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Ford Doubles Production Target For F-150 Lightning Electric Pickup

Ford has doubled its production targets based on higher than expected interest in the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck.

Ford has doubled its production target for the F-150 Lightning because of strong early demand for the full-sized electric pickup truck, several people and suppliers have told Reuters. It will invest another $850 million to meet the new production goal of 80,000 sales in 2024. One source said Ford officials “were pleasantly surprised by the demand for the Lightning.”

Industry observers have questioned whether individual buyers will give up their gas-powered pickups for electric models, but commercial customers are pushing for electric trucks and vans to reduce their carbon footprints. At the present time, Ford plans to manufacture about 15,000 electric pickup trucks in 2022 and 55,000 in 2023.

A second generation F-150 Lighting is expected to hit the showrooms in late 2025, with an annual sales goal of 160,000 trucks thereafter. It will use an all new electric truck platform dubbed TE1, whereas the first generation will be built on a modified version of the existing F-150 chassis.

“We are excited with customer demand for the F-150 Lightning and already have 120,000 customer reservations, and we will continue to look for ways to break constraints and meet customer demand,” Ford said in a statement. The company declined to comment further. The company has announced plans to build two battery factories with SK Innovation in North America.

The increased Lightning production target has some suppliers worried about the extra investment they will need to make. Some of them are unsure the demand for electric pickups will meet Ford’s expectations. “It really puts suppliers in a dicey situation if the volume doesn’t come true,” said one supplier executive who asked not to be identified.

Ford Dealer Shenanigans Continue

Those sales goals may be severely impacted by the ridiculous behavior of several Ford dealers who are demanding customers pay “market adjustment” fees of up to $7,500, special paint sealants (see the movie Fargo for more on that subject), and $1,000 for wheel locks that can be purchased online for $35.

Some CleanTechnica readers insist the problems are rare and that anyone can walk into a Ford dealer and buy a Mustang Mach-E at sticker with no dealer add-ons. To which we say, “Good luck with that.” If you can pull that off, let us know and we will direct a ton of customers to that dealer’s front door. Here is the latest horror story courtesy of Twitter.

Previews Of The Ford F-150 Lightning

There are two new videos about the F-150 Lightning available, one from Tom Moloughney for Inside EVs and the other a closer look at the entry level Lighting Pro intended for fleet buyers by Town & Country TV. Moloughney says, “It’s my personal belief that the F-150 Lightning may be the most important electric vehicle to launch since Tesla introduced the Model S.” The truck will come with a standard range and an extended range battery, which Inside EVs estimates will be 125 kWh and 170 kWh, respectively. Charging times are reflected in the chart below.

Image courtesy of Ford

Moloughney says he saw a projected range of 472 miles on the touchscreen of the truck he drove, which was equipped with a fully charged Extended Range battery. Ford says it expects the truck to earn an EPA rating of 300 miles with 1000 pounds of cargo on board. Ford’s goal apparently is to under-promise and over-deliver. Acceleration was more than adequate, with Moloughney saying it felt as quick as his personal Tesla Model 3 Extended Range daily driver.

Moloughney was most impressed with the Mega Power Frunk with its 14 cubic feet of storage and 400 pound load capacity. “I remember looking into the deep frunk of the Rivian R1T which has 11 cu ft of cargo space and wondering how I could lift heavy items into and out of the space,” he says. “Ford eliminated that issue by integrating the grill into the hood of the F-150 Lightning, so the load height is comparable to that of the liftgate of a Ford Expedition.”

“The F-150 Lightning likely won’t be the first mass-produced electric pick-up truck,” he adds. “That distinction will probably go to the Rivian R1T. But the R1T’s base price is nearly double that of the base Pro trim of the F-150 Lightning, and the R1T isn’t really going to be a ‘work truck,’ it’s an ‘electric adventure vehicle.’ Therefore, the F-150 Lightning will appeal to a much wider audience and has the potential to change many minds on the viability of EVs for mass adoption.”

In the notes to his video of the F-150 Lightning Pro work truck that is priced just under $40,000, Town & Country TV says, “In this video, I showcase a walkaround of the 2022 Ford F150 Lightning. This is a very early pre-production model of the F-150 Lightning but gives us a good idea of the features that will be included in this truck.

“It is designed for aerodynamics and has an impressive battery life. The Lightning F150 has a set of independent rear suspensions which is something we have never seen on an F-150. On the inside, the Lightning is equipped with vinyl seating and technology to know exactly how far you can travel on a single charge. Ford took us for a test drive and we were blown away by the power of this truck!”

One feature detected during the walkaround was that the vehicle is able to measure the weight of cargo in the frunk and load bed and use that information to adjust the estimated range shown on the dashboard. Range is also impacted by ambient outside temperature. As a result, the driver should have an accurate estimate of the actual available range at all times.

So how does it drive? In a word, awesome. Watch the video and enjoy the giggles and guffaws as the F-150 Lightning Pro is put through paces on the test loop. We all know that electric vehicles accelerate faster than their gas-powered cousins, but the truck also features independent rear suspension, a first on an American full size pickup truck, which means the F-150 Lightning handles as well as it accelerates. This truck is definitely going to open the eyes of many traditional truck customers.

It’s even nicely trimmed inside with leather-like vinyl seats. The rear seats fold up to permit large objects to be carried easily on the flat floor make possible by the electric powertrain. Is Tom Moloughney right? Is the F-150 Lightning the most important electric vehicle since the Tesla Model S? From everything we have seen and read, we think he is spot on.

 
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Written By

Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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