Ford today began production on the F-150 Lightning, its first full-size electric pickup, which comes with a starting price of less than $40,000.
The automaker said it already has 200,000 reservations for the Lightning and that it's expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ramp up production to a planned annual run rate of 150,000 in 2023. The company has invested a total of $950 million and created 750 jobs at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Ford’s investment in Michigan for F-150 Lightning alone now totals more than $1 billion, with 1,700 recently created jobs spread among five Ford plants in the state, including Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, where Lightning electric motors and electric transaxles are assembled, and Rawsonville Components Plant, where Lightning batteries are assembled.
“America’s real transition to electric vehicles starts now,” said Ford President and CEO Jim Farley. “F-150 Lightning is just the beginning of our ambitions for growth and leadership in digital, electric vehicles. We continue to expand our EV manufacturing footprint across the U.S., including the start of site preparation at BlueOval City, which will enable us to meet the ever-increasing customer demand for our exciting EV line-up.”
Ford said it is on track to deliver more than 2 million electric vehicles annually by 2026, equal to about one-third of the company’s global volume, on the way to 50% by 2030.
The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is the first Ford plant without traditional in-floor conveyor lines and instead uses robotic Autonomous Guided Vehicles to move F-150 Lightning trucks from workstation to station in the plant. These Autonomous Guided Vehicles create more flexibility in the plant for additional production output, quality checks and product customizations. And changes can be made more quickly without the constraints of a typical line that requires the installation of floor chains, moving mats, conveyors and overhead cranes. The plant also uses cobots, or collaborative robots, that work side-by-side with people without any safety cages needed. These cobots help with tasks that would be ergonomically challenging for employees, while also keeping employees safe.
“Today UAW members begin a new generation of building the iconic F-150, crafting a game-changing electric vehicle backed by our UAW craftsmanship and quality assembly,” said Chuck Browning, UAW vice president, director, Ford Department. “Our members are proud of building Ford Tough and are excited to build this new Lightning EV with the same UAW care and legendary performance Ford customers have grown to expect.”
The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is a zero-waste-to-landfill site, meaning none of the material generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process will go to landfills. The plant was built on the former Dearborn Assembly Plant site, using materials from the prior plant in the foundation.
Ford is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, and to using 100% local, renewable electricity in all of its manufacturing operations by 2035.