It runs the company’s own Sync 4A operating system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Alexa, but for 2023 the Lightning will instead be fitted with Google’s Android Automotive—a superior system in our view, and the 2022 model’s inability to be upgraded will surely be disappointing to early adopters.
As in many trucks, the cabin is packed with thoughtful conveniences. The tailgate has integrated rulers and clamps for sawing wood, plus a pen holder, bottle opener, and a deployable step and grab handle. These are small details, but nonetheless evidence of a product that has sold more than any of its rivals for nearly half a century.
One of the Lightning’s biggest features is power connectivity. Base models can output up to 2.4 kilowatts, while midrange Lariat and flagship Platinum models output 9.6 kW, with 2.4 kW of that available from outlets in the front trunk. Or in Ford parlance, the Mega Power Frunk. A huge benefit from the compactness of electric motors compared to internal combustion engines, the frunk is huge, with a capacity of 400 liters and the ability to carry up to 180 kg. It’s weatherproof, and there’s even a drainage hole so it can be filled with ice and used as a mobile drink cooler.
A simple concept—and although now the largest, far from the first frunk on the EV market—the creation of the Mega Power Frunk is described by Darren Palmer, vice president of Ford’s electric vehicle program, as “epically difficult, one of the most difficult things we’ve done on this truck.” Palmer is referring here to the relocation of ancillary systems like radiators, suspension, and the fact that this supposedly represents more than just the use of space left by the removal of the engine.
The cabin is equipped with two 120-volt outlets, six USB ports, and a wireless phone charger, while the frunk has a pair of 120-volt outlets and two USB ports, and the bed has four further 120-volt sockets and a 240-volt outlet. These can be used to power circular saws, air compressors, generators, drills, and flood lighting—or televisions, music systems, small refrigerators, or even a hot tub when camping or tailgating.