F-150 Lightning owners across the country will be facing their first winters with their EV pickups this year — and for many, it’ll also be the first time they experience cold weather with an EV in general. Those unsure about what to do with charging and driving the vehicle don’t have to worry though; Ford’s got their back. The automaker has a few tips that should put owners at ease.
Ford has confidence that the F-150 Lightning can handle extreme temps. Ford says that testing on the EV pickup was done in Alaska and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, where temperatures can drop as low as -20°F. But the reality is that EVs suffer energy loss with low temperatures, which affect the vehicle’s range. So Ford is making owners aware that all of this is normal and to follow these tips to maximize their range.
The first two tips are obvious: park the vehicle in a garage whenever possible and keep it plugged in.
The third tip might be a bit trying for some owners as it involves digging into the vehicle’s settings. Ford says that if a longer drive is planned, owners should precondition the battery. This involves either using the FordPass app or going into the vehicle’s settings and altering things like departure and arrival time and charge levels.
The fifth tip might make some people a bit mad, but it’s sort of understandable. Ford says to avoid using the vehicle’s HVAC system. This may or may not be possible depending on where you live and how cold it is. With freezing or below temps, using the heater may be a life or death situation. Ford is instead advising owners to use the heated seats and steering wheel for primary heat to reduce energy consumption.
The sixth tip is another given, with Ford saying to turn off the heater if it’s in use when charging. If you have to have it on, lower the temperature enough to where it’s comfortable for reduced energy consumption.
The final 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 at their proper pressures.
Hopefully, these tips help Lightning (and any other EV) owners in areas with lower temps get around. They’re going to need it. Cold weather can cut EV range in half. Some areas, like Canada, face such extreme cold that owners there think EVs won’t even be up to handling their winters, even with automaker-backed tips such as these. But Ford is hoping that enough drivers plan ahead so they don’t find themselves stranded and in a dangerous situation.