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Ford Begins Production of Electric F-150 Lightning Trucks

Ford Begins Production of Electric F-150 Lightning Trucks

Bennett  Oghifo

Ford Motor Company has launched the all-new, electric F-150 Lightning pickup – a milestone moment in America’s shift to electric vehicles.

According to the automaker, the F-150 Lightning trucks are now being built for customers across America. F-150 Lightning is the fastest-accelerating F-150 yet and the only full-size electric pickup available now with a starting price less than $40,000.

Built at the ultra-modern Rouge Electric Vehicle Center within Ford’s historic Rouge Complex, F-150 Lightning is the only electric vehicle that is Built Ford Tough. Ford F-Series has been America’s best-selling truck for 45 years in a row[1] and is second only to the iPhone in revenue among all American consumer products, according to a 2020 study.

“Today we celebrate the Model T moment for the 21st Century at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center,” said Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. “The Rouge is where Ford perfected the moving assembly line, making it a fitting backdrop as we make history again. The stunning anticipation for F-150 Lightning is a credit to the work of our Ford engineers and designers, and the UAW team members who are building these trucks with pride.”

Ford has unprecedented demand for F-150 Lightning with 200,000 reservations and is expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ramp up production to a planned annual run rate of 150,000 in 2023. The company has invested a total of $950 million and created 750 jobs at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Ford’s investment in Michigan for F-150 Lightning alone now totals more than $1 billion, with 1,700 recently created jobs spread among five Ford plants in the state, including Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, where Lightning electric motors and electric transaxles are assembled, and Rawsonville Components Plant, where Lightning batteries are assembled. 

“America’s real transition to electric vehicles starts now,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. “F-150 Lightning is just the beginning of our ambitions for growth and leadership in digital, electric vehicles. We continue to expand our EV manufacturing footprint across the U.S., including the start of site preparation at BlueOval City, which will enable us to meet the ever-increasing customer demand for our exciting EV line-up.”

Ford is on track to deliver more than 2 million electric vehicles annually by 2026, equal to about one-third of the company’s global volume, on the way to 50% by 2030.

With acceleration from zero to 60 mph in the mid-4 second range with the extended-range battery, the freedom of a 10-kilowatt smart power plant on wheels, a starting price less than $40,000 before available tax credits and software updates that will make it even better over time, F-150 Lightning is attracting new customers to Ford. A full three-quarters of reservation holders do not currently own or lease a Ford vehicle. F-150 Lightning is also converting many of them to first-time truck or electric vehicle buyers.

Harnessing a century of manufacturing mastery for an electric pickup

Ford announced its intention to build the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center at its historic Rouge complex 19 months ago, in September 2020, and has since created an ultra-modern site leveraging more than 118 years of expertise in manufacturing at scale.

Ford remains the top automaker in America in terms of U.S. production, sales of U.S.-made vehicles and employment of hourly autoworkers.[2]

“For UAW Ford members, the launch of the Lightning F-150 is an example that when electric vehicle expansion is done right, it can create good paying union jobs and opportunities,” said UAW President Ray Curry. “Today’s launch demonstrates that we can create a win-win for UAW families and communities as we build EV products for decades to come.”

The manufacturing technology in the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is just as innovative as the F-150 Lightning. It is the first Ford plant without traditional in-floor conveyor lines and instead uses robotic Autonomous Guided Vehicles to move F-150 Lightning trucks from workstation to station in the plant.

These Autonomous Guided Vehicles create more flexibility in the plant for additional production output, quality checks and product customizations, among other benefits. And changes can be made quickly without the constraints of a typical line that requires the installation of floor chains, moving mats, conveyors and overhead cranes. The plant also uses cobots, or collaborative robots, that work side-by-side with people without any safety cages needed. These cobots help with tasks that would be ergonomically challenging for employees, while also keeping employees safe.

“Today UAW members begin a new generation of building the iconic F-150, crafting a game-changing electric vehicle backed by our UAW craftsmanship and quality assembly,” said Chuck Browning, UAW vice president, director, Ford Department. “Our members are proud of building Ford Tough and are excited to build this new Lightning EV with the same UAW care and legendary performance Ford customers have grown to expect.”

The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is a zero-waste-to-landfill site, meaning none of the material generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process will go to landfills. The plant was built on the former Dearborn Assembly Plant site, using materials from the prior plant in the foundation.

Ford is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and to using 100% local, renewable electricity in all of its manufacturing operations by 2035.

The smartest, most innovative F-150 that Ford has ever built

America’s favorite vehicle for 36 years straight is revolutionizing what it means to go electric. 

For the first time, a full-size pickup provides cavernous lockable storage to store 400 liters of cargo out of sight. This Mega Power Frunk doubles as a cooler – washable and drainable – with lighting to see in the dark. It also has 2.4 kW of exportable power. Combined with the power available from the 5.5-foot bed and cab, it brings the truck’s Pro Power Onboard total to up to 9.6 kW from 11 power points.  

At home, F-150 Lightning, together with a home integration system, can power a house during an outage for three days[3] and in time will be able to offer power back to the grid. It can charge other electric vehicles so no one is left stranded.

“It’s not every day that you get to launch a truck that will change the way Americans feel about electric vehicles,” said Linda Zhang, F-150 Lightning chief program engineer. “The team has done a phenomenal job ensuring we are offering customers unique features only made possible by the electric power unit. But it’s the drive experience that will blow people’s minds. It is simply effortless.”

F-150 Lightning accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in the mid-4-second range with the extended-range battery, making it the fastest-accelerating F-150 yet. Its planted ride ensures a ride and handling experience not usually felt by a truck driver. It also has the most torque of any F-150 ever (at 775 lbs.-ft.) and because it’s almost instantaneous, offers effortless towing.

Ford offers F-150 Lightning owners an optional BlueCruise hands-free driving experience on more than 130,000 miles of prequalified divided highways across the U.S. and Canada. F-150 Lightning will stay up to date and constantly improve through over-the-air software updates, called Ford Power-Ups.

F-150 Lightning is a zero-emissions vehicle with as much as 320 EPA-estimated miles of range. Lightning customers have access to the BlueOval Charge Network, the largest public charging network in North America offered by automotive manufacturers.

Home charging is straightforward with installation partner Sunrun. Extended-range battery customers with an 80 amp Connected Charge Station Pro can get a full charge overnight on AC power with dual on-board chargers. Customers may also have the opportunity to install solar energy – enabling them to power both their home and charge their truck with clean, renewable energy.

F-150 Lightning Pro is the first electric F-Series truck purpose-built specifically for commercial customers. F-150 Lightning Pro is offered through Ford Pro, a one-stop shop for commercial and government customers with a range of conventional and electric vehicles and a full suite of software, charging, financing, services and support on Ford and non-Ford products. F-150 Lightning Pro is backed with turnkey solutions for commercial operations, and Ford predicts commercial customers’ cost savings will begin from day one.

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