Ford F-150 Lightning Pushed To The Limits In Sub-Zero Alaska

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Dearborn's all-electric pickup is tackling the snow before it takes on the competition.

Before a new vehicle goes on sale, engineers push them to the limits in challenging conditions, from testing in hot weather to tackling frozen, snow-laden areas. This is to ensure the consumer gets a superb product at the end of the day, that can manage a host of tough driving scenarios.

But when you have a reputation for durability, you have to push the boundaries even further. That's why Ford has subjected its highly-anticipated F-150 Lightning to two weeks in the freezing temperatures of Alaska, fine-tuning the battery-powered pickup to ensure it lives up to customer expectations.

"Alaska provides us the extremely cold temperatures, snow and ice-covered surfaces that we need to push the F-150 Lightning in this type of testing, which is really focused on dialing in how the truck delivers its power to the ground on slippery surfaces," said the F-150 Lightning's powertrain engineer, Cameron Dillon.

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Six pre-production examples took to the snow, tackling the Alaskan climate at a restricted military base. The low-mu testing evaluates how the all-electric powertrain adjusts power delivery to the wheels on slippery surfaces. The loose snow and glassy ice were a worthy adversary but proved no match for the Lightning, according to Ford. The onboard systems can sense wheel slip and quickly adjust power to the wheels.

What makes it so adept at tackling challenging conditions is its arsenal of talents, which includes always-on four-wheel-drive, a standard electronic-locking rear differential, and selectable drive modes. Being an EV, it benefits from immediate torque delivery and a relatively low center of gravity that aids handling.

"The responses are extremely quick and the dual motors make it as if you have two engines pumping out power in one vehicle. A lot of our work is to coordinate the two motors to work together to best deliver torque to the ground so that customers who drive in the snow and ice ultimately feel very confident," said fellow powertrain engineer, Nick Harris.

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Ford is leaving nothing to chance with the F-150 Lightning, as expectations are already high. In addition to Alaskan testing, the team has also conducted low-mu testing in several other locations, including the Blue Oval's Proving Grounds near Milford, Michigan.

A quick perusal of Ford's website will show you the rather decent pricing. The base Pro starts at $39,874, but the range-topping Platinum will cost a whopping $90,874. But the capable pickup won't have the market all to itself, though. Rival brand General Motors has two electrified pickups waiting in the wings; the Silverado EV and the imposing GMC Hummer EV. What's more, newcomers Rivian and Lordstown are also keen to get in on the action.

The former, however, has already delivered examples of its R1T pickup to customers, with the latter hoping to start production this year. The electric pickup truck segment is heating up nicely, and we have a feeling the Ford will certainly stir things up, especially if its high demand is anything to go by.

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