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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning testing in Alaska
F-150 Lightning owners across the country will experience their first winters with their EV pickups this year - and for many it will also be the first time they experience cold weather with an EV in general. However, those unsure of what to do with charging and driving the vehicle need not worry; Ford is behind them. The automaker has a few tips to put owners at ease.
Ford is confident that the F-150 Lightning can handle extreme temperatures. Ford says testing of the EV pickup was conducted in Alaska and Michigan's upper peninsula, where temperatures can drop as low as -20 degrees F. However, the reality is that at low temperatures, electric vehicles suffer energy losses that affect the range of the vehicle. That's why Ford is advising owners that all of this is normal and that they should follow these tips to maximize their range.
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The first two tips are obvious: if possible, park the vehicle in a garage and leave it plugged in.
The third tip might be a little tiring for some owners as it involves hacking into the vehicle's settings. Ford says if a longer drive is planned, owners should precondition the battery. To do this you must either use the FordPass app or go into the vehicle settings and change things like departure and arrival times and charge levels.
The fifth tip might piss some people off a bit, but it's kind of understandable. Ford says to avoid using the vehicle's HVAC system. Depending on where you live and how cold it is, this may or may not be possible. In freezing or sub-zero temperatures, using the heater can be life-threatening. Instead, Ford advises owners to use the heated seats and steering wheel for primary heat to reduce energy consumption.
The sixth tip is another tip given where Ford says to turn off the heater if used while charging. If you must wear it, lower the temperature to a comfortable level to reduce energy consumption.
The last three tips have Ford telling owners to remove all snow from the vehicle before driving, as it adds weight and drag; avoid speeding in cold weather as higher speeds use more energy; and make sure all tires are properly inflated.
Hopefully these tips will help Lightning (and other EV) owners in cooler temperature areas get around. you will need it. Cold weather can cut EV range in half. Some areas, like Canada, experience such extreme cold that owners there believe electric vehicles can't even handle the winter, even with automaker-backed tips like these. But Ford hopes enough drivers will plan ahead so they don't get stranded and in a dangerous situation.
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