Pre-production of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning began at he new Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center back in September ahead of the all-electric Ford F-150‘s launch next spring. Now, with over 160,000 reservations on the books, Ford F-150 Lightning production has entered the second phase, according to Ford CEO Jim Farley, which will consist of units used to prove out quality before full-scale Ford F-150 Lightning production begins in a few months.
Stronger than expected demand for the F-150 Lightning prompted Ford to double its original production target to 80,000 units per year, as well as invest an additional $250 million to add 450 more jobs at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center – which builds electric motors and electric transaxles, and the Rawsonville Components Plant – where batteries are assembled.
F-150 Lightning production at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is unique in that the automaker doesn’t use traditional, fixed assembly lines, but rather, automated robots which carry parts and pickups from station to station, as Ford Authority reported back in September. Ford has invested heavily in artificial intelligence at its production facilities in recent years, which has vastly improved productivity. However, as Ford Authority exclusively reported last year, FoMoCo believes that robots will never completely take over this process and that humans will always be needed to assemble vehicles.
Great work by our employees at the Ford Rouge EV Center in Dearborn. After a successful first phase of production, we’re now on to the next build phase of #F150Lightning. These trucks will be used to prove out quality before we begin mass production in the Spring. pic.twitter.com/mCqI7RTJrp
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) November 17, 2021
Regardless of these efforts, Lighting production will be limited in the model’s first year, as Ford Authority reported earlier this year. This approach is nothing new, as 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E production has been capped at 50,000 units, while other all-electric pickups like the Tesla Cybertruck have been delayed multiple times in recent months, and the Rivian R1T pickup will be built in extremely limited quantities for the foreseeable future.