Ford told dealers in an internal communication that the F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup would not come equipped with the “Phone-as-a-Key” feature, but would be enabled with a software update in late summer 2022.
Ford’s “Phone-as-a-Key” feature literally turns an owner’s phone into their lifeline for their vehicle. They can start, unlock and lock, and open the liftgate without needing a traditional key fob. Bluetooth must be turned on and you must be within 130 feet of the vehicle to utilize the features, Ford said.
However, the feature won’t be available on the new F-150 Lightning, Ford’s fully-electric version of its best-selling pickup. Instead, the feature will be rolled out to owners in late Summer 2022 through an Over-the-Air software update.
Ford wrote (via LightningOwners Forum):
“2022 F-150 Lightning vehicles equipped with the Phone-as-a-Key feature will require a software update to enable this feature, which is expected to deploy to vehicles via an over-the-air (OTA) software update late summer of 2022. This feature is currently not enabled, and customers will not have the option to set up Phone-as-a-Key upon vehicle delivery. No repairs should be attempted at this time. To ensure vehicles can receive OTA software updates, customers should make sure their Vehicle Connectivity Settings are set to ON. Additionally, a software update for the remote function actuator (RFA) module is expected to be available in Ford Diagnosis and Repair System (FDRS). Continue to monitor OASIS for updates.”
It is currently unclear as to why Ford is not allowing the feature to be rolled out to other vehicles at this time, but it may have to do with a report that focused on the ease of hacking cars utilizing BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) locks, which are commonly used for car and house locks.
The report showed vehicles could be unlocked and even driven with the use of a low-frequency device plugged into a laptop. Performed on a Tesla Model Y, hackers from cybersecurity firm NCC Group said, “This proves that any product relying on a trusted BLE connection is vulnerable to attacks even from the other side of the world.”
Ford did not immediately respond to our request for comment.
The F-150 Lightning officially entered production on April 24 with initial deliveries slated to begin soon. Ford CEO Jim Farley recently shared a video of F-150 Lightning units being loaded onto a vehicle hauler, presumably making its way to dealerships around the country.
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