F-150 Lightning Software LOL

Sure, I drive a Tesla, so maybe take my opinion with a grain of salt. I did spend a lot more money on the Ford than the Tesla, though, so while my dad and I agree that the Ford build quality is really good (not to say anything about comparing a heavy-duty vehicle with a lower-ish end luxury sedan at almost half the price), we both also agree that the software on the Ford is not that good.

First of all, the Sync navigation just feels like something from 2005. It looks more like a 2005 nav polished with 2015 UI makeover. Last time I checked this truck was model year 2022, a good 7 years too old for the most software-advance Ford. Oh did I tell you how Sync on nav would crash like one out of ten times? Not to mention on basic routing, it’s just outright worse than Google Maps maybe one out of three or four times (as in, give a worse route)? Like many OEM dashes they get a pass as long as it has Android Auto/Apple Carplay, and this is a bad trend of big car companies just not doing their homework because they don’t have to in order to be market-competitive, and the engineering debt comes to bite them in the rear.

But yes, it has wireless AA/Carplay and it’s pretty good when it works. It is definitely kind of finicky. Sometimes I would put my phone on the wireless charger pad and it still wouldn’t connect, maybe one out of 10-20 times. Usually it will connect as long as it’s in a pocket near the console, and not covered up heavily by coats or something. Whatever. Wired does work.

What prompts me to write this post, besides mild procrastination, is that software updates are stuck. Turns out there’s a winter 2022 patch that updates the “Distance To Empty” algo in cold weather to be more accurate. About half of F-150 Lightning owners were able to install it no problem. The other half have to basically resort to Konami Contra cheat codes to fix the issue, and that’s only some of the time. I got as far as manually charging the 12v, because the truck normally isn’t plugged in. And no luck. I think Ford definitely screwed the pooch on the 12v arch design here. This is a heavy duty truck, and if all those subsystems are just going to cross over from the gas F-150, the battery needs to be equally beefy. It is not, in the Lightning.

This software update is cumulative, which means if you can’t get it installed, you can’t get any subsequent installed. I hope they’re looking at their installation base and seeing that dropoff. And good luck getting the dealer to fix it, because they’re even less clueful than most owners.

On the plus side, Bluecruise is excellent when it works. The UX needs work because it’s not always clear when it’s enabled, when it’s partially enabled (eg., hands free versus not), and when you can or cannot enable it. The dash is just cluttered with junk data that I don’t really need, but it’s there due to inertia, so that’s part of the problem. You can see how the Old literally is holding back the New in this case. Compared against the EAP Autopilot, it’s about on par, minus the auto lane change feature which is very sweet, but maybe not $6000 sweet. I think Bluecruise is free for another year? Or something? Then there’s a subscription. Sigh.

I guess I’ll try the cheat code when the weather is warmer. I mean at least this wasn’t a 2021 VW ID4, right? Now that was a hellish software update problem.