Ford Motor Co. said Thursday that it will increase its F-150 Lightning production capacity to 80,000 a year due to strong demand for electric pickup trucks, saying the vehicle will go on sale next spring.
At an event hosted by Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the US automaker said it would invest $250 million and add 450 hours of jobs at three of the state’s facilities to ramp up vehicle production.
Ford’s move, confirming a Reuters report last month, has even as industry observers question whether individual buyers will abandon their gas-powered pickups for electric models.
The Lightning, which has more than 150,000 reservations to date, is an electric version of Ford’s best-selling gas-powered F-150 truck whose popularity has made it the subject of some songs.
“The public interest has exceeded our highest expectations,” Acting Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement.
Reuters had reported that the automaker was targeting annual production of more than 80,000 Lightning pickup trucks in 2024, up from its prior target of more than 40,000.
Ford and other global automakers are racing to move their gasoline-powered lineups to all-electric power under pressure from regions such as Europe and China to cut vehicle emissions.
Ford’s plan to increase capacity also comes as Congress is debating whether to expand tax credits for electric vehicles, including offering an additional $4,500 to EVs such as the Lightning that are federally sold in the United States. Made with labor.
testing new technology
The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, which is assembling the electric pickup, is a test bed for new manufacturing technology, said Christopher Skaggs, the manager overseeing Ford’s EV planning and implementation.
Instead of a fixed assembly line, the Lightning body and frame ride on an automated platform, enabling Ford to add or subtract platforms to vary production rates.
The robots flip the frame of the truck upside down to allow suspension parts to be attached. The devices are connected to data systems that track whether bolts are properly attached.
Production of the prototype Lightning truck currently occupies a portion of the 500,000 square feet of electric vehicle assembly area. Ford has room to expand if demand allows, though plant manager Corey Williams and other Ford executives would not talk about plans beyond what was announced Thursday.
Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), whose district will see many new jobs, was also present at the Dearborn Factory event.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times