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Dear Ford, about my 2023 Lightning.....

nanohead

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Thank you for building and delivering my 2023 F150 Lightning Lariat. Its a really nice truck, and the effort put into getting it to market shows. We love driving it, and as expected, the hardware is fantastic. The software and control systems though, well, we need to talk.

For the record, I am a many time Ford customer, also own a Mach E, traded a 2021 Ranger for the Lightning, also own a 15 F150XL and have owned another 10 or so Ford cars over the years.

Now, as this is the first winter where there are F150 Lightnings in the field being used by actual human beings for work, play and just living their lives, there are some very important details that are causing many of us significant grief, which borders on massive frustration for lots of otherwise generally satisfied customers.

We all know that winter temperatures are not kind to battery based vehicles. But the details as outlined by Darren Palmer in his recent SOC video that most of us are trying to use to navigate the winter simply don't work.... at all for many of us.

First and foremost, the concept of "Preconditioning" does not work 99.9% of the time. The scheduling mechanism is basically useless to anyone who cannot plan the exact time they need their truck and its batteries heated up. And even if I for example, actually know when I'll be leaving, the schedule won't work. Either because what it says on the barely functional Fordpass app is wrong, or it cannot communicate with the truck, or its hung spinning its wheel trying to poll the truck, or it gets back incorrect data, or Forpass gives some nonsensical error message with a red notation. And why in the world can't I simply kick off a Precondition on an ad hoc basis when I need to, you know, use the truck in the next 45 minutes or so. This whole affair is not well thought through.

So the actual range improvement I would hope to get with heated batteries, well, that's not working. And of course, no one can give us a straight answer as to whether the Remote Start via Fordpass, actually heats the battery as well. This seems to be a very important corporate secret that we owners are not allowed to know.

Of course, even if I wanted to Remote Start the Lightning because its like, 20 degrees outside, I'll probably have to go outside in the snow in the dark, open the Frunk, expose the 12 Volt battery, disconnect it, wait a couple of seconds, then reconnect it, and then pray that I can then close the Frunk, and hope that I can then Remote Start after force closing Fordpass, restarting it and praying it will connect. Seems pretty convenient on a $90K truck. And thankfully, if I can remote start it, its anyones guess if the cabin heat or heated seats will also turn on.

Of course, as you deleted my Heated Steering Wheel, that will be ice cold. And the clarity around whether the Heated Steering Wheel will be rectified in the field by the large dealer body is stellar. No 2 dealers have the same information and customer service has no idea. Again, yet another deep corporate secret that we owners are not allowed to know. While I get that it was easier to delete a key feature in order to get the truck built in a timely fashion, providing zero guidance on what the future of the Heated Steering Wheel may be, is shabby, again, on a $90K vehicle.

Much of this is moot through, as Fordpass much of the time, is almost completely useless. While its never been great, it gets slower, with more disconnects, and more hangs than ever. I cannot rely on it at all anymore for the Lightning (nor the Mach E for that matter). Its constantly refreshing, spinning, and returning incorrect data. Yes yes, I've cleared cache, cleared storage, deleted, resinstalled, etc. But it never really changes anything. The software simply sucks. And thats even if I don't have to open the Frunk and disconnect the 12 Volt battery. And don't get me started on Phone as a Key. If you expect us to rely on mobile software and devices to manage our vehicles, well, that software should be stable and reliable, which of course, it is neither.

There are other kinks to be worked out as well. One of my current favorites now that winter and road salt season is upon us is how the truck screams at me that Adaptive Cruise Control is disabled due to the sensor, even after I disable Adaptive Cruise Control! Now that's not distracting at all, with the truck throwing error messages and warnings while I'm minding my own business moving down the highway with cruise control trying to preserve battery to get to my destination because Preconditioning didn't work yet again.

To be fair, I do generally love the Lightning (as well the Mach E). They are what I basically had hoped, which are electric cars made by a real car maker, not a silicon valley hobbyist club. But as someone who's been in the software and technology business for decades, you could up your game in the software and control space.

In conclusion, might I suggest that you actually start fixing some of these things so we can all get through the winter with the tools you provided, but that don't actually work.

Sincerely, a frustrated Lightning owner that waited a year to get my truck but is starting to doubt my own judgement.

 

luebri

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I agree there are definitely gremlins and issues Ford needs to address.

That said I am definitely not having the scope of issues you are.


A) My preconditioning I would guess has worked 90% of the time minimum.

I do have the steering wheel doesn’t warm issue with preconditioning but you probably don’t want to hear me whine about that. My workaround has just been to time my preconditioning 30 minutes prior to actually departing. Then it lets me activate it when I get in.

As I side note you can warm the battery via setting your charge window to be prior to departure. When in doubt set it a little earlier then typical departure. Per Darren Palmers recommendation

B) Remote start via Ford pass has also been reasonably solid.

C) Fordpass in general is a bit flaky but a flick up of the screen on iOS to kill the app session and start a new app session works every time.

I will note I have strong Wi-Fi coverage in my garage but haven’t had any issues elsewhere either so I’m not sure my luck is related to that.
 

lightspeed

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LOL that silicon valley hobby club makes cars that have the lowest maintenance costs of all cars, plus their mobile app always works. But anyway...

Fordpass works for me 99% of the time including remote start. I'm not saying you're not having issues, just not sure what they are. The truck relies on the modem's connection to cellular network which is AT&T AFAIK, do you have good reception where you are?

Ford rep has said that you should ALWAYS set a departure time if you can plug in overnight. If you don't know exactly when, just set it earlier than you would ever need. Once preconditioned, the battery only loses a degree an hour or so. So just always set it to depart at 6am (or whatever) and if you actually leave at 8 it will still be conditioned.

If the FordPass app is giving you problems, set all of this in the truck itself.

Remote start does not heat the batteries. It is not equivalent to preconditioning.

They definitely could improve a lot of things, but the things you mention have solutions/workarounds.
 

GDN

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LOL that silicon valley hobby club makes cars that have the lowest maintenance costs of all cars, plus their mobile app always works. But anyway...
I may just have to steal this. I'm on record as a Tesla Fanboy and I love hearing them described like that. I struggle to understand why Ford can't at least just copy some of the most basic things that it took Tesla a few years to figure out. There is no need to reinvent this wheel. There is no excuse for a poorly working app as clunky as this one is. That is just one part.
 

jimfigler

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Fordpass and remote start work fine for me. I agree preconditioning is useless as my schedule never is the same.
 


Tony Burgh

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I must have a unicorn truck and fcsp. Everything works on both.

edit - why would I want to play games and watch youtube videos in my truck? I don’t want to drive my flat screens or iPad Either.
 

LUXMAN

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Supposedly these trucks have the ability to receive OTA software updates. Neither of our Trucks (we have 2) will update. We haven't received any in the 2 months we have owned them/
Now I have a Tesla as well, and those updates come through all the time with no issue...In the same garage on the same WiFi network.
Now, I actually dont care about the updates (mostly). I wanted a dumb car again like the LEAF I had. Just get in and drive. But I want the one update that will make my CARPLAY full screen in my PRO like in my wife's XLT.
So I spent a long time on the phone with @Ford Motor Company and they say we have bunch of updates available for both trucks.
She gave me a list of things to make sure of. Truck in Park. Brake Set. Headlights set to OFF (not Auto). 30 minutes of driving that day. The setting in the trucks set for Auto updates ..... and Nothing.
But at least I have a case number
 

sotek2345

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I may just have to steal this. I'm on record as a Tesla Fanboy and I love hearing them described like that. I struggle to understand why Ford can't at least just copy some of the most basic things that it took Tesla a few years to figure out. There is no need to reinvent this wheel. There is no excuse for a poorly working app as clunky as this one is. That is just one part.
Well - I guess fair is far since Tesla is spending so much time trying to reinvent the steering wheel :p
 

Joneii

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I’m not sure if something went wrong with the 2023’s, but my 2022 truck has been pretty great so far. There are issues that I hope they will get too (Pet Park, adjustable AC charging amp pull, a setting to disable Frunk beeping, a “generator “ mode that allows you to preset which functions power down while running propower, customizable instrument cluster display so I can program the information I want, etc…), but this is just a wish list and overall the truck is awesome. I wish my Tesla Model Y had a bigger frunk, that autopilot would work as well as Blue Cruise and it wouldn’t fight me for control of the vehicle, that I could plan a trip in the Tesla app, that it would charge at home at 70+ amps, that I didn’t need to pay for PPF to protect the non rugged front end, that the side cameras didn’t always say they were blocked just because I’m driving down a dark rural road at night with no ambient light, etc…. But, again, the Model Y is a great vehicle and this is just a wish list. The good news is that for the first time in automotive history many of our wishes may be granted by the OTA genie and this genie grants more than three wishes!
 

lightspeed

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Fordpass and remote start work fine for me. I agree preconditioning is useless as my schedule never is the same.
Ford says that you should ALWAYS set a departure time if you can plug in overnight in cold weather. If you don't know exactly when you're departing, just set it earlier than you would ever need.

Once preconditioned, the battery only loses about one degree an hour. So just set it to depart at 6am (or whatever) and if you actually leave at 9 it will only have lost 3 degrees.
 


sotek2345

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Ford says that you should ALWAYS set a departure time if you can plug in overnight in cold weather. If you don't know exactly when you're departing, just set it earlier than you would ever need.

Once preconditioned, the battery only loses about one degree an hour. So just set it to depart at 6am (or whatever) and if you actually leave at 9 it will only have lost 3 degrees.
I know Darren Palmer said that, but I would love to see someone with a good scanner back up that claim. It seems a little too good to be true.

Would be nice if pre-conditioning worked normally anyways. I am still at a 10% to 20% success rate.
 

ctuan13

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Thank you for building and delivering my 2023 F150 Lightning Lariat. Its a really nice truck, and the effort put into getting it to market shows. We love driving it, and as expected, the hardware is fantastic. The software and control systems though, well, we need to talk.

For the record, I am a many time Ford customer, also own a Mach E, traded a 2021 Ranger for the Lightning, also own a 15 F150XL and have owned another 10 or so Ford cars over the years.

Now, as this is the first winter where there are F150 Lightnings in the field being used by actual human beings for work, play and just living their lives, there are some very important details that are causing many of us significant grief, which borders on massive frustration for lots of otherwise generally satisfied customers.

We all know that winter temperatures are not kind to battery based vehicles. But the details as outlined by Darren Palmer in his recent SOC video that most of us are trying to use to navigate the winter simply don't work.... at all for many of us.

First and foremost, the concept of "Preconditioning" does not work 99.9% of the time. The scheduling mechanism is basically useless to anyone who cannot plan the exact time they need their truck and its batteries heated up. And even if I for example, actually know when I'll be leaving, the schedule won't work. Either because what it says on the barely functional Fordpass app is wrong, or it cannot communicate with the truck, or its hung spinning its wheel trying to poll the truck, or it gets back incorrect data, or Forpass gives some nonsensical error message with a red notation. And why in the world can't I simply kick off a Precondition on an ad hoc basis when I need to, you know, use the truck in the next 45 minutes or so. This whole affair is not well thought through.

So the actual range improvement I would hope to get with heated batteries, well, that's not working. And of course, no one can give us a straight answer as to whether the Remote Start via Fordpass, actually heats the battery as well. This seems to be a very important corporate secret that we owners are not allowed to know.

Of course, even if I wanted to Remote Start the Lightning because its like, 20 degrees outside, I'll probably have to go outside in the snow in the dark, open the Frunk, expose the 12 Volt battery, disconnect it, wait a couple of seconds, then reconnect it, and then pray that I can then close the Frunk, and hope that I can then Remote Start after force closing Fordpass, restarting it and praying it will connect. Seems pretty convenient on a $90K truck. And thankfully, if I can remote start it, its anyones guess if the cabin heat or heated seats will also turn on.

Of course, as you deleted my Heated Steering Wheel, that will be ice cold. And the clarity around whether the Heated Steering Wheel will be rectified in the field by the large dealer body is stellar. No 2 dealers have the same information and customer service has no idea. Again, yet another deep corporate secret that we owners are not allowed to know. While I get that it was easier to delete a key feature in order to get the truck built in a timely fashion, providing zero guidance on what the future of the Heated Steering Wheel may be, is shabby, again, on a $90K vehicle.

Much of this is moot through, as Fordpass much of the time, is almost completely useless. While its never been great, it gets slower, with more disconnects, and more hangs than ever. I cannot rely on it at all anymore for the Lightning (nor the Mach E for that matter). Its constantly refreshing, spinning, and returning incorrect data. Yes yes, I've cleared cache, cleared storage, deleted, resinstalled, etc. But it never really changes anything. The software simply sucks. And thats even if I don't have to open the Frunk and disconnect the 12 Volt battery. And don't get me started on Phone as a Key. If you expect us to rely on mobile software and devices to manage our vehicles, well, that software should be stable and reliable, which of course, it is neither.

There are other kinks to be worked out as well. One of my current favorites now that winter and road salt season is upon us is how the truck screams at me that Adaptive Cruise Control is disabled due to the sensor, even after I disable Adaptive Cruise Control! Now that's not distracting at all, with the truck throwing error messages and warnings while I'm minding my own business moving down the highway with cruise control trying to preserve battery to get to my destination because Preconditioning didn't work yet again.

To be fair, I do generally love the Lightning (as well the Mach E). They are what I basically had hoped, which are electric cars made by a real car maker, not a silicon valley hobbyist club. But as someone who's been in the software and technology business for decades, you could up your game in the software and control space.

In conclusion, might I suggest that you actually start fixing some of these things so we can all get through the winter with the tools you provided, but that don't actually work.

Sincerely, a frustrated Lightning owner that waited a year to get my truck but is starting to doubt my own judgement.
As someone who generally despises IOT technology and the cyber security risks and safety issues that come along with an internet connected vehicle, I have never used the Ford Pass app and likely never will and my modem is disabled and disconnected at all times except when checking for and/or installing an OTA.

That being said, I completely understand the utility, convenience and for some the necessity of such connected features. For those people, this degree of software incompetence is just plain unacceptable. Come on Ford, it's 2023, not 2003, tech companies figured this out 15 years ago surely you can figure it out now.

Regardless of whether someone uses the Ford pass app or not, there should be an easy way within the vehicle or on the app to initiate an immediate default "pre-condition". Yes yes, it won't heat up the battery to just the right temperature at just the right time, etc, but it will be more than good enough to drastically improve range and efficiency on a cold day. And for people like me that truly never know what their schedule will look like, the scheduled preconditioning feature is entirely useless.

In addition, while the Ford Pass app is plenty useful for those who either don't use it or have poor cell/internet connectivity, there should be a way to simply use the key to remote start the vehicle. Yeah yeah, the button that was previously used for remote start functionality was repurposed for the frunk, but that's still no excuse. A particular combination of button presses could easily have been programmed to initiate a remote start. With an electric vehicle that already has the functionality via an internet connected app, I just don't see why they couldn't include a "dumb" solution with the key.

And finally, yes, for those who have had features deleted, especially those who had their heated steering wheels or massaging seats deleted from their nearly 100K trucks, you need to offer a retrofit service at a later date. The idea that you'll just be stuck with a "parts shortage truck" is ludicrous.
 

jlwillia6

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I have a dumb question about preconditioning the batteries. I don’t have my Lightning yet, so maybe these questions have obvious answers.

I will keep my Lightning in a heated garage overnight. The temp stays around 55-60 degrees F. Is there any benefit to preconditioning at that temp? I then drive to work and park outside during the day not plugged into any charger. Can I schedule a precondition every weekday at around 4:00 pm when I plan to leave at about 5:00 to 5:30? Can I precondition on demand using the FordPass app?
 

TaxmanHog

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jimfigler

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Ford says that you should ALWAYS set a departure time if you can plug in overnight in cold weather. If you don't know exactly when you're departing, just set it earlier than you would ever need.

Once preconditioned, the battery only loses about one degree an hour. So just set it to depart at 6am (or whatever) and if you actually leave at 9 it will only have lost 3 degrees.
Problem with that is, my wife and I carpool. We normally take her company vehicle but at times something last minute comes up and we need to drive separately. I'm not setting a schedule for day and then deleting the schedule when I know it won't even be close to the same the following week. If they just had a button to precondition that I could activate while i'm lying in bed that morning at least it would have 60 to 90 minutes to precondition before I leave. So it is what it is, may garage is warmer than if it was parked outside.

 

 
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