When Does the Ford Lightning Come Out? For Some, Early 2022
The Ford F-150 is America’s best-selling model and has been for many years, so it’s a big deal when the automaker decides to make changes. There was the shift to an aluminum frame back in 2015, the introduction of a hybrid powertrain in 2021, and Ford announced the all-electric F-150 Lightning shortly after that. Now, despite pandemic- and supply chain-related delays across the auto industry, Ford says it has begun pre-production for the new truck. The announcement came alongside news that Ford is investing even more money in its electric vehicle (EV) battery development and production capacity.
Pre-production is a step that automakers take to get vehicles rolling through the assembly process, allowing validation of the process, and giving engineers a chance to identify quality issues before moving to full production for customer vehicles. The F-150 Lightning is in high demand, even at this early stage, as Ford says it has collected over 150,000 reservations for the truck. That makes the initial production and delivery phases even more critical to avoid delays.
To facilitate the production of the new electric trucks, the automaker is investing hundreds of millions of dollars, adding jobs, and increasing capacity. Ford will build the F-150 Lightning at the company’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, part of a $700 million investment made at the Ford Rouge Center. The automaker also confirmed an additional $250 million investment to create 450 new hourly jobs as part of the announcement. Ford will create most positions at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. At the same time, some will go to the Rawsonville Components Plant, where batteries are assembled, and the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, where the F-150 Lightning’s electric motors and transaxles are built. The investment will also push Ford’s annual truck production capacity at the facility to 80,000.
Ford’s investments in EV production and supply chain will help it meet demand when the F-150 Lightning goes on sale, but that date is still months in the future. While pre-production trucks are rolling off the assembly line now, the first customer trucks won’t reach their driveways until next spring. Assuming nothing changes with the timeline, the Lightning’s 2022 release date puts Ford behind Rivian, whose first R1T reservation holders are receiving their pickups now.
However, regardless of who shows up first, the number of electric trucks will explode in 2022 and will only grow from there. After Rivian and Ford, the GMC Hummer EV, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Tesla Cybertruck, and more will arrive in the span of six months to a year. That’s a significant shift in the EV market, especially considering there are currently no electric truck choices.
Ford is the source of information for this article. It was accurate on September 16, 2021, but it may have changed since that date.