- I tested the Ford F-150 Lightning electric vehicle in rural Texas.
- It’s a great truck all around, but its best feature is its front box, also known as a frunk.
- The Lightning Box is large and easy to access, providing both power and USB ports.
The new electric Ford F-150 offers a boatload of new features over the company’s gas-powered truck.
The F-150 Lightning, though heavy, promises speed to 60 mph in just over four seconds. It can share electricity from its giant battery pack with appliances, rear gear, or the owner’s home in the event of a power outage.
And while automatic backup power can be a life saver in an emergency, it’s not something owners use on a daily basis. For better or worse, it’s not an ability I had to see in action when I spent two days testing Lightning earlier in May.
What I’ve used—and what I’m convinced is Lightning’s greatest feature—is its front box. Ford calls it the Mega Power Frunk, which is a pretty silly name for a very useful feature.
Like most modern electric vehicles, the F-150 Lightning’s basic chassis looks like a giant electric skateboard. Its motors are mounted by its axles and its battery is mounted in its belly. This means Ford can do fun things with all the space a conventional engine doesn’t take up.
Launch the Lightning “hood,” and you’ll find a spacious cargo area larger than the trunk of a Toyota Corolla. Of course, trucks offer plenty of storage space as is. That’s kind of the point. But pickups generally lack a large, weather-resistant, lockable storage space, and the trunk adds to that.
It’s not only spacious – capable of pulling a few handbags and a maximum of 400 pounds – but it’s easy to access.
The entire grid area rises, revealing a load floor low enough for almost anyone to use. For comparison, the Rivian R1T, another electric truck, has a conventional hood, so you need to lower cargo into it from the top. This can be difficult for smaller people.
Imagine you are traveling with four people and a set of bikes or camping gear in bed. An extra box for bags and small items would be more than welcome. Or keep in mind that some owners may want to keep things in their truck permanently, but don’t leave them uncovered in bed.
And frunk offers some other great additions.
There is additional storage under the floor with a drain hole, so the owners can fill the bin with ice or with its hose. The removable board acts as a divider that can prevent groceries from sliding. There are a few hooks and anchor points for fixing the goods.
The “Mega Power” mentioned above comes in the form of USB ports and power outlets built into the wall of the box, opening up possibilities like chargers or power tools on the go.
Zero exhaust emissions and fast acceleration are great and all that. But I can see frunk’s Lightning as the factor driving some of the more reluctant buyers over the edge. And while I can immediately see just how useful the car is, future Lightning owners will certainly come up with a lot of innovative uses that no one expected.