Ford is getting its F-150 Lightning electric truck ready for extreme cold, not just California

Ahead of its scheduled arrival in dealerships later this year, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has been undergoing cold weather testing in Alaska.

While cold weather can affect EV range, this testing program primarily has to do with the powertrain, according to a Ford press release. For this so-called “low-mu” testing—the Greek letter mu typically represents the coefficient of friction in engineering and physics—engineers focused on how the dual-motor powertrain adjusted power to the wheels on low-traction surfaces. Once dialed in, the quick torque delivery should be an asset in wintry conditions, the automaker promises.

A fleet of six test mules were driven on a variety of surfaces, including loose snow, packed-groomed snow, ice, and half ice-half concrete surfaces, Ford said. All in freezing temperatures.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning cold-weather testing in Alaska

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning cold-weather testing in Alaska

In addition to Alaska, engineers have conducted similar lo-mu testing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Borrego Springs and Johnson Valley in California, and at Ford’s Michigan Proving Grounds near Romeo, Michigan, the automaker noted. And recently, we got a feel for the Lightning’s traction finesse in a ride-along on some gravel roads.

Although this is primarily about the traction systems and not the battery, it goes to show that Ford isn’t focusing the Lightning toward California

, or other ZEV states in particular, and it fully expected customers in the northern plains—or even Alaska.

This appears to parallel a message Ford also made with the Mach-E—that its appeal goes well beyond the California bubble. Further, Ford has underscored that most F-150 Lightning intenders are EV newbies, indicating the truck is generating interest among consumers beyond the early adopters that fueled the first wave of EV purchases.