Ford is Doubling F-150 Lighting Production as Reservations Approach 200,000

Ford is Doubling F-150 Lighting Production as Reservations Approach 200,000

Author: Eric Walz   

Ford's new electric F-150 Lightning pickup is poised to become a big hit with consumers just like its gas counterpart, which has been the best selling pickup in the U.S. for over 40 consecutive years. 

On Tuesday, Ford announced it received so many reservations for the F-150 Lightning pickup that it plans to double production to 150,000 vehicles per year to meet demand and cut down on wait times for customers. 

Ford originally planned to produce around 40,000 F-150 Lightning pickups a year, then expanded that to 80,000 as the number of customer deposits grew.

The automaker also announced that beginning Thursday, the first group of reservation holders will be invited to place their orders for the F-150 Lightning. The automaker said that more than 75% of reservation holders in North America are new to the Ford brand.

Production of the 2022 F-150 Lightning Pro pickup will begin this spring. The electric truck has a starting MSRP of $39,9741 before the federal EV tax credit. 

"With nearly 200,000 reservations, our teams are working hard and creatively to break production constraints to get more F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers," said Kumar Galhotra, president of The Americas & International Markets Group, Ford Motor Company. "The reality is clear: People are ready for an all-electric F-150 and Ford is pulling out all the stops to scale our operations and increase production capacity."

The F-150 Lightning is being built at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. However, Ford's plans to also build the F-150 Lightning in Tennessee. Ford says its Tennessee EV factory will be the largest and most advanced auto production facility in its 118-year history. 

Ford said its implementing what it calls a "wave-by-wave reservation process", with reservation holders being asked to watch for an invitation via email from Ford or to log into their account over the next few months to officially place their orders. Customers can reserve a Lightning pickup with a refundable $100 deposit.  

Reservation holders that don't receive invitations to convert for the 2022 model year will have an opportunity to order a future model year vehicle, according to Ford.

Last month, Ford CEO Jim Farley stated that the automaker was "approaching 200,000" reservations for the electric pickup and briefly stopped taking orders.

The F-150 Lighting is the automaker's first electric pickup, following the launch of the Mach-E SUV last year. However ramping up production of the electric pickup is challenging for Ford, as building electric vehicles requires a totally new production process and supply chain.

Ford said its working is working with key suppliers for the F-150 Lighting, as well as with its own manufacturing facilities Rawsonville Components Plant and Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, in order to find ways to increase capacity of electric vehicle parts, including battery cells and electric drive systems.

Ford is also building three new EV battery plants with its joint venture partner SK Innovation, one in Tennessee and two in Kentucky. The Ford and SK joint venture company is called  "BlueOval SK."  The factories will produce lithium-ion batteries to power future Ford and Lincoln vehicles.

Ford is investing around $11.4 billion in the factories, which the automaker says will create nearly 11,000 new jobs.

In total, Ford is investing more than $30 billion in electric vehicles through 2025. Within 24 months, the company will have the global capacity to produce 600,000 battery electric vehicles a year as it looks to compete with Tesla, which has become the undisputed leader in the EV segment. Tesla is now the world's most valuable automaker which has left Ford and its U.S. rival General Motors struggling to catch up in the EV segment.

Ford aims to emerge as the second biggest electric vehicle maker in North America. From there, the automaker says its will challenge the No. 1 spot currently held by Tesla with huge investments in battery and electric vehicle manufacturing.

In addition to scaling Lightning production, Ford recently announced its tripling of production of the electric Mustang Mach-E SUV and aims to produce 200,000-plus units per year by 2023. 

Ford's first all-electric van the 2022 E-Transit, which is designed for commercial customers, goes on sale early this year.  Both the E-Transit and F-150 Lightning Pro will give Ford a strong foothold in the growing commercial electric vehicle segment.

Eric Walz
Eric Walz
Originally hailing from New Jersey, Eric is a automotive & technology reporter covering the high-tech industry here in Silicon Valley. He has over 15 years of automotive experience and a bachelors degree in computer science. These skills, combined with technical writing and news reporting, allows him to fully understand and identify new and innovative technologies in the auto industry and beyond. He has worked at Uber on self-driving cars and as a technical writer, helping people to understand and work with technology.
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