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Dwelling with the Ford F-150 Lightning in On a regular basis Driving


Following up on my preview drive expertise with the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning electrical pickup truck, I’ve had the chance to spend extra time attending to know what it’s wish to dwell with this groundbreaking automobile.

As earlier than, the check automobile was the second-from-the-top trim stage Lightning Lariat, with a base value of $67,474, and an as-tested value was $81,384, which incorporates the 131-kilowatt-hour extended-range battery, Max Tow Bundle, and spray-in mattress liner.

The purpose for this longer-term expertise was to get a really feel for the truck’s driving vary and charging velocity, in addition to to judge the present state of Ford’s BlueCruise Degree 2 hands-free driver help.

Vary

The journey pc commonly reported 313 miles of estimated driving vary, just a bit shy of the EPA’s estimate of 320 miles for a Lightning with the extended-range battery. I blame heavy-footed colleagues who drove the truck beforehand, giving the pc the expectation of comparable remedy once I was driving.

Throughout a number of days of each around-town and freeway driving, the Lightning common 2.6 miles per kilowatt-hour, a consumption charge that might yield 340 miles of vary if I’d pushed the truck from a 100% cost to a lifeless battery.

It is very important observe that this driving was in a use case that’s actually consultant of a automotive and never a truck as a result of I didn’t do any work with the Lightning for these assessments. Loading the mattress with cargo or towing a trailer, as I did within the earlier check, will considerably shorten the driving vary.

Pushed as a automotive, the Lightning supplies a cushty journey because of the burden of the battery pack and the compliance of the impartial rear suspension with coil springs and the fats sidewalls of truck tires instead of the trendy low-profile tires on most automobiles as of late.

The Lightning’s journey and dealing with are higher than that of any common F-150, although they fall wanting the dynamics of Rivian’s mid-size R1T mid-size pickup, which is really car-like. The Lightning’s mass is obvious over dips that compress the suspension, inflicting the truck to bounce slowly. It not a harsh bounce like most stiffly sprung pickups, however extra a wallow that’s more likely to induce movement illness in passengers which can be liable to it.

Throughout one 150-mile round-trip, I evaluated the impact of elevation change on driving vary with a 75-mile mile drive from 450 ft of altitude to three,680 ft. This consumed 110 miles of estimated driving vary on the pc. Driving again recovered this misplaced power, with the 15-mile descent from Skyline Drive within the Shenandoah Nationwide Park recovering sufficient power that I drove for an additional ten miles from the underside earlier than the battery stage returned to the state of cost it had on the vacation spot.

On the $0.12 per kilowatt charge from my electrical utility in Virginia, my complete value for driving 234 miles equals $10.80, which compares to about $17 to purchase fuel for my 52-mpg motorbike to journey that very same distance at present native pricing of about $3.75/gallon.

Charging

I had no hassle preserving the Lightning’s battery topped up in each day driving with my ChargePoint Degree 2 residence charger, however I wished to additionally examine the truck’s compatibility with Electrify America’s DC quick chargers.

In a go to to one of many firm’s quickest 350-kW chargers, naturally, one among them was out of order, with a Home windows desktop displaying on the display screen as a substitute of the charger’s person interface. Not a Blue Display of Loss of life, however it would possibly as nicely be.

I plugged into the charger with a 50 p.c state of cost, with 151 miles of vary displaying, and it immediately started charging. Electrify America had set these chargers to be free, so I didn’t must swipe a bank card or have an account already arrange.

Twenty-seven minutes of charging added 48 kWh of juice to the battery pack, bringing the state of cost to 85 p.c with a forecast driving vary of 252 miles. So the system added about 100 miles of driving vary in about half an hour. That’s OK, but when it was a protracted journey and the battery wanted a lift from 20 p.c to 80 p.c would apparently take an hour or extra regardless of Ford’s estimate of 41 minutes to go from 15 p.c to 80 p.c.

The ambient temperature on the time was about 80 levels and the truck had simply made a delicate drive of about six miles at speeds of about 35 mph, so the battery temperature ought to have been good for charging. Whether or not the charging velocity, or lack thereof, was because of the F-150 or because of the charging station is debatable, however prospects gained’t wish to expertise finger-pointing when this occurs to them.

Cruise Management

Ford’s BlueCruise is the corporate’s equal to Basic Motors’ Tremendous Cruise, which I evaluated throughout our current Chevrolet Bolt EUV check. Each programs are SAE Superior Driver Help System (ADAS) Degree 2 programs that permit the motive force take away fingers from the steering wheel whereas touring on completely mapped limited-access highways. Each programs make use of a digicam to make sure the motive force has eyes on the street always and can deactivate the cruise management if the motive force tries to stage a YouTube stunt like climbing into the again seat or napping.

Up to now, so good. Nevertheless, BlueCruise, like Tremendous Cruise, struggled to ship on its promise of hands-free journey, ceaselessly disengaging and requiring the motive force to take over. The Lightning’s BlueCruise appeared to wrestle to see into darkish shadows whereas driving in vibrant daylight, because it disengaged quite a few instances whereas passing into the shadow of an overpass from direct gentle.

It additionally disengaged after failing to take care of its spot within the heart of the lane whereas going round corners, although these have been mild, Interstate highway-approved curves. On a brand new part of freeway with freshly painted strains, there have been nonetheless a few spots the place a brief part of strains from one aspect of the lane or the opposite have been lacking or have been solely the faint strains used to information the lane-marking painters.

In these circumstances, BlueCruise disconnected, although the break within the strains was transient and the road on the opposite aspect of the lane was clear.

I’ve seen BlueCruise steer the Mustang Mach-E for ten miles or extra with out disengaging, however within the Lightning, it appeared to not often go greater than a few miles earlier than handing off steering duties to me. It’s a work in progress and Ford automobiles will obtain upgrades in over-the-air updates, so they are going to get higher with time.

However at this level, BlueCruise isn’t delivering the motive force help that can really let drivers calm down a bit whereas the pc steers. In actual fact, looking ahead to when the subsequent disengagement will come and on the lookout for issues which may immediate it proves to be way more tiresome than simply driving manually.

In complete, the F-150 Lightning continues to show why the automobile is back-ordered for the foreseeable future. It delivers a bevy of EV advantages, with robust acceleration, super towing energy, and cheap gas in a cushty, succesful bundle.

However drivers will proceed to undergo frustration after they use the general public fast-charging community, and the BlueCruise ADAS system appears to be extra a novelty than a useful gizmo at this level. We’ll preserve testing to observe for enhancements, and subsequent time I hope to check the truck’s capability to supply electrical energy to run instruments and home equipment and perhaps even its capability to function a whole-home backup energy supply.

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