Ford is reportedly spending big to double the production rate of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, but it won’t be cracking six figures for a few years.
Sources have told Reuters strong interest in the electric pickup truck, especially from commercial operators, has caused Ford to up the F-150 Lightning’s planned production rate for the second time.
The Blue Oval will reportedly spend US$850 million ($1.2 billion) to make this happen.
According to another source, Ford now intends to make 15,000 electric pickups next year when the F-150 Lightning enters production. In 2023 the rate will jump to 55,000, and then 80,000 in 2024.
A second-generation F-150 Lightning is due in 2025 and will ride on the company’s new TE1 body-on-frame EV architecture.
To coincide with the launch of the new pickup, Ford aims to produce 150,000 Lightnings that year.
To put these numbers in context, Ford made 896,296 F-Series trucks in 2019 and 787,372 in 2020.
Assuming the Lightning doesn’t bring any new customers to the brand, but merely replaces sales of V6, V8 or hybrid models, the Lightning will account for just 1.7 per cent of F-Series sales in 2022 — if we take a sales rate similar to 2019’s.
Using the same methodology, the Lightning’s piece of the pie will grow to 6.1 per cent in 2023, 8.9 per cent in 2024, and 16.7 per cent in 2025.
“We are excited with customer demand for the F-150 Lightning and already have 120,000 customer reservations, and we will continue to look for ways to break constraints and meet customer demand,” Ford told Reuters in response to its report.
Launched in May this year, the Ford F-150 Lightning will be priced from US$40,000 ($56,000) to US$90,000 ($126,000) depending on trim, drivetrain and battery specs.
In base form the F-150 Lightning has a 318kW dual-motor setup and a 370km range rating, while the higher-spec drivetrain has a total of 420kW at its disposal and a 480km driving range. Both drivetrains have a 1051Nm torque rating.
The next few years will see both incumbents and upstarts battle for the heart of the American pickup truck market with the GMC Hummer EV, Rivian R1T and Tesla Cybertruck all set to launch.
MORE: Ford F-150 Lightning launch details