Interest in the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck is exceeding Ford’s wildest dreams. So the company is adding 450 workers at three factories in Michigan to make sure it can build them fast enough to meet demand. Ford has upped its annual production goal to 80,000 units — which is still less than 10% of the number of conventional light duty pickups it sells in a typical year. One of the factories that will see an increase in workers is the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center where the F-150 Lightning will be assembled.
Ford has already invested $950 million in the F-150 Lightning program, but reservations have soared from 120,000 at the end of July to 150,000 today. Now Ford says it will commit another $250 million to get its first electric pickup truck, which will sell for $40,000 for the version aimed at commercial customers, into production.
“We knew the F-150 Lightning was special, but the interest from the public has surpassed our highest expectations and changed the conversation around electric vehicles. So we are doubling down, adding jobs and investment to increase production,” Bill Ford, executive chairman of the board of directors at Ford, said in a press release.
According to CNBC, Ford has begun assembling pre-production prototypes of the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge facility. Those prototypes are used by manufacturers for testing and validation before series production of the vehicles that will be sold to customers begins.
How Many F-150 Lightnings Can Ford Sell?
Ford’s plan to produce 80,000 F-150 Lightning trucks a year may be too low. We all know about range and charging speed and so forth, but the features that have everyone getting all jiggly are that enormous frunk and the ability to power a construction site or keep the lights on at home during a power outage. As one of our readers commented a few months ago, no one ever flew in an airplane — until someone did. No one used an answering machine — until someone did. No one cooked in a microwave oven — until someone did. And no one used their phone to connect to the internet — until someone did.
There is every chance the F-150 Lightning will change a lot of people’s minds about electric vehicles. The first F-150 Lightning owners will discover how absolutely way cool an electric truck can be. They will tell their friends, family, and co-workers, and that’s when the “nobody wants electric cars” whining will cease.
What happened to the sales of diesel cars in Europe after electrics came on the scene — they plummeted, if you didn’t know — could happen to conventional truck sales. By later this decade, sales of light duty electric trucks could equal those of conventional trucks.
By 2030, those conventional trucks could be sitting on the back lots at dealers all across the country, hoping to find someone — anyone — to buy them. Think that’s a fantasy? The F-150 Lightning is a game-changer. It is a real work truck in a way that the Rivian R1T is not. It has the look, the style, and the heft that truck buyers want. It is not odd the way the Tesla Cybertruck will be — when it gets here. The Ford F-150 Lightning could change everything we ever thought was true about driving an electric vehicle — and not a minute too soon!