Stick figure man will free you from F-150 Lightning frunk

·4 min read

Just look for the stick figure running man.

If for some reason you, or a kid you know, is inside the all-electric 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning front trunk (also known as a "frunk") and you close the hood, well, there's an easy escape.

The button inside the frunk, on the passenger side, will set you free.

Press it.

Ford F-150 Lightning quick release in the frunk allows for a safe exit in case of emergency.
Ford F-150 Lightning quick release in the frunk allows for a safe exit in case of emergency.

"The front trunk space is large," Joe Rocco, of Silver Spring, Maryland, told the Free Press on Thursday.

"We were playing hide and seek and my niece insisted both her and my wife could fit. Sure enough, they did,"  Rocco said. "I was still able to find them though. Her giggling gave it away a little bit."

After tweeting an image of the pair, he told the Free Press: "It was my niece's birthday and she loved the frunk. ... She kept wanting to play in the frunk."

Ashley Rocco, of Silver Spring, Maryland, left, is seated in the front trunk of a 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning with her niece Ollie. This image was taken June 10 in Frederick during a hide-and-seek break.
Ashley Rocco, of Silver Spring, Maryland, left, is seated in the front trunk of a 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning with her niece Ollie. This image was taken June 10 in Frederick during a hide-and-seek break.

People on Twitter have asked whether the frunk has an emergency release inside.

Yes, it does. By federal safety regulation.

The stick figure looks a little like Keith Haring's graffiti-inspired art.

Ford F-150 Lightning quick release in the frunk allows for a safe exit in case of emergency.
Ford F-150 Lightning quick release in the frunk allows for a safe exit in case of emergency.

The Lightning front trunk, which exists because the battery-operated electric vehicle has no engine taking up all that space, can hold 14.1 cubic feet of stuff and safely carry 400 pounds, known as payload.

A golfer can fit two big bags of clubs and extra gear.

Tailgaters fill it with ice and cases of beer and keep it open.

The space could easily be a naptime site if someone curled up a little.

Rocco tweeted a video June 18 of the hood of his big frunk closing after loading it.

Ford F-150 Lightning quick release in the frunk on the passenger side allows for a safe exit in case of emergency.
Ford F-150 Lightning quick release in the frunk on the passenger side allows for a safe exit in case of emergency.

Steve McInally, Ford F-150 Lightning frunk feature supervisor, told the Free Press on Thursday that the "Mega Power Frunk" is an industry game changer.

While other vehicles on the market may have a front trunk, the washable Lightning frunk is enormous. In addition to the emergency button, the Lightning frunk may be opened with the the key fob, the touch screen, the instrument panel, the door keypad, the customer’s phone via the Ford Pass app and an exterior manual button.

Glow in the dark quick release button inside the Ford F-150 Lightning frunk.
Glow in the dark quick release button inside the Ford F-150 Lightning frunk.

The emergency release inside the frunk is made with a phosphorescent plastic similar to a glow-in-the-dark Frisbee, so it's easy to find, McInally said.

4-year-old makes discovery

Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports, said safety releases inside trunks is common these days.

"There have been cases where kids have inadvertently gotten themselves stuck in a trunk and not been able to get out," he said Friday.

Tesla has them in its all-electric trunks. Porsche, too.

But an early experience at Toyota raised industry awareness about the need for a strong latch on the inside of a trunk space.

When Fisher was testing a Lexus in 2012, his 8-year-old son Ben asked about the glow-in-the-dark handle with a stick figure. He begged and pleaded to get his dad to close the trunk and test the handle, as part of the safety evaluation. Fisher hesitated, he said, but finally agreed. Worked fine in the driveway of their central Connecticut home.

Uh-oh

Then the younger brother, 4-year-old Alex, wanted to try, too.

"I put him in the trunk, close it, and he doesn't come out," Jake Fisher recalled Friday. "I hear, 'Bang bang, Dad!' And when I open the trunk, Alex is looking at me. He's got that little glowing handle in his hand. It's not connected to the car anymore. He pulled on it, and it snapped right off. We called Toyota right away."

Alex Fisher gets a hug from his big brother, Ben Fisher, at the Summit Point raceway in West Virginia in 2012. They are the sons of Jake Fisher, an automotive expert at Consumer Reports. Alex Fisher helped discover a safety flaw in the trunk of a vehicle.
Alex Fisher gets a hug from his big brother, Ben Fisher, at the Summit Point raceway in West Virginia in 2012. They are the sons of Jake Fisher, an automotive expert at Consumer Reports. Alex Fisher helped discover a safety flaw in the trunk of a vehicle.

Dad also contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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The accidental discovery led to a redesign and replacement of 700,000 emergency latches on the 2007-13 Lexus ES, 2006-12 Lexus IS, and 2013 Lexus GS models. Alex Fisher was even credited in The New York Times on Dec. 12, 2012.

Just remember

"It's not enough to put this safety feature in the car," Jake Fisher said. "You have to make sure it's tested and durable."

More: 'On The Line': Ford to make history with electric F-150

Note: This story and a photo cutline have been corrected to say the frunk button is on the passenger side of the vehicle. 

Contact Phoebe Wall Howard: at 313-618-1034 or phoward@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford F-150 Lightning frunk size fits people, escape button can help