Ford is a special brand for me. In my earlier day, I used to work at the PR agency managing the Ford account across the region. I loved every second spent working on the business. It pretty much put me on track to writing this post and managing this portal. When Ford announced the F-150 Lightning, things got extra exciting. F-Series has been America’s best selling truck for 44 years straight. Smack on their advanced tech and electric motors, you’ve got yourself one hell of a truck. The F-150 Lightning will offer everything you desire in a truck with the technological advancements, the looks and ultimately reliability. So if EVs is the future, consider this truck to be one that will last you a really long time. Well, until they find a way to make water powered vehicles mainstream.
The F-150 Lightning will be rolling off the assembly line next year from the motor world capital, Detroit.
The truck is claimed to be ‘wickedly quick’, quite and smooth and starts at around $40,000 in the US before tax. Now hold your horses, that price is for commercial only meaning it’s the base model. Meaning it might come with a body, motor, battery, wheels and some seats. The mid-range XLT (which is pretty much flooded on the streets of the UAE and Saudi, will start at around $53,000.
In a five page press release, Ford states that this is the ‘truck of the future’. Let’s see.
Outside and In
The F-150 Lightning is easily recognizable as a Ford F-150 truck… not a single shred doubt right here. No matter what angle you look at it, it screams tough, as it should. So, what makes it different that than the gas guzzler version? It includes signature LED lightbars that run across the front and rear, plus three new grille designs that bring a bold new look to a familiar face while maintaining Built Ford Tough authenticity.
F-150 Lightning is the most aerodynamic F-150 ever, with improvements like newly shaped running boards, a sculpted hood to reduce drag, and grilles that replace air intake holes with a smoother, textured surface. Even more functional design delivers available enhanced 360-degree Zone Lighting, which can light up a specific zone or the entire area around the vehicle.
The inside and bed space remain the same as the traditional F-150. The available fold-out Interior Work Surface makes working inside the vehicle even easier and more productive, while available Max Recline Seats offer nearly 180 degrees of recline to you recharge as needed.
The F-150 Lightning is the most power F-150 ever, pushing out 563 HP and 775 lbft of torque off the line helping you hit 100 km from standstill in the mid four second range (for extended-range battery). The XLT and Lariat trucks (with the extended-range battery and Max Trailer Tow Package) will be able to tow a maximum of 4,500 kgs – roughly two rhinos! With all that power and low center of gravity, this truck will give you even more confidence driving.
A feature that the worker bees will love is the Onboard Scales. By using the truck’s sensors it can estimate the payload being hauled. As the more you tow, the more power you drain, this feature is in direct unison with the Intelligent Range to ensure that you know exactly how much range you can go.
There are a few firsts for the F-150 Lightning. It comes with Pro Trailer Hitch Assist, which automatically controls steering, throttle and brake inputs to make hitching trailers even easier. On select vehicles, the Phone As A Key feature is available. While activated, you can lock, unlock and start the truck without taking your phone out of your pocket or using a key fob.
With Ford Power-Up software updates, the features and overall performance will enhance over time according to the US auto maker, with most updates taking a mere two minutes and wherever you want.
The truck does feature other amazing tech, but they mainly work in the US and not here.
The F-150 Lightning Lariat and Platinum series will be home to the SYNC® 4A interface supported by a massive 15.5 inch touch screen. The SYNC 4A can be navigated by touch or voice control, and has cloud-connected navigation and all your favorite apps, like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa.
Giving the driver clear command of the vehicle is a 12-inch instrument cluster.
Power to Grid
As with most mainstream EVs, the F-150 Lightning also comes with vehicle to grid tech. The Ford Intelligent Backup Power can turn the truck into a power source for your home or office. Fantastic for places like Lebanon where electricity is pretty much non-existent, the truck can offload 9.6 kW of power enough to keep the lights on and power home appliances.
With the Ford Charge Station Pro, the truck will automatically power your home if the electricity were to go out. Once the power is back, then it will switch back to charging. F-150 Lightning with extended-range battery provides full-home power for up to three days.
The best part of this, in the future the company will launch Ford Intelligent Power, which means while plugged in to your home charging station, your home will switch to the truck as a power source during high-cost peak energy hours, and then charge up the truck at night when the rates are lower. How bloody fantastic is that?
Ford certainly used the front space properly here. The frunk can carry around 180 kgs, and has the space to fit two carry-on bags, and one of the check-in bags. That’s more than the rear trunk space of most cars on the road.
F-150 Lightning goes through the same Built Ford Tough testing as all F-Series trucks. The body is made from military-grade aluminum alloy. The frame is upgraded to support the advanced battery, and this coupled with the first F-Series independent rear suspension and low center of gravity, helps improve isolation from the road, provide a more stable ride and reduce steering roll. So expect maximum durability and reliability that you would from F-150.
F-150 Lightning’s 4×4 systems features four selectable drive modes: Normal, Sport, Off Road and Tow/Haul. Rugged underbody protection keeps the battery safe while bouncing off the dunes or taking on the speed bumps of the Middle East – metal skid plates shield both the battery and inboard motors.
The F-150 Lightning comes with a state-of-the-art liquid cooling system and powertrain layout that manages heat distribution across the truck. Improved cooling systems and components ensure the truck can drive in the toughest driving ordeals. We’ll have to wait and see when the truck ever comes to the UAE for its heat testing.
Going Electric, Made Easy
Ford has your back when it comes to charging. Ford is the only automaker to offer an 80-amp charge station as standard equipment, helping customers easily charge an extended-range truck at home. This system takes advantage of the only dual onboard charging system on an electric truck in the industry for even faster home charging. With this, F-150 Lightning adds an average range of 30 miles per charging hour, fully charging an extended-range truck from 15% to 100% percent in about eight hours8.
On the road, customers have seamless access to North America’s largest public charging network through FordPass, with more than 63,000 charging plugs and growing across the U.S. On a 150-kilowatt DC fast charger, extended-range F-150 Lightning is targeted to get up to 54 miles of range in 10 minutes and charge from 15% to 80% percent in about 41 minutes8.
F-150 Lightning takes the guesswork out of when and where to re-charge with FordPass Power My Trip, which identifies charging routes before even starting your journey. In the truck, Intelligent Range accurately calculates range while factoring in weather, traffic, payload, towing weights and more. Cloud-connected navigation on SYNC 4 also identifies public charging locations and prompts owners to charge at convenient points on each drive.
Will it come to the region?
Ford last year told me they have no plans in the near future to introduce EVs in the Middle East. So, if they change their minds, or the industry picks up next year, then we definitely wont officially see it here until late 2023 or early 2024. But I definitely think that we will see some grey imports hit our roads in 2023 for sure.