Home » The 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash Is Ford’s First Electric Pickup With A Heat Pump

The 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash Is Ford’s First Electric Pickup With A Heat Pump

F 150 Lightning Flash Ts2
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The high-value trim is a time-honored automotive tradition, and the 2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash is the latest example of that. Basically, often to spur sales, automakers bundle together a handful of features that consumers want and sell a vehicle so equipped for less money than the next trim level up, which often includes the desirable features floating on a sea of fluff. As you’d probably expect, the F-150 Lightning Flash sits between the XLT and Lariat trims, although its feature content leans further to the latter than the former.

F 150 Lightning Flash 3

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The largest component of the Lightning Flash is its extended-range battery pack, a 131 kWh monster good for 320 miles of EPA-rated range. Don’t expect to charge this electric truck quickly at home, but all that battery capacity could really come in handy on road trips. However, the F-150 Lightning XLT is already available with the big battery, so what does the Flash give you over the XLT?

Preproduction Screens Shown. Actual Screens May Vary.

A basket of tech, that’s what. The portrait-style 15.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system from the Lariat has been downloaded to this mid-range value trim, as has the loud B&O sound system and wireless phone charging. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ford’s iconic Securicode keypad rounds out the list of additional luxury gizmos. That’s a decent round of kit to make this electric pickup truck feel more premium, as it should with a proper luxury truck price tag. However, the best part of the F-150 Lightning Flash might just be hiding inside the dashboard.

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F 150 Lightning Flash 2

Buried deep down in the press release sits this gem: “Heat pump to optimize the vehicle’s energy consumption.” Yes indeed, Ford has boarded the heat pump bandwagon, and I have a feeling upcoming owners will thank the automaker for doing so. So what is a heat pump? Well, it’s like a refrigerator in reverse. In cold weather, the system compresses a refrigerant, which heats up as it’s compressed. It then flows through a condenser typically located in the bulkhead or behind the dashboard, where the heat can dissipate from the refrigerant and be wafted into the cabin. It’s an efficient way of warming the cabin in cooler climates, and that efficiency can boost range substantially over using a resistance heater alone.

So why hasn’t Ford employed a heat pump before? Well, one possible reason could be the harsh North American climate. Once things get properly cold, like below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, EV heat pumps may actually be less efficient than just running the resistance heater. This shouldn’t be a huge problem for Pacific Northwesterners, but in, say, Detroit in January, a heat pump might not be the best solution. Still, for cooler climates, a heat pump should prove valuable in sweater season and beyond.

F 150 Lightning Flash 4

At the time of writing, Ford hadn’t released detailed pricing, but it did announce that the 2024 F-150 Lightning Flash will cost $69,995 excluding an unspecified freight charge. As it stands, the 2023 F-150 Lightning XLT with the extended range battery pack also costs $69,995 excluding freight, so to get more toys and a heat pump for similar money seems like a solid deal. However, shoppers can’t just hop online and order the latest Lightning right now — they’ll have to wait for order books to open in early 2024.

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(Photo credits: Ford)

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Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago

I am 100% here for absurd F-150 trim names with disconcerting connotations.

Ford F-150 Flash
Ford F-150 Flashover
Ford F-150 Arc Blast
Ford F-150 Lockout
Ford F-150 Tagout
Ford F-150 Bolted Fault
Ford F-150 Hot Stick
Ford F-150 Hot Work Permit
Ford F-150 Limited Approach
Ford F-150 AED
Ford F-150 3rd Degree
Ford F-150 Surge
Ford F-150 Inrush
Ford F-150 Ground Relay
Ford F-150 Breaker

Last edited 9 months ago by Thevenin
Look, a Volvo!
Look, a Volvo!
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

“What flavor of F-150 do you prefer? My personal pick is the Surge.”

Andy Farrell
Andy Farrell
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

You forgot the Ford F-150 Ground Fault

Joe The Drummer
Joe The Drummer
9 months ago

That’s great!

How long will it work after the gasket fails on your taillight lens and water gets in there?

Sid Bridge
Sid Bridge
9 months ago

I would find the $69,995 that I don’t have and buy this truck if the door chime was Queen’s Flash Gordon. Basically, if you’re going to call a truck “Flash”, it better shout “FLASH! Ah-ahhhhh!” every time the door is opened.

OFFLINE
OFFLINE
9 months ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

You win the Internet today. #COTD

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
9 months ago
Reply to  OFFLINE

Seconded.

Cheap Bastard
Cheap Bastard
9 months ago
Reply to  Sid Bridge

Also the horn

MrLM002
MrLM002
9 months ago

I have a hard time calling the Lightning a F-150 when it only comes in one cab, bed, and seating configuration. currently it has as many cab, bed, and seating configurations as the unibody Maverick, which is to say one.

At least offer a chassis cab option FFS!

Ffoc01
Ffoc01
9 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

It’s there already. Remove the 6 bolts holding the bed down and the 4 nuts holding the rear bumper on and VOILA!

MrLM002
MrLM002
9 months ago
Reply to  Ffoc01

Then what do I do with the bed? Take it to the recycling center so they can put it with the aluminum cans. If I’m replacing the bed I don’t need the bed.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
9 months ago

On the way to “proper cold”, you’ve got to swing past “jacket weather” once on the way in, and again on the way out.

I’m sure someone’s done the calculations on heat pump vs resistance heater. Who’s got it?

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

The efficiency of a PTC/resistance heater is very close to 1. Remember that in other electronics, inefficiency means electrical energy got wasted as heat, so heaters are normally extremely efficient.

The efficiency of a heat pump is usually measured in coefficient of performance or COP, which is how many units of heat come out the hot side for each unit of electricity. In typical target temperatures, the COP is around 4, but at -5°F, it typically drops to 1.5. Any lower and it approaches 1. If a heat pump can’t move heat (maybe it’s too cold out or the vent is blocked), then the heat coming out is “waste” heat from the motor, acting like a resistance heater.

Because of this, a heat pump is never less “efficient” than a PTC heater the way Thomas Hundal suggests.

A PTC heater can crank out more BTUs in a smaller cheaper package, though, so in that sense a heat pump could be considered less “efficient.”

Fourmotioneer
Fourmotioneer
9 months ago
Reply to  Thevenin

Heat pump system not utilizing phase change and just using shaft work can still have modest heat transfer from within the compressor itself that does not reach the refrigerant. So almost not never?

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago
Reply to  Fourmotioneer

Oh yeah, absolutely. Not all the heat from a PTC makes it to the coolant/air, either. That’s the fault of the mounting or circulation system, so we don’t typically count it against the heater’s own efficiency.

Rippstik
Rippstik
9 months ago

I thought the F-150 Rattler was poor naming… F-150 Flash seems like a deadly thing to call an EV

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

Lightning Arc

Squirrelmaster
Squirrelmaster
9 months ago
Reply to  DadBod

As someone who has done more than their fair share of medium voltage electrical arc flash studies, as well as arc flash incident investigations, this is exactly what my mind went to when I saw the Flash name!

Dave Gutknecht
Dave Gutknecht
9 months ago
Reply to  Squirrelmaster

 I saw the Flash name!

Ford just doesn’t want to call it “The Flash” because DC will step in and want their cut. But many people will make the association and I am guessing that was a factor in Ford’s naming decision.

Thevenin
Thevenin
9 months ago
Reply to  Rippstik

It’s a terrible association, but if Ford leans into it and sells branded fire-resistant shirts to go with it, I’m on board just for the absurdity.

JaredTheGeek
JaredTheGeek
9 months ago

In some non scientific testing the heat pump in the Tesla out performed the resistance heater in a Colorado winter after a cold soak.

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago

The heat pump was a glaring omission in the Lightning, so kudos to Ford

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago

Would it make sense to create a hybrid climate system by using a resistance heater to warm a small enclosed area around the heat pump for extremely cold temperatures?

Mr. Canoehead
Mr. Canoehead
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

It’s not the area around the heat pump that is the issue, the system needs to warm the refrigerant with outside air (it’s basically AC running in reverse). If the outside air is too cold, there is too little heat available to warm the refrigerant.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
9 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Canoehead

I get that. I was thinking of something like resistance coils in a ceramic tube that could superheat the ambient air as it’s drawn into the heat pump. I don’t know if that would require more energy than just using a resistance heater for the whole cabin or if it could be done efficiently enough to allow the heat pump to work as designed. Wouldn’t the entering air temp only need to warmed above 30 degrees Fahrenheit for the heat pump to work? Probably take too much energy so nothing gained; I was just wondering about possibilities.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Heat pumps work far below freezing. They just don’t work well enough to be an efficient choice. Even the heat pump on my old house, with a massive amount of radiator would switch to gas heat around 20-25 degrees when its returned coolant wasn’t warm enough. You could force it to stay on heat pump only down to ~15, but it would start icing over the coils and other problems, as well as running constantly.

The amount of heat you’d need to supply to let the heat pump run on a -10 morning would be far more than just heating the cabin. These trucks still have to have resistance heaters, so not having both earlier was probably cost cutting and ease of packaging.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Heat pumps don’t make heat, they pull heat from the air. If the heat in the air is is from the resistive heat, you are just adding an extra step.

Fourmotioneer
Fourmotioneer
9 months ago

They do both. The compressor adds energy to the refrigerant in addition to the heat moved

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

Or, just have a resistance heater inside the cabin for ultra cold days and a heat pump for normal days.
My mk V Jetta GLI had the normal heater that uses engine heat but also had a resistance heater in the dash that would come on when you first started the car and put the heat on. It was a fantastic system.

anAutopian
anAutopian
9 months ago
Reply to  Canopysaurus

No need, just copy the leader. Run the motors lossy and gain heat from there. Watch WeberAuto Understanding Tesla’s Heat Pump System.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
9 months ago

My immediate thought was, “Ok, so what’s the default setting?”
-In the southern part of the country, home heat pumps will default to cool if there’s no voltage applied to the reversing valve. From approximately North Carolina and north, they are built to default to heat. I assume Ford won’t build 2 different setups —but that was my very first thought.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
9 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that it defaults to “off” and then the temperature you set it to, like every other HVAC system

Stig's Cousin
Stig's Cousin
9 months ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I don’t know much about heat pumps. Does it matter what the default setting is? Does it effect efficiency or how well it works in the non-default setting?

DadBod
DadBod
9 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

A heat pump usually can switch from cooling (pulling heat from inside air and dumping it outside) or heating (the reverse) by a manual switch or a setting in the thermostat.

Frankencamry
Frankencamry
9 months ago
Reply to  Stig's Cousin

No. The thermostat is all that matters, as the power for the reversing valve is negligible. This is like debating whether it’s better that your hands default to curled while your feet default to uncurled. It takes so little energy to overcome when needed that you don’t think about it.

TheHairyNug
TheHairyNug
9 months ago

I guess call me when there’s a 10 year old, used Maverick EV that I can pick up for $27k after government cheese handout

MrLM002
MrLM002
9 months ago
Reply to  TheHairyNug

Honestly there’s no reason why Ford can’t make a BEV Maverick that is range and cost competitive with the Nissan Leaf. Considering the Lightning is only available with a short bed 5 seat interior I think the batteries that go to the lightning would be better used in a BEV Maverick

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