2022 Chicago Auto Show Ride: Ford F-150 Lightning Is Shockingly Quick

‘Significant’ is a tad overused these days, but it applies to the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. As a battery-powered version of America’s best-selling vehicle, the Lightning won’t just be some peoples’ first electric truck—it might be their first EV, period. But while Ford isn’t having any problems scoring F-150 Lightning reservations, pickups succeed on their specs’ strength, not just hype. Luckily, Ford’s electric truck seems ready to work hard. And at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show, I experienced firsthand how eager it is to sprint towards the job.

How fast is the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning?

A black 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning front 3/4 | Matthew Skwarczek, MotorBiscuit

For most pickup truck buyers, towing capacity and range matter more than outright speed. And since the Ford F-150 Lightning is an electric truck, the range is arguably even more of a concern. Still, no one likes getting carved up while merging into highway traffic. Plus, if acceleration isn’t important, why is Ford making an F-150 Raptor R?

Also, being an EV, the F-150 Lightning benefits from max torque at 0 RPM. In addition, all Lightnings have one electric motor per axle, so they have standard AWD. That means more traction for faster launches. On the downside, the electric truck weighs 6500 pounds—about 1000 more than the equivalent 3.5-liter EcoBoost F-150, MotorTrend says. But on the positive side, the F-150 Lightning makes 426 hp and 775 lb-ft of torque with the standard battery. That’s 24 less horsepower but 265 more lb-ft than the F-150 Raptor.

Theoretically, this should mean that the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is fast. And it is—on paper. Ford claims the 426-hp Lightning’s 0-60 mph time is “in the mid-four-second range,” MT reports. That makes it over a second faster than the F-150 Raptor. However, as of this writing, no one’s independently tested that claim.

But you don’t have to prove the numbers to understand the sensation.

Even in the limited 2022 Chicago Auto Show track, the Ford F-150 Lightning has impressive acceleration

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In addition to test-driving opportunities, Ford also has a mini test track at the 2022 Chicago Auto Show for its EVs. While the F-100 Eluminator is only there for demonstration duty, attendees can experience the Mustang Mach-E’s and F-150 Lightning’s speed firsthand. And that’s exactly what I did.

The EV test track isn’t complicated—two corners and a straightaway—nor is it particularly long. However, it’s enough to get a feeling for what flooring an electric pickup truck is like. Having ridden the electric LiveWire One, I thought I knew what to expect from the Lightning. But while it lived up to some of those expectations, it broke several others.

Yes, the Ford F-150 Lightning has the instant torque that all EVs benefit from. Also, because it doesn’t really have a transmission, the truck loses no time or power to gear changes. So, not only does it take off quickly, but it also rushes down the track with unrelenting, unyielding acceleration. It’s just smooth speed that almost makes you queasy.

And it’s accompanied only by a subtle whine, which throws you off even more. I know big trucks with big, noisy engines can be fast. But speed with the sound of silence is something else. Oh, and did I mention this happened with the Ford driver using quarter-throttle in Normal Mode?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the speedometer from the passenger’s seat, so I can’t tell you if we hit 60 mph. But to quote President Biden, “this sucker’s quick.” And since the extended-range battery adds extra power and torque, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Lightning’s 0-60 mph time ends up being less than 4.5-ish seconds.

When can owners test their electric trucks’ speed?

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If you can’t make it to the Chicago Auto Show, Ford says F-150 Lightning production starts sometime in spring 2022. So, these electric trucks should be arriving in reservation holders’ hands in the next few months.

Admittedly, a fully-loaded F-150 Lightning Platinum with the extended-range battery doesn’t come cheap. But it does come with a variety of useful features, not to mention that silent EV powertrain. And don’t worry, it lives up to its ‘Lightning’ moniker when it comes to speed.

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