Ford Restarts F-150 Lightning Production

The company uncovered the root cause of a recent battery fire.

Ford announced that it would continue making its F-150 Lightning electric vehicles following a battery fire that suspended production for five weeks and resulted in a recall.

During a pre-delivery quality check in early February, a Lightning battery caught fire while charging in a company holding lot in Dearborn, Michigan. The fire damaged the truck and two nearby vehicles. 

An investigation concluded that potentially defective battery cells were made during a four-week span that began at the end of last year, and Ford recalled 18 2023 model-year trucks that had been shipped to dealers.

The issue was traced back to a battery cell plant in Georgia operated by SK On, a unit of Korean supplier SK Innovation. Ford said it confirmed the root causes with SK On and implemented quality actions.

The automaker has not reported any injuries related to the issue. 

Ford said resumed production would feature a “clean stock of battery packs” but did not include when F-150 Lightning deliveries would continue.

The fire and recall added to problems the company has experienced with the truck. Ford reportedly sold over 15,000 F-150 Lightnings last year, but according to spokeswoman Emma Berg, there is a backlog of approximately 200,000 reservations for the electric vehicle since the company stopped taking orders in December 2021. 

However, the automaker announced in February that it would invest $3.5 billion to build a battery manufacturing plant in Michigan to combat the growing demand for the Lightning, which the company said could experience an increased production rate to 150,000 units annually.

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