The Ford F-150 Lightning is widely considered one of the most important new electric vehicles of the past year — or the past decade even. In fact, the F-150 Lightning was 2022 CleanTechnica Car of the Year (yes, we know, it’s a truck — but that’s the award name). As a vehicle, we consider the Ford F-150 Lightning a huge win for Ford. And customers want it. There’s one problem, though: Ford can’t produce very many of them.
In 2022, Ford sold 15,617 F-150 Lightnings. That’s not bringing the house down. In December, the total was 4,775. Multiply that times 12 and you’re at an annual total of 57,300. Again, this is not Earth shattering. It’s not even a a tenth of the Tesla Model Y’s 2022 sales (~760,000). The good news last year was that Ford announced it was increasing its annual production target from 80,000 to 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year by the middle of 2023. But, really, the question is: couldn’t Ford sell a lot more Lightnings if it simply produced more?
Well, now we’ve got an answer, presuming Ford is even on track to reach that 150,000/year target it set last year. If you go to Ford’s website and go shopping the F-150 Lighting, this is what you see right near the top underneath the lead image slideshow: “Due to high demand, the current model year is no longer available for retail order. Contact your dealer for more information.”
What that tells us is that Ford didn’t forecast as much demand for the electric pickup truck as it should have, didn’t line up the supply chain (probably batteries) that it should have by now, and didn’t ramp up production capacity quickly enough. I think you have to categorize that as a fail. Yes, the vehicle is great and is a win, but not being able to produce that vehicle in high volumes and deliver it to the customers who want to buy it is a definite fail.
How long will it take Ford to remedy this problem? How long until Ford is producing 150,000 electric trucks a year? More importantly, how long until Ford F-150 Lightning supply is actually matching demand? And what is that volume going to be?
We’d love to see even more details on what the bottlenecks are, how Ford is working to resolve them, and what the ramp-up plan is over time. For now, though, we settle on the bittersweet fact that consumer demand for the breakthrough electric pickup truck is far beyond Ford’s ability to produce it.
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