Ford is getting its F-150 Lightning electric truck ready for extreme cold, not just California


Ahead of its scheduled arrival in dealerships later this year, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has been undergoing cold weather testing in Alaska.

While cold weather can affect EV range, this testing program primarily has to do with the powertrain, according to a Ford press release. For this so-called \”low-mu\” testing—the Greek letter mu typically represents the coefficient of friction in engineering and physics—engineers focused on how the dual-motor powertrain adjusted power to the wheels on low-traction surfaces. Once dialed in, the quick torque delivery should be an asset in wintry conditions, the automaker promises.

A fleet of six test mules were driven on a variety of surfaces, including loose snow, packed-groomed snow, ice, and half ice-half concrete surfaces, Ford said. All in freezing temperatures.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning cold-weather testing in Alaska

In addition to Alaska, engineers have conducted similar lo-mu testing in Michigan\’s Upper Peninsula, Borrego Springs and Johnson Valley in California, and at Ford\’s Michigan Proving Grounds near Romeo, Michigan, the automaker noted. And recently, we got a feel for the Lightning\’s traction finesse in a ride-along on some gravel roads.

Although this is primarily about the traction systems and not the battery, it goes to show that Ford isn\’t focusing the Lightning toward California, or other ZEV states in particular, and it fully expected customers in the northern plains—or even Alaska.

This appears to parallel a message Ford also made with the Mach-E—that its appeal goes well beyond the California bubble. Further, Ford has underscored that most F-150 Lightning intenders are EV newbies, indicating the truck is generating interest among consumers beyond the early adopters that fueled the first wave of EV purchases.


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