Today, Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn began production of the electric F-150 Lightning pickup at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center within the company’s Rouge Complex.
“Today we celebrate the Model T moment for the 21st Century at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center,” says Bill Ford, executive chair of Ford. “The Rouge is where Ford perfected the moving assembly line, making it a fitting backdrop as we make history again. The stunning anticipation for F-150 Lightning is a credit to the work of our Ford engineers and designers, and the UAW team members who are building these trucks with pride.”
The demand for F-150 Lightning is represented by 200,000 reservations, and Ford is expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ramp up production to a planned annual run rate of 150,000 vehicles produced in 2023. The company has invested a total of $950 million and created 750 jobs at the 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 the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, where Lightning electric motors and electric transaxles are assembled; and the Rawsonville Components Plant, where Lightning batteries are assembled.
“America’s real transition to electric vehicles starts now,” says Jim Farley, president and CEO of Ford. “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 says 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 percent by 2030.
With acceleration from zero to 60 mph in the mid-4 second range with the extended-range battery, the freedom of a 10-kilowatt smart power plant on wheels, a starting price less than $40,000 before available tax credits, and software updates that will make it even better over time, F-150 Lightning is attracting new customers to Ford. Three-quarters of reservation holders do not currently own or lease a Ford vehicle.
“For UAW Ford members, the launch of the Lightning F-150 is an example that when electric vehicle expansion is done right, it can create good paying union jobs and opportunities,” says Ray Curry, president of UAW. “Today’s launch demonstrates that we can create a win-win for UAW families and communities as we build EV products for decades to come.”
The manufacturing technology in the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is the first Ford plant without traditional in-floor conveyor lines, instead using robotic Autonomous Guided Vehicles (AGVs) to move F-150 Lightning trucks from workstation to workstation in the plant.
These AGVs create more flexibility in the plant for additional production output, quality checks, and product customizations, among other benefits. Changes can be made 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.
It is also 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 percent local, renewable electricity in all its manufacturing operations by 2035.
“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,” says Chuck Browning, vice president and director of the Ford Department at UAW. “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.”
Ford offers F-150 Lightning owners an optional BlueCruise hands-free driving experience on more than 130,000 miles of prequalified divided highways across the U.S. and Canada. The truck will stay up to date and constantly improve through over-the-air software updates, called Ford Power-Ups.
F-150 Lightning is a zero-emissions vehicle with as much as 320 EPA-estimated miles of range. Lightning customers have access to the BlueOval Charge Network, the largest public charging network in North America offered by an automotive manufacturer.
Home charging is straightforward with installation partner Sunrun. Extended-range battery customers with an 80 amp Connected Charge Station Pro can get a full charge overnight on AC power with dual on-board chargers. Customers can also install solar energy — enabling them to power both their home and charge their truck with clean, renewable energy.
F-150 Lightning Pro is the first electric F-Series truck purpose-built specifically for commercial customers. F-150 Lightning Pro is offered through Ford Pro, a one-stop shop for commercial and government customers with a range of conventional and electric vehicles and a full suite of software, charging, financing, services and support on Ford and non-Ford products. F-150 Lightning Pro is backed with turnkey solutions for commercial operations, and Ford predicts commercial customers’ cost savings will begin from day one.
Click here to learn more about the electric 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup.