by the top-end F-150 Raptor R and Ram 1500 TRX." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
What about handling and braking?
"Ah, yes. Did you see my analogy about the NFL linebacker? OK, our truck is like that, but now he's on skis. And he doesn't know how to ski. Most EVs feel pretty nimble, but not this one. Our Lightning weighs 6,745 pounds, or about 1,200 pounds more than a typical gas-powered F-150 crew cab, and it feels like it from behind the wheel. Take a turn with a little enthusiasm and the tires squeal and the whole truck seems to say, 'Woah, hold on there, friend. Let's just go nice and easy.' The brakes are fine for normal driving but we did find them lacking during our emergency braking test. Stopping from 60 mph took 141 feet, which is 10-15 feet more than a typical F-150. Our test driver suspects our Lightning's low-grip tires are more of the issue than the brakes, but regardless you'll want to treat this big guy with care and leave plenty of room ahead of you in case you need to jam on the brakes." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
What do we think of one-pedal driving?
"I turned off one-pedal driving, and I actually like driving the Lightning a lot more now. I've been watching the 'brake coach' readout, and even using the brake pedal I'm apparently recovering 100% of the energy from braking in most stops. The brake pedal still activates regen first, and the regen is strong so if you're driving smoothly you won't need to get into the physical brakes most of the time.
"There were two big issues for me with one-pedal mode. First is the Lightning's weight. You can feel how much weight is shifting over the axles when you brake and accelerate, and with one-pedal driving that just ups the stakes for throttle modulation in curves. It also makes low-speed maneuvers jerkier — the regen and acceleration are both really strong, so even when you're being gentle with the pedal you get some lurchiness.
"Which leads me to the deal-breaker for me and one-pedal driving in this behemoth: reversing. With one-pedal mode activated, you will not coast at all in reverse, you have to use the throttle. Turn off one-pedal mode, and when you release the brake you'll start to coast backward at a perfect slow speed for parking lot shenanigans. I simply find it much easier to reverse and maneuver the truck in tight spaces with one-pedal turned off.
"I haven't had the same issue in the past with smaller EVs, in part because there's just less to worry about when you're trying not to scrape parked cars, pillars, walls, etc. Most of those EVs are about a yard shorter than the F-150 and don't have the same blind spots.
"And like I said, I'm not losing out on recapturing energy by braking myself, so I'll just be leaving it off for now." — Will Kaufman, video content manager
Do batteries affect on-road comfort?
Associate Manager, Vehicle Testing Operations and Logistics Rex Tokeshi-Torres took the F-150 Lightning out on the highway and reported some concerns about on-road comfort. Specifically, that he could feel the way the batteries impact the suspension of the nearly 7,000-pound truck, particularly when going over bumps in the road.
The Lightning isn't quite as heavy as the Rivian R1T, which broke the 7,000-pound mark during Edmunds instrumented testing, but it did clock in nearly 1,000-pounds heavier than our Ford F-150 Hybrid. Batteries are notoriously heavy and we'll keep an eye on how that extra weight impacts the ride of our truck during our test.
How does it ride?
"Our Lightning has, for the most part, a smooth and comfortable ride quality. Small cracks or ruts aren't a problem, and the truck feels less stiff or jittery than a regular F-150. So, that's the upside. Downside: It also feels portly and wobbly when driving over bigger bumps or undulating pavement. Go over over a series of bumps and the truck bobs and floats around more than a big guy getting onto a 1980s waterbed." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
What about on the highway?
"I previously commented that our Lightning's body motions, after driving over bumps, reminded me at times of getting onto a water bed. Well, I've decided it's the worst when driving on the highway and the speeds are higher. I'll double down on my mad analogy skills here and describe the highway ride quality akin to hopping one of those big sit-on bounce balls — the ones for kids with the handle on the top — drinking a couple of beers and then bouncing your way down your driveway. It might be amusing at first, but you'll also be slightly out of control and quickly grow tired of the experience. (Minus the beer, of course.)" — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
Brent sounds like he's exaggerating
Yeah, a little. But he does have one more real-world situation to back it up: "I did a road trip in our Lightning with my family recently. My wife, who is doing some online schooling, was trying to take handwritten notes in the front passenger seat. But the bumps, and the truck's resulting bouncy motions, messed up her handwriting a bunch of times. She was, as you can likely guess, not amused with the experience." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
How is BlueCruise?
"Here's my hot take on BlueCruise after testing it out on our Lightning: meh. BlueCruise, if you don't know, is Ford's hands-free driver assist system. (Check out our BlueCruise article if you want to know more on what it does.) Now before I start to complain, I will note that it seems to work well for what it's supposed to do. It steers smoothly, and the truck has handy visual icons in the instrument panel display when BlueCruise is active. But here's the problem: I still have to be paying attention to the road and have my hands ready to take back control of the Lightning's steering in a split second's notice. So what's the point? Other than doing some hand stretches with BlueCruise active, or perhaps being a little more comfortable reaching for a snack, I haven't found BlueCruise to be helpful or all that great." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content
How are the Lightning's other driver aids?
"The Lightning's surround-view camera doesn't give a very wide view around the vehicle, the image is a bit too distorted around the edges, and front and side cameras aren't stitched together very cleanly. It's off the pace of what I expect from a high-tech vehicle." — Will Kaufman, video content manager
How's the Lightning's audio?
"I'm not a big fan of our Lightning's stereo. I don't know if it's my audio source, but to my ears it's just too bright, to the point of being harsh. The midrange is really lacking, and there's no warmth. When I crank down the treble and turn up the mid, it just sounds muddy. Overall, not a hit for me." — Will Kaufman, video content manager
This is where our software updates live — oldest appear first
"Software update time for our F-150 Lightning! I downloaded the most recent update for our Lightning recently."
"Priority Update 23-PU0105-DC-CHG2
Notes: Improved DC Fast Charging
We know how important DC Fast Charging is to you, so we've tweaked the charging module to improve reliability and performance.
"That's all the info it gave us. The were no details on what Ford 'tweaked' in order to make those improvements. We'll see if we can test the new charge speeds to note any differences." — Ron Montoya, senior editor
A handy place to get some work done
"I've found our F-150's center console work table to be useful when waiting for our Lightning to charge at a DC fast charging station. I can flip down the table and put my laptop computer on it to get some work done while I'm waiting. It's not an ideal position — I have to twist my torso to type on my computer while my legs are still pointed straight — but it's fine to do for 20-30 minutes. I prefer this to sitting and holding the computer in my lap." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
So far, we're happy with our Lightning's utility
"My wife has a massive amount of stuff that she uses to decorate our house for the holidays. I keep it all in a storage unit, and I was pleased that I had our F-150 Lightning at our disposal when she asked me to collect it all. I was able to fit our artificial tree and a myriad of boxes and bins all in one trip by filling up the bed and flipping up the rear seats to use the rear of the cab for additional storage. I think that's one of the key advantages of the F-150 Lightning: It's electric but just as useful as a regular F-150." — Brent Romans, senior editor, written content
"Had the Lightning for a day to help move a queen-size bed over the weekend, and just like the gas or hybrid F-150s, it's a wonderful vehicle for any kind of move. Cabin flexibility is a huge help; the rear seats fold up to make a large space behind the front seats to fit taller items. A headboard can fit back there, and it reminds me of the old Honda Fit Magic Seats but on a larger scale.
"Bed isn't that long, the mattress hung over the rear a bit, but only moved on city streets so it was fine. Even with cargo, nothing taxes this powertrain (as expected). It's a lovely vehicle in pretty much every regard, and I can't get enough of it." — Brian Wong, senior editor
How's the Lightning for towing?
Based on some real-world towing we've done with our long-term Lightning, the short answer would be: "Great! But …" On the upside, the Lightning's robust EV power makes short work of pulling a trailer. Going up grades is stress-free, and the lack of traditional transmission makes the experience quite smooth. We also like that our truck has the Tow Technology package that includes an integrated brake controller and a Smart Hitch feature to help balance trailer weight. Ah, but here's the other shoe dropping — range takes a major hit when towing. Short-distance towing won't be a problem but long-distance towing will require planning and patience. Check out our in-depth F-150 Lightning versus Rivian R1T towing comparison article as well as the two following videos to learn more.
How does Pro Power Onboard work?
"Pro Power Onboard is Ford's available F-150 feature that adds household-style power plugs in the bed and frunk that you can use to power a variety of devices. On the Lightning, it's capable of providing up to 9.6 kW of continuous power from the truck's battery pack. I thought it was a neat feature when Ford debuted it with the latest F-150 generation. But after driving our Lightning for more than a month, it occurred to me that I had never used Pro Power Onboard (PPO) or even really thought about using it. I wondered: Is it even useful?
"Well, it really depends on what your needs are. I figure there are four main situations where PPO could come into play: 1) tailgating (power a TV, stereo, household appliances); 2) camping (similar); 3) at a work-related job site (power tools); and 4) home power outages.
"The first one, admittedly, isn't my thing. Camping could be but I haven't used our Lightning for it. Number three: Dammit Jim, I'm an automotive journalist, not a construction worker! So that leaves home power outages. And well, I haven't encountered one of those while driving our Lightning, either.
"Eventually, I just wanted to PPO for something so I hooked up my electric hedge trimmer to one of the plugs located in the bed. And sure enough — bzzzzz! — I was hacking away at a bush in my front yard using power from our long-term Lightning. Ultimately, my take is this: For certain Lightning owners (see needs 1-3 above), it could be really cool. And for the fourth possibility, it is a cool feature to have just in case." — Brent Romans, senior manager, written content
Installing a car seat can be a bit frustrating
"This is the first time I've ever put a kid's car seat in an F-150, and ... what? There aren't the top anchors I'm used to in literally everything else, just some canvas straps. I got desperate enough to — gasp! — break out the manual. Clearly this was the first time anyone had needed to use the manual for our Lightning, so I got the honor of removing it from the shrink wrap.
"You're supposed to use one strap to route the buckle to another strap? There's no diagram in the manual, so I just had to use my best guess. It seems to be holding the seat well enough but causes it to lean just a bit. I know this is common to F-150s, but man, for a truck that's otherwise pretty intuitive and easy to use, this is a weird little frustration." — Will Kaufman, video content manager
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning: Miscellaneous
Everything about our Ford F-150 Lightning that doesn't fit elsewhere!
We'd like the Lightning to drop a couple thousand pounds
"If you've read many car reviews you will certainly come across some variation of the phrase 'it drives smaller than it is,' or 'it drives lighter than it is.' The F-150 Lightning does not do anything smaller or lighter than it is. I mean, it certainly accelerates astonishingly quickly for something so large, and stops with equal aggressiveness, but that performance doesn't hide the truck's weight. Over bumps, especially the drainage ditches common on LA streets, you can feel how much mass is going into the impact. In turns, you can feel the truck fighting its own inertia. Some parts of the driving experience remind me more of driving a 250/2500 series with a load in the bed more than any 150/1500 series. And the Lightning is lighter than most competitive electric trucks.
"And this brings me to my point: I simply would not buy an electric truck right now. We've seen lots of headlines indicating that batteries with greater energy density (which would make for lighter battery packs) are on the way. At some point, I hope they'll be able to get full-size electric trucks under 5,000 pounds (yes, I'm setting a goal of 2,000 pounds weight loss for the Lightning). That's when I'd consider one." — Will Kaufman, video content manager