2022 Ford F-150 Lightning First Drive: Big Risks, Big Rewards

Compared to some of the ostentatious electric trucks we’ve seen, the F-150 Lightning’s design is positively restrained. That’s absolutely intentional, too, and not simply to avoid deterring any of Ford’s more traditional customers.

It’s the most aerodynamically-efficient F-150 yet, but even then it doesn’t lose any of the instant recognition: even with a slightly smoother hood, blanked-out grille, and striking front and rear light bars, this is clearly an F-Series. More importantly, it means broad cross-compatibility with existing accessories. The bed is the same size and shape, for instance, which means if you already have a tonneau cover or tool chest, it should slot right in. That’s a particularly big deal for companies wanting to mix gas and electric trucks in their fleet.

What Ford hasn’t done, though, is allow that backward support to stop it from taking full advantage of the flexibility electrification brings. The most obvious evidence of that is the frunk, the huge storage area under the power-operated hood. Now, most EVs have something like that, but the F-150 Lightning’s is another level in terms of capacity: 14.1 cu-ft alone, wide enough for two golf bags, and waterproof with a drain hole in the bottom.

To make it, Ford didn’t just have to ditch the gas engine but shift everything else that’s typically under the hood: In fact, the engineers say, it was the hardest single design element of the whole truck. Frankly, though, the effort was worth it. With AC and USB power outlets it’s a perfect place to keep bags and laptops secure and charged up.

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