This is what Ford's EV pickup truck looks like underneath its body.
Have you ever wondered what goes on underneath the body of the Ford F-150 Lightning? You no longer have to wonder, thanks to Munro Live, as it recently posted a thorough 37-minute walkaround of the Lightning's rolling chassis.
What makes this video even more remarkable is the fact that the same team dissected a Rivian R1T a few weeks before so that they could make accurate comparisons.
We'll use the first talking point as an example. The Ford has 14 connecting points between the body and the ladder frame - seven for the cab and seven for the bed. The Rivian had over 100 fasteners to do the same job. This means the Ford is simpler and cheaper to assemble. It also uses very similar and, in some cases, identical mounting points to the gas-powered F-150.
The other big difference between the Ford and Rivian is that the Ford only uses a ladder frame, while Rivian uses a ladder frame and a subframe. All of Ford's chassis components are bolted to the frame. The cross structure of the Ford is much neater, and the R1T appears to have a lot of redundancies that could be optimized better.
If you look at the placement of several underbody components, it's clear that the frunk was one of Ford's main priorities. A lot of engineering went into moving the front EV components as low as possible to make room for the front packing space. It obviously worked, as the Lightning's frunk offers 14.1 cubic feet of space and can carry up to 400 pounds. The frunk also sits much lower than it does in the Rivian, making access easier.
All things considered, a worthwhile trade-off. On the other hand, it may be the reason why the Ford's wading depth is disappointingly low at 23.6 inches.
Another interesting point is that the Lightning relies heavily on the existing F-150 ICE platform. Some of the packaging could have been done better, but there was a rush to get this vehicle to market. An ICE frame is not the perfect solution, but Ford will likely move away from the existing platform to a model-specific platform for the Lightning when the second-generation model comes around.
There are also many praiseworthy things underneath the Lightning. The stampings are 4-mm thick, which is pretty substantial in the automotive industry. The quality of Ford's welds is also much better, with much less beading than Munro found within the Rivian.
We also get a glance at Ford's side impact protection system to protect the occupants and electric motor. It is a relatively simple yet elegant solution that ensures enough energy is absorbed before an impact breaches the expensive components.
Moving to the middle, we see the large cavity where the battery is located. In the middle, situated above the battery, is one robust cross member. It's also there for safety, protecting the occupants and the battery.
The thermal management system is a bit of a nightmare, and Munro provides easy solutions that could be implemented when the inevitable facelift comes along.
The video is pretty long, and it's impossible to dive into everything here. The main conclusion drawn from the underbody comparison between the Rivian and the Ford is that the Blue Oval's product is much less complex, which comes with its downsides. Rivian needs to tone it down a little if it wants to tackle the more affordable segment of the market.