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Ford to Double its Production Target for the Electric F-150 Lightning Due to Strong Demand

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【Summary】Ford Motor Company has doubled its production target from the new F-150 Lighting electric pickup based on strong early demand for the electric version of the best-selling truck in the U.S., sources told Reuters on Monday. Ford’s annual production target has been increased from 40,000 units to 80,000 units by 2024.

Eric Walz    Aug 23, 2021 3:15 PM PT
Ford to Double its Production Target for the Electric F-150 Lightning Due to Strong Demand
The Ford F-150 Lightning.

Ford Motor Company has doubled its production target from the new F-150 Lighting electric pickup based on strong early demand for the electric version of the best-selling truck in the U.S., sources told Reuters on Monday.

Ford's annual production target has been increased from 40,000 units to 80,000 units by 2024. Reuters also reported that Ford plans to spend an additional $850 million in order to meet its goal, according to sources.

The F-150 Lightning will launch next year in both a consumer version and a commercial version targeted at fleets called the Lightning Pro. The 2022 F-150 Lightning Pro is the first electric F-Series truck purpose-built for the commercial truck market. It will join Ford's electric E-Transit commercial van in the growing lineup of "work-ready" EVs.

In June, the Detroit Free Press reported that reservations for the new F-150 Lightning reached 100,000, indicating that the electric truck might be a big hit with customers. Since then, that number has climbed to 120,000 reservations.

"They were pleasantly surprised by the demand for the Lightning," one of the sources said of Ford officials.

According to Reuters, Ford plans to build about 15,000 next year after the electric truck's spring launch and 55,000 more in 2023, a second source said. Following the launch of the second generation Lightning in late 2025, the annual target is just shy of 160,000 vehicles.

The second generation F-150 Lightning is expected to be the first electric truck to employ Ford's new TE1 truck architecture. The first-generation Lightning uses a platform that's largely derived from the gas-powered F-150, but Ford is planning to migrate to a new dedicated EV platform. The TE1 EV architecture may also underpin electric versions of the Lincoln Navigator luxury SUV and full-size Ford Expedition SUV.

Both Ford and its domestic rival General Motors count on brisk sales of gas-powered pickups and SUVs for a large chunk of their annual profits. But now the two automakers are under pressure to cut emissions without losing sales of these highly profitable models. President Joe Biden has called for $174 billion to boost EV production in the U.S. as part of a broader infrastructure plan.

Ford's F-150 has been the best selling pickup in the U.S. for over 40 years and the company is hoping that loyal F-150 customers will make the switch to the Lightning. Ford's EV strategy includes electrifying its most popular models with the electric F-150 and Transit van joining the Mustang Mach-E SUV, which was Ford's first mass-market EV.

Ford priced the Lightning Pro for commercial customers just below $40,000, with an MSRP of $39,974. For the sub $40,000 price, it will come with a standard range standard lithium-ion battery and a dual motor setup with 4-wheel-drive. Ford is targeting 426 horsepower and 775 lb-ft. of torque with an EPA-estimated range of 230 miles, which the company says is enough for a majority of its commercial customers.

An extended range version of the Lightning Pro will also be available with an MSRP of $49,974. Ford is targeting 563 horsepower and a targeted EPA-estimated range of 300 miles for this model. 

Ford unveiled the F-150 Lightning in May in a live streamed event. 

"For both Ford and the American auto industry, F-150 Lightning represents a defining moment as we progress toward a zero-emissions, digitally connected future," Ford said when the electric Lightning was unveiled. "F-Series is America's best-selling truck for 44 years, the backbone of work across the country, and a trusted icon for generations of customers. Now we are revolutionizing it for a new generation."

But Ford will face new competition in the truck space by the time the first deliveries of the F-150 Lightning begin next year. The R1T pickup from startup Rivian will be available to the first reservation holders this fall. Ford's rival GM is also working on the first, fully-electric version of the popular Chevy Silverado pickup, which GM says will have a range of 400 miles.


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