Ford has commenced mass-production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Centre in Dearborn, Michigan.
“Today we celebrate the Model T moment for the 21st century at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center,” said Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford.
“F-150 Lightning is just the beginning of our ambitions for growth and leadership in digital, electric vehicles,” added Ford President and CEO Jim Farley.
With a starting price of $US39,947 ($A55,972), the F-150 Lightning is Ford’s answer to the Chevrolet Silverado EV, GMC Hummer EV, Ram 1500 BEV, Rivian R1T, and the upcoming Tesla Cybertruck.
In the most-powerful variant, the dual-electric motor powertrain produces 420kW of power and 1050Nm of torque, with a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time in the mid-four-second range.
This makes it the fastest accelerating F-150 ever, with also the most amount of torque too.
Claimed range is up to 524km according to EPA testing, with a targeted maximum towing capacity of 10,000 pounds (4535kg) and a targeted maximum payload of 2000 pounds (907kg).
Owners get access to the BlueOval Charge Network which is claimed by Ford to be the “largest public charging network in North America offered by automotive manufacturers”.
At its fastest, the F-150 Lightning will charge at 150kW when plugged into a DC fast-charger.
The F-150 Lightning is also capable of outputting 2.4kW of exportable power on lower-spec models, which can be increased to 9.6kW of exportable power from a total of 11 power points. Higher-spec models receive the 9.6kW option as standard.
Together with a “home integration system”, the F-150 Lightning is capable of power a house during a power outage for up to three days. It’ll also be able to put power back into the grid eventually too.
The electric pickup also has a lockable front boot which has capacity of 400L. It can double as an esky due to it being washable and drainable, and there’s lighting in there too.
Optional on the F-150 Lightning is Ford’s BlueCruise “hands-free driving experience” which is billed as functional on more than 130,000 miles of “prequalified divided highways across the U.S. and Canada”.
Think of this system like Ford’s answer to General Motors’ Ultra Cruise, although Ford doesn’t mention what level of autonomy the system can provide.
With a total of 200,000 reservations already for the F-150 Lightning, Ford is aiming to ramp up its annual production rate to 150,000 in 2023.
In other words, this means that the Ford F-150 Lightning is sold out until 2023 at least.
Ford actually closed reservations for the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning back in December 2021 due to this unprecedented high demand.
The Blue Oval has now invested more than $US1 billion ($A1.4 billion) in Michigan for the F-150 Lightning alone, with 1700 jobs created among the five Ford plants in Michigan.
It’s unclear if the F-150 Lightning will be coming Down Under, but Ford Australia has previously said it’s bringing at least five electrified vehicles by 2024. It’s also bringing the petrol-powered F-150 to market in 2023, as revealed last month.
Given massive North American demand of the F-150 Lightning, don’t expect the EV version to come here any time soon.
Ford has also confirmed it’ll be producing a “next-gen” electric truck at its Blue Oval City production hub.
The Blue Oval is pumping $US11.4 billion ($A15.97 billion) into creating this 3600-acre facility that’s set to be operational by 2025.
This new electric truck is reportedly due in 2025 and will be based on the company’s new TE1 body-on-frame EV architecture.
Previously this new electric truck was thought to be the second-generation of the F-150 Lightning, but it could potentially be an electric Maverick or Ranger-sized electric ute.
MORE: 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning: Reservations close amid high demand