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F-150 Lightning enters pre production as Ford doubles down on electrified future

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At one point, it looked like Tesla would be the first automaker to produce an electric pickup truck. With the futuristic-looking Cybertruck now facing production delays, it was actually start-up EV maker Rivian that quietly pushed its R1T electric truck to market first. However, not to be left out of the news cycle, Ford is hot on Rivian’s heels, announcing that pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks are now being manufactured at the Rouge Electric Vehicle manufacturing facility, which itself was announced just one year ago.

While some still question the success of an electric pickup truck, Ford confirmed in a press release that the F-150 Lighting already has 150k reservations. Furthermore, Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of The Americas and International Markets Group, said electrification of the popular F-150 will be a huge step toward mass EV adoption in America.

‘Edge of an era of electrification’

This is monumental for Ford as it represents not only a huge financial investment for Ford Motor Company but also an all-in approach on electrification. Taking such a bold risk on its top-selling nameplate puts Ford ahead of the other major U.S. auto manufacturers. Even though both Stellantis North America and General Motors have announced electric versions of their best-selling pickups, those trucks are still three to five years away from production.

To commemorate this leap into the future, Ford hosted government officials including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell to showcase Ford’s commitment to assembling electric vehicles in Michigan as the first pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks start roll down the line.

“We’re standing on the edge of an era of electrification that will be built in factories like this one by hardworking UAW members and the innovative minds at Ford,” Whitmer said. “I am proud of Ford for committing to invest $30 billion in electrification through 2025, including this additional $250 million today to create 450 jobs in Dearborn, Ypsilanti and Sterling Heights supporting the production of the new F-150 Lightning. I will stay laser-focused at the state level on making investments in the future of mobility and electrification too, and together, we can create good-paying, high-skill union jobs and lead the world in electric vehicle development and manufacturing.”

Increased capacity

With the additional financial investments and job adds, Ford will be able to increase production capacity to 80,000 trucks a year.

“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,” said Bill Ford, executive chair, Ford Motor Company. “This truck and the Ford-UAW workers who are assembling it in Michigan have a chance to make history and lead the electric vehicle movement in America.”

A base F-150 Lightning is expected to have an MSRP of around $40k with a range of more than 300 miles. The all-electric F-150 Lightning goes on sale next spring.

The bottom line on the F-150 Lightning

The Ford F-150 Lighting is highly anticipated, and we are elated to see the investment Ford Motor Co. is making not only in Michigan but also electrification. However, as this is hot on the heels of the Rivian production trucks rolling off the line, the pre-production announcement seems like a cry for attention. That being said, the part of the announcement that talks about investments and adding jobs is a big deal.

While the spring ETA for the F-150 Lighting will make it the second electric truck to market (behind Rivian and ahead of the GMC Hummer EV), we know there are still a lot of questions swirling about range and payload as well as range while towing or hauling. Hopefully, with pre-production models rolling off the line, we’ll have more answers soon.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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