Hoovies Garage, a popular YouTube channel dedicated to unusual and entertaining automotive content, is at it again with its continued slamming of the Ford F-150 Lightning.
Previous Hoovies Garage video titles have included: "My dumb, useless Ford Lightning EV pickup versus other dumb, useless trucks. One big difference!" and "Towing with my Ford Lightning EV Pickup was a total disaster!"
So it comes as no big surprise that the latest video would be somewhat critical of the truck that recently won the Motor1 Star Award for both the Best Truck and Best EV of 2022. However, the reason the host, Tyler Hoover, gives for why he decided to sell the truck is, well, somewhat unconvincing.
Hoover explains that the winter driving range is so poor that he decided to sell the vehicle (which he co-owns with a friend) and move on. At the end of the video, Hoover takes the Lightning to a local Chevrolet dealership to get an appraisal on a trade-in and there's a GMC Hummer EV there waiting for him to test drive. More on that later.
After getting the Lightning back from the co-owner, Hoover took the truck, which has the smaller 98 kWh Standard Range battery pack for a 64-mile round trip drive. When he began the journey it was 31°F and the truck had been sitting outside overnight. It wasn't plugged in so the pack had been cold-soaking for many hours. Later in the video, after complaining about how poor the range was, Hoover shyly admitted that he set the truck up to fail by not following Ford's cold weather recommendations to improve cold weather driving range.
"To be fair, the Lightning was set up to fail because it was sitting outside not plugged in so the batteries were dead cold when we started."
After driving the 64 miles, the predicted range had dropped from the 149 miles it displayed when he began to only 37 miles when he returned to his neighborhood. Therefore, the Lightning lost 112 miles of predicted range in only 64 miles of driving which is clearly not good.
However, we don't know what went on during those 64 miles, but we do have some clues. During one clip, Hoover is driving 75 mph on the highway, which is fast, but certainly not an unreasonable speed. He then adds that there is a 15 to 20-mph headwind. Then, at the very end of the trip, Hoover shows the trip display and it reveals the consumption rate for the 32-mile return trip, which was 1.2 miles per kWh.
The Standard Range Lightning has a usable battery capacity of 98 kWh, so if you average 1.2 miles per kWh, you could exhaust the entire pack in only 117 miles. I own a Lightning, it's an Extended Range Lariat with the larger 131 kWh battery pack, so I have a little experience with Lightning driving efficiency and consumption rates.
I've also done 70-mph range tests on both standard range and extended range Lightning and finished up the tests with consumption rates of 2.2 mi/kWh and 2.1 mi/kWh respectively. However, that was in warmer weather, and the Lightning, like all electric vehicles, isn't as efficient in colder temperatures so the consumption rate will go up as the temperature goes down.
The F-150 Lightning's energy use screen is a useful tool to show owners the energy use breakdown
But I also already have considerable experience driving mine in colder weather and have been driving it with temperatures in the 20s and 30s (even colder than the temperature during Hoover's drive) for the past month or two. I haven't been parking my Lightning in the garage because I've been doing a lot of video recordings there so I've also been cold-soaking the battery overnight. The last couple of days I did a lot of highway driving (70 to 80 mph) and there have been winds, probably in the 10 to 12 mph range, and I've averaged 1.6 mi/kWh over 189 miles of driving. The heat was cranking the entire time I was driving and I used the cabin preheating feature just about every time I started a journey.
The cabin preheating feature uses energy and that had a negative impact on the consumption rate even more. Without preheating the cabin each time I use the truck, I'm averaging 1.8 mi/kWh on most trips now that it's colder. I don't think I could average 1.2 mi/kWh even with slightly higher winds, unless I was towing something, driving 85+ mph into an extreme headwind, or putting the truck in sport mode and stomping on it the entire time.
I have a pretty heavy right foot, so I'm not sure how my last 189 miles of driving, with 7 or 8 30-minute cabin preheating sessions, consumed 33% less energy per mile than Hoover's journey in the video. Averaging 1.6 mi/kWh compared to 1.2 mi/kWh would make a huge difference in a standard-range Lightning; about 40 more miles per charge, as a matter of fact.
There are a few possible causes as to why Hoover's 64-mile round trip was so inefficient. Was the headwind even worse than he believed it was? Were there extreme elevation changes along the route, because that would partially explain it? Was he driving it like a rented mule? Possibly - and he has every right to, but if so, he should have disclosed that in the video as it would be germane to a discussion on the driving range. Gas and diesel vehicles also have less driving range when they are driven inefficiently.
All electric vehicles suffer from range loss in the colder months, that's inevitable. But there are many things owners can do to mitigate the cold weather effects. Hoover's nearly 50% range loss (117 miles vs 230 mile EPA range rating) is possible, but the conditions need to be extreme for that to happen, and that didn't really seem to be the case in the video. I'm going to be doing a cold weather range test soon with my Lightning, so keep an eye out for that upcoming article.
I reached out to Ford to comment on the video and Hoover's driving range results. As expected, Ford didn't want to be critical of Hoover and only pointed out that there are a number of things that Lightning owners can do to extend the range of the vehicle, and apparently Hoover didn't follow any recommendations to prepare the vehicle for the optimal driving range.
Pre-conditioning your EV before traveling long distances in winter or even daily trips enables pre-heating of the high voltage battery to an optimal temperature using charger energy, saving battery energy for the road. This has a positive impact on range. -Dapo Adewusi, F-150 Lightning Engineering Manager
Ford recently published its advice on maximizing the F-150's driving range in the winter and preconditioning any electric vehicle in the winter is basic EV 101. Most days you don't need it because you won't be pushing the range limits but when you do, it really makes a considerable difference. I haven't been using the function much yet because I haven't been driving too far on any one day, but I do use the cabin preheating feature all of the time. You remotely start the vehicle through the app and it's nice and warm in about 10 minutes.
In addition to the cabin heat, the seat heaters automatically turn on as does the heated setting wheel. Speaking of which, Hoover complained that the heat was dramatically uneven on his heated steering wheel and one area was almost too hot for him to touch. My steering wheel heats up very evenly and I use it every day, but it is possible that there could be a problem with his steering wheel heater.
At the end of the video, when Hoovers announces that he has made up his mind to sell the Lightning that he "accidentally bought" three months ago and asked his followers if he should keep or flip it, he takes the vehicle to a Chevrolet dealership to have appraised. While there, he takes a GMC Hummer EV out for a spin and is very complimentary of the Hummer. It seems obvious the decision to sell the Lightning after making a few videos was probably made before he even drove it. It's common for YouTubers to buy vehicles, make some content and then move on to another vehicle, so why blame it on the range?
I found one particular part of the Hummer EV segment amusing. A minute or so after Hoover gushes over how amazing the fit and finish of the Hummer is, the Infinity roof leaks and water pours into the cabin twice, once at 12:15 and again at 12:42. Buy hey, what's a little water in the cabin among fans?
Hoover hit the Lightning with a few parting shots at the end including saying it feels like a dinosaur compared to the Hummer EV. He didn't give any specifics as to what he meant by that but I'd be interested in hearing his reasoning. I've driven both vehicles many thousands of miles more than he has and I can't come up with a reason to make a statement like that other than taking artistic liberty to align with the intended narrative of his Lightning video series.
The Hummer is a really cool EV and definitely has some advantages over the Lightning, but I think the Lightning is a more compelling option as a daily driver and it's definitely more useful as a work truck, which will be a big part of the Lightning's customer base. I recently cited my specific reasons for choosing the Lightning over a Hummer EV in a video and article here on InsideEVs.
The Hoovies Garage F-150 Lightning video series is likely coming to an end now that Hoover and his partner have sold the vehicle but they are worth watching for, at the very least, entertainment purposes, just don't take them too seriously. So check out the Hoovies Garage video and let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.