Doug DeMuro reviews the new electric Ford F150 Lightning

Sad that importing them is no longer an option in many states, and many people are getting their registrations revoked on cars that they had previously imported and registered legally.

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I wonder if the “no resale” rule applies if you sell it outside the country? There are a lot of people in Mexico who would happily take keis off the hands of USians who couldn’t drive them anymore.

Down here, anything goes; from ATVs to tuk-tuk styled food vendors, as long as it’s licensed (if it needs it).

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I like trucks and have a had a few, including in F-100 long ago. But this thing, like its ICE brother, seems ridiculously large and high and inefficient. Pretty ugly too.

Also: a “review” wherein the “reviewer” doesn’t actually drive the vehicle but just touts its features, can’t really be considered a review at all.

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Funny you should mention that. I was at the top of McClure Pass in Colorado (20mi from cell service or any gas station) last week sitting in my Prius looking for elk. A guy pulls over in a Tesla and asks for a jack, says he has a flat tire. I say “you don’t have a jack??” I was puzzled. He said Tesla’s don’t come with a jack. “But, you have a spare tire?” He did (apparently he had purchased new wheels and tires and was lugging one of the old ones around inside as a back up. He told me Tesla will “sell you a spare tire kit but they’re out of stock”). I loaned him my weenie little Prius jack and he managed to change the tire. He did say “it was a little precarious there for a minute” which judging by his bloody knuckle, it was.

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I’d say he got lucky.

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Yeah, I kept skipping forward in the video to get to that part, which never came.

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The F-150 is as small as it can be and still be able to tow a fairly big travel trailer. Electrical motors have plenty of torque, but the physical reality is that size is required to maintain stability, especially when the trailer outweighs the tow vehicle. Anything with a smaller wheelbase won’t be able to maintain control of the rig in difficult conditions, such as the sudden crosswind change you might experience going under a bridge. The Lightning will be able to tow a 30’ travel trailer safely, although likely with poor range.

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There were 5 or so available in the Oakland/San Leandro area a few weeks ago in the $22-26k range, I planned to go check them out.

Apparently they’re all sold. I guess the secret is out.

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I never click on anything Doug DeMuro related.

If someone is reviewing an electric vehicle and the first thing they talk about isn’t range, recharging time, weight limits, things like that, I’m immediately turned off. Instead of a reviewer he should be a car salesman because they love to talk about the frivolous crap he spent the first 12 or so minutes on.

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Some people may need that capability, but most truck owners will never tow anything near a 30’ long trailer. A Ford Ranger with tow package can pull a 7500 lb trailer which is enough for a 23’ airstream. And there are plenty of decent trailers smaller than that. Many perfectly decent trailers can be hauled by the Maverick (up to 4000 lb towing capacity).

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This, ALL THIS. If IEEE and SAE had joined up to layout some standardized setups for specific vehicle classes you could see a lot easier implementation of things. Specifics for individual pack design, integration, specifics for power regulation, hell 90% of the drive train could be standardized.

I realize that America is all rah-rah about competition (especially between US companies) and that in the 50’s-70’s cars were simplistic as all get out, but damn if some government regulation had been put in place for common components. There is little reason that a coil pack can’t be an off the shelf item across all manufactures. I’ll just skip to the end where I mumble about corporate lobbying, capitalism, and the American way.

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Except batteries are not interchangeable, like gasoline.

Batteries carry a bunch of physical and electrical requirements not present when all you’re trying to do is contain a flammable liquid. Useful SAE standards for battery packs would need to specify everything battery related, like physical size, electrical interfaces, physical mounting interfaces, crash protection, fire protection, outgassing and cell failure safety, etc. What you’re wishing for would be equivalent to wanting a single gas tank that fit all cars; the filler neck would be in a fixed location so the car’s fender would have to be at a certain point, the mounting straps would have to be standardized, the fuel indicator wires would have to be made with a specific plug and the data they send would have to be fixed on the CAN BUS, the filter would be in a certain place, etc., etc., etc.

And each requirement that’s imposed by the standard comes with extra design or performance constraints or penalties.

Extra fire/physical protection restrictions would bulk up battery packs when the Tesla’s vehicle design already accounts for them. A Tesla battery pack can be made fragile, light, and small, because it’s not designed to be field replaced at a gas station, or by a shade tree mechanic. If these things were commodity items, they’d have to have common mounting hardware, reinforced containers, etc. Those things take up volume that would have to be met by reducing the number of cells, probably by about 5%. And they add mass, which would further reduce the car’s range.

Part of Tesla’s magic sauce is their battery management, which is chock full of clever patents protecting how they manage battery and cell life, battery cooling and heating, and how they absorb the sudden bursts of energy generated by dynamic braking.

Tesla’s battery banks are actively managed by computers external to the batteries themselves, so that makes for a horrific complex computer interface that needs to be a part of the battery interface.

Tesla batteries are actively cooled (and heated) by a coolant fluid. When they get hot while charging, the fluid carries the excess heat away to a radiator. When the car is sitting in a Minnesota driveway at -20F, the motor essentially “shivers”, warming its portion of the fluid which is then circulated around the batteries, keeping them from freezing.

Battery form factor is an issue. While other electric car makers are using squishy li-po bags like in cell phones and laptops, Tesla’s are designed around standard cylindrical 18650 li-po cells that don’t have the same issues with expansion and puncturing.

Battery chemistry is another issue. GM’s batteries are Li-Fe, and I think Ford was some other Li-ion chemistry. They’re basing decisions on economics: they’re designing based on the cheapest or most available minerals they can get. And all of these chemistries require different and incompatible charging profiles – get a charging profile wrong, and you win one free fireworks show courtesy of your car.

Even at Tesla the battery modules aren’t exactly fixed. Tesla changed their batteries between models. They went from 375 volts in the Model S to 350 volts in the Model 3. Pack sizes also change based on the range, from 16 modules of 444 cells for 7,104 total cells in the 85 kWh pack to 14 modules of 384 cells for 5,376 total cells in the 60 kWh pack.

If they were locked into a fixed format pack, they wouldn’t be able to optimize designs beyond what they already have. And if they were locked into a fixed format with other manufacturers via an SAE standard, there’d be even less room to optimize.

So while it sounds good to wish for a big old tray of batteries you simply slide in and out between any car, the reality of just making the batteries work is preventing that today.

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