One soon-to-be owner of a Ford F-150 Lightning found a way to view his truck’s location before it was ever shipped. That allowed him to track its every move near the Rouge Electric Vehicle plant in Dearborn, Michigan and proved to be a good party trick in a Lightning owners’ Facebook group. However, once word started to spread, he lost all access to the truck’s location data.
EV modder Jim Klafehn was eagerly awaiting his truck after it was built earlier in May. As any excited owner of a connected car would do, Klafehn began to set the truck up on the automaker’s mobile app, called FordPass. Normally, this is something that can only be done after delivery, but to his surprise, he was able to add the vehicle right then. It began showing the real-time location of the truck after it left the factory.
In order to add a vehicle to FordPass, the owner must request the connection from the app on their phone and then subsequently accept the request via the infotainment screen. The trick, according to several people who claim to have pulled this off themselves, is requesting access in the FordPass app and hoping that someone is not only in the truck when the request is sent, but also approves the request. Obviously, that’s a tall order when the vehicle is still in Ford’s hands. What’s even weirder is that this process seems to be wildly inconsistent. Others say they received an error message in the FordPass app that tells them to wait until they have taken delivery of their vehicle before attempting to activate it.
When Klafehn first located the truck, the map placed it near Ford’s Taylor Properties, which is about eight miles away from the plant where the Lightning is built. It’s not clear what this building is used for; however, a quick check on Google Street View shows a lot full of brand new trucks, meaning it may be used as a temporary storage facility before a vehicle is transported to a dealership.
The following day, Klafehn noticed that his truck-to-be was parked at the Roush plant in Allen Park, about two miles away from its previous pin. This same campus is where Ford’s Vehicle Performance and Electrification Center is located. It’s another unknown why the Lightning was parked here, though AutoEvolution says that this plant is the last stop before vehicles are shipped to the dealer. Another owner who appears to have had access to FordPass mentions that his Lightning was also parked at the Roush facility for several days.
Unfortunately, this would be the last time Klafehn’s truck’s location would be posted on Facebook.
Several hours after AutoEvolution article was published, Klafehn received a notification on his phone that the truck had been removed from his FordPass app. It’s not immediately clear why the vehicle was removed, though it’s possible that the vehicle may have been placed in Transport Mode. This disables certain features to reduce the drain on the vehicle’s 12-volt battery while it’s being transported to the dealership. It’s also possible that Ford may have removed the truck from Klafehn’s app after realizing that he had access ahead of delivery. Ford didn’t respond to my request for comment at the time of writing.
Klafehn says that by the time his truck was disconnected from the app, it had around 50 miles on the odometer.
This was definitely a unique situation for any owner-to-be, and while it may have been a mistake that Klafehn was granted access, it would admittedly be cool to watch your new toy travel the logistics line after being built. It’s almost like following a live delivery of your Amazon package, except significantly more expensive and one of the most hotly anticipated electric vehicles to ever hit the highway.