Ford's been busy getting the F-150 Lightning ready for the springtime launch, including some recent cold-weather testing. On one of the final was one of the final cold-weather testing trips up to Alaska, the Lightning team took some time to shoot some video and take some pictures of the electric pickup having some fun in the snow.
Cold weather testing is an important part of vehicle validation regardless of the type of powertrain, but for electric vehicles, it may be even more important.
That's because automakers are still trying to figure out the impact that the cold weather has on the vehicle's performance and driving range. EVs are a relatively new technology, and different battery chemistries have different performance characteristics in very hot and very cold weather conditions, so the OEMs still have a lot to learn.
Alaska's tough; it's brutally cold, and that's why we're here. - Cameron Dillon, F-150 Lightning Powertrain Performance Engineer
This round of testing was one of the final sessions before the springtime launch and included temperatures as low as -30° Fahrenheit (-34° Celsius) and lasted for 14 days. A team of eleven Ford engineers was there fine-tuning the F-150 Lightning’s performance on low-traction surfaces like snow and ice for twelve hours per day for the two weeks.
F-150 Lightning in the snow is a very different ballgame compared to a gas vehicle because it's almost like having two engines in the same vehicle. - Nicholas Harris, F-150 Lightning Powertrain Safety Engineer
Ford's engineers discuss how the instant response of the all-electric powertrain offers the ability to sense wheel slip and adjust power to the wheels within milliseconds. That allows them to dial in the traction control systems even more precisely than they can with their conventionally-fueled trucks.
Gallery: Ford F-150 Lightning Cold Weather Testing in Alaska
The F-150 Lightning is scheduled to launch in about three months, and some customers have received notice from Ford of build dates as early as May 2nd, which is only two months away.
It appears that Ford will be able to stick to its original launch date, weathering the challenges of COVID-related factory shutdowns and the unprecedented supply chain issues that are wreaking havoc on the automobile industry.