The response to the Ford Lightning surprises even its chief engineer
Set expectations correctly
Part of Ford’s EV strategy is to be precise and transparent, says the engineer. The research team looked at not only lab test data, but a feature called Intelligent Range also collects driver data through the cloud in real time. For any inputs that could affect range or your route, the feature adjusts the Lightning’s range to reflect an accurate estimate of power availability. For example, climbing mountains and hills requires more energy and affects towing capacity at all levels. The Lightning also uses a feature called trailer validation, which creates a profile of the driver’s personal trailer. As soon as the accessory is hitched, the Lightning adapts to the aerodynamics.
“The last thing we want to do is have a customer expecting to go 300 miles and not being able to do it,” Zhang said.
Currently, production of Lightning is not at full steam due to unexpected consumer demand and supply chain challenges that have beleaguered the industry. In April, Ford CEO Jim Farley said The edge that it is prioritizing semiconductor chips for the Lightning amid the current shortage.
“I don’t see chips as a constraint for Lightning,” Farley says. “I really see it as a constraint for our business. But we’re not going to produce 20% less Lightning because we have 20% less chips for the F-series.”
Zhang expects to be at full throttle by the end of 2023. In the meantime, truck fans and new F-150 owners are all clamoring for this all-electric pickup.
Basing the Lightning on Ford’s best-selling F-150 was a masterstroke. Giving customers a familiar base surely helps sell this revolutionary pickup, and transparency of towing capacity will go a long way in boosting trust.