Ford announced yesterday that the F-150 Lightning electric pickup had officially entered production at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, the traditional home of the F-150 (where the truck has been made since 1948). With the production start announcement, though, Ford also increased the target from 40,000 vehicles built per year to 150,000.
The Blue Oval will surely also want to capitalize on the privileged position of offering the first mainstream electric pickup on the market. With a starting price of $40,000 including destination charge, the F-150 Lightning undercuts the other recently launched electric truck, the GMC Hummer EV, which even in its cheapest version (coming in 2024) will be twice the price.
While the Hummer EV won’t really appeal to businesses looking for a work truck, the cheaper F-150 Lightning will and it should prove quite popular. Ford is pointing to the over 200,000 Lightning reservations as one of the reasons for the production target increase, but it surely worked towards the goal of being the first on the market to offer a relatively affordable EV pickup.
Gallery: Ford F-150 Lightning Production
In a recent talk with CNBC, Ford CEO Jim Farley admitted that entering the segment first was ultimately key. He said
In this market, being a first mover is a very, very important move. We didn’t know we’d be first, but we worked fast in case we were, and it’s worked out that way. I think it could be one of the most important advantages we have.
Ford is also not downplaying the importance of the F-150 Lightning, a model whose success it views as vital. The internal combustion-engined F-150 has been a consistent sales performer for decades, and now that the industry is going electric, Ford will want to maintain its position as leader and dominate the segment; judging by the number of Lightning reservations, it’s off to a good start.
In regard to this, Jim Farley said
We’re not joking. We think this is as big a product as when the Model T came out for us.
The Ford CEO was also asked about the possibility that the semiconductor shortage or supply chain issues would prevent it from achieving the stated production goal. He said Ford has the lithium-ion batteries it needs to build these F-150 Lightnings and confidently stated that
We build a million F-150s a year. We know how to do this. And we have incredible scale.