The electric truck wars between Ford and General Motors might just end up being the 21st century equivalent to the pony car wars of the 1960s and 1970s. Ford made a huge advance in May of last year when it pulled the wraps off the pure-electric Ford F-150 Lightning, beating GM to the punch of introducing a practical, attainable battery-powered pickup (read: not GMC’s expensive, niche, ostentatious Hummer EV). GM was prepared to beat back the opposing army with a practical, attainable battery-electric pickup of its own, the Chevrolet Silverado EV. But on the eve before that truck’s reveal, Ford has thrown a wrench in the works, making a big announcement about the F-150 Lightning.
Namely, Ford has just announced that it will nearly double production of the electric F-150 Lightning at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, again, to meet the unanticipated sky-high demand. You may recall that in September, Ford already announced a doubling of production capacity from 40,000 to 80,000 units annually. Now, Ford is now targeting a production capacity of 150,000 trucks per year.
Making it happen will be no small feat; Ford has assembled a special task force with key players in manufacturing, purchasing, strategy, product development, and capacity planning to figure out just how to adjust for the massive increase in volume. Meanwhile, the automaker also has to coordinate with its suppliers, as well as its own Rawsonville Components and Van Dyke Electric Powertrain plants, to figure out how to source F-150 Lightning parts in sufficient volume.
Remembering that one time in 2018 when Ford flew an 87,000-pound die from Ohio to the UK aboard a Russian-built cargo jet so that F-150 production could resume a mere 30 hours after a fire knocked a supplier plant offline, we wouldn’t bet against the automaker.
Ford F-150 Lightning Continues To Show Promise
“With nearly 200,000 reservations, our teams are working hard and creatively to break production constraints to get more F-150 Lightning trucks into the hands of our customers,” says Ford President of the Americas Kumar Galhotra. “The reality is clear: People are ready for an all-electric F-150 and Ford is pulling out all the stops to scale our operations and increase production capacity.”
The Ford F-150 Lightning is entering the last pre-production phase, as trucks built on the assembly line are being sent out to rack up thousands of miles of real-world durability testing. When it launches this spring, the F-150 Lightning will carry an MSRP of $39,974 before federal EV tax credits. Not that you’ll be blessed enough to see one sitting around on a dealer lot any time soon; the truck has garnered so much interest that Ford has implemented a wave-by-wave reservation process, and of the nearly 200,000 reservations, more than 75% are from folks who are new to the Ford brand. The first wave of reservation holders will finally be invited to order their trucks on January 6th.
The Chevrolet Silverado EV – GM’s answer to the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning – will be unveiled Wednesday, January 5th at 12:00 pm Eastern Time. Originally planned for an in-person reveal at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, the Chevrolet Silverado EV’s big debut will instead take place entirely online, as GM skips attending CES in person over growing Covid concerns.