90 Miles From Tyranny : Not a Joke: Ford Says Don't Use Heater in Electric Truck in Winter to Save Battery - But That's Not All

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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Not a Joke: Ford Says Don't Use Heater in Electric Truck in Winter to Save Battery - But That's Not All

Winter is coming.

OK, technically meteorological winter arrived last week, beginning as it does every year on Dec. 1. Astronomical winter, which is the one that shows up on your calendar as “First Day of Winter,” doesn’t kick off until Dec. 21.

But if you drive a Ford F-150 Lighting electric pickup truck, it may have felt like winter to you for quite a while already, especially if you live in a colder climate and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for extending the vehicle’s range during the snowy season.

Because I don’t want to be accused of taking anything out of context, I’m going to just list those recommendations in their entirety, commenting as I go. (I’ll put Ford’s wording in italics for clarity, and I won’t cut anything they wrote — you can double-check me here if you’re the less trusting sort.)

1. Park your F-150 Lightning in a garage whenever possible.

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I’d say that’s generally good advice for all vehicles. Keeping your car in a garage preserves its paint and wax jobs, as well as keeping it safer from vandalism and theft.

2. Keep your F-150 Lightning plugged in when parked.

Do the kids still say “duh” anymore? Because I feel like that’s the proper response here. “Want better battery life from your EV?” Ford seems to be asking. “Try plugging it in when you can.” Gee, thanks for the tip, Ford.

3. If planning a longer commute, precondition your vehicle using departure times to warm the battery while plugged-in by using the FordPass app or your trucks center screen.

This one raises several questions. Why is “plugged-in” hyphenated? Why does Ford allow people who don’t know how possessives work in English to publish on its website? Why would pre-warming your battery be more useful before “long commutes” than it would before short drives? A little explanation would be nice.

4. If equipped, use the heated seats and steering wheel as primary heat to reduce energy consumed by HVAC.

This is probably acceptable advice — if the temperature were, say, above 40 degrees. In the 40s and 50s, the heated seats would likely be sufficient to keep me comfortable. But there are parts of the country that don’t see 40 degrees for days, weeks, even months at a time. You’re going to tell people in Boston, Fargo or Nome to rely on heated seats? Do you even watch “Life Below Zero,” bro?

5. When charging, turn off the heater if possible, or lower the temperature enough to remain comfortable. (Especially when using DCFC)

DCFC, by the way, stands for “Direct Current Fast Charging,” which I hope electric vehicle owners know, because Ford made no effort to explain it on the page. Anyone trying to charge their vehicle using the Detroit City Football Club or a Death Cab for Cutie CD is going to be disappointed.

Again, this advice probably works adequately in...

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Ron Robot said...

Isn't the lates recommendation to park an EV outside, out of range of your home in the event the battery catches fire?

Anonymous said...

Given that we see below freezing temps most days from nov1 till mid april, and most days we will be -20C or colder so its not a vehicle that is practical here.


Unemployed said...

#4 Had a63 VW bug in the 70s. Had to steer with one hand and scape frost off windshield with the other. Ford lightening sounds like it would be Deja vu all over again.

JG said...

I saw a video on F150 EV pulling a light trailer and it could not go very far on a full charge. I also worry about any EV being affected by water and salt leading to fire, this has been seen in multiple states from FL, PA, to CA.

I also saw a video from England for an EV user that uses Charging Stations and he said that the changing stations are being vandalized for copper and other things so many more are going out of service. If it happens there criminals will do it here.

tsquared said...

And that is why I drive a F350 with a 6.7L diesel. I can use my air conditioned and heated seats and HVAC without it affecting the range.