Between 500 and 800 auto recalls are issued every year, affecting tens of millions of American vehicles. In fact, recalls have become so common that many drivers simply ignore them, which is a dangerous move. Fortunately, some automakers are making it possible to address recalls from the comfort of home. Ford’s F-150 Lightning electric truck is now subject to a recall, and Ford’s Blue Oval Intelligence feature is making the fix easier than ever before. But make no mistake: Ford’s over-the-air update capability has roots in Tesla’s decade of success.
2022 F-150 Lightning Recall
Ford Motor said Monday it will recall 2,906 F-150 Lightnings because a software issue could result in a failure to provide warning of low tire pressure. The 200,000 F-150 Lightning reservation holders are certainly relieved to find that this recall is not related to Ford’s all-new electric powertrain. In this particular recall, simple human error is at fault. Ford says that the recommended tire cold inflation pressure was incorrectly set to 35 psi instead of 42 psi.
No accidents have resulted from this F-150 Lightning recall, but it’s the fix that’s noteworthy. The recall gives Ford a publicized opportunity to show the world that the F-150 Lightning is OTA capable. Over-the-air (OTA) updates have long been a top selling point of Tesla’s electric vehicles. By enabling vehicle software updates over a home wifi internet connection, OTA updates are convenient for both drivers and automakers alike.
Ford’s first OTA updates were rolled out to the Mustang Mach-E in 2021. As successful as the Mustang Mach-E has been for Ford, the F-150 Lightning is on another level with hundreds of thousands of reservations, and unruly dealer markups souring its reputation to some.
The Limitations of Ford’s OTA Updates
To date, Ford has demonstrated its ability to send software over-the-air updates to its electric vehicles. Software OTA fixes are not as transformative as the firmware OTA fixes that Tesla has implemented. On numerous occasions, Tesla has sent OTA updates that addressed aspects of charging, acceleration, efficiency and range. We’ve yet to see Ford implement firmware OTA updates, but the automaker claims that Blue Oval Intelligence will be capable of doing so when the need arises.
OTA Updates Coming to Other Automakers
In 2022, just about every automaker claims to be bringing over-the-air updates to their future lineups. General Motors was an early pioneer of OTA updates, having tried it out with OnStar way back in 2009. The second generation of GM’s OTA updates was launched in 2019 as Vehicle Intelligence Platform (VIP). VIP now enables OTA updates for nearly every vehicle control module, not just infotainment. GM’s latest software platform is advancing OTA update capability to new heights. Ultifi is designed to provide more frequent OTA updates, similar to how Tesla owners are accustomed to.
Other legacy automakers are a bit behind the curve. The likes of Hyundai, Honda, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen group are all offering OTA updates for infotainment and navigation, but not much else at the moment. Electrek has a great breakdown of each automaker’s plans for OTA updates.
Chinese automaker NIO is reportedly planning to enter the American market with several OTA-capable models. NIO’s over-the-air update capabilities are second only to Tesla, with firmware-updates proven in the automaker’s overseas markets. NIO is more widely known for their battery swapping stations, which replace the need to wait around for a charge. Learn more about NIO coming to America.
Is the F-150 Lightning Still a Good Buy?
With up to 320 miles of range, decent charging speeds, powerful towing capabilities and the option of using the truck’s battery as a home generator, there’s a lot to love about the F-150 Lightning. What we don’t love are the dealer markups that have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. Is the F-150 Lightning a great deal at $40,000 to $90,000? Certainly. When dealers start adding $50,000 markups to this truck, it’s not doing the EV movement any favors.
Let us know what you think. Is the F-150 Lightning comparable to a Tesla, or is it too early in the game to make such bold claims? How much would you pay for an electric work truck? Are EV incentives enough for you to make the switch? Let us know!