Ford begins production of the F-150 Lightning
The F-150 Lightning is being produced at Ford’s first plant without traditional conveyor lines on the ground, which instead uses robotic autonomous guided vehicles.
Ford today began production of the F-150 Lightning, its first full-size electric pickup, with a starting price of less than $40,000.
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The automaker said it already has 200,000 reservations for the Lightning and is expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ramp up production to a planned annual operating rate of 150,000 in 2023. The company has invested a total of $950 million and created 750 jobs at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Ford’s investment in Michigan for the F-150 Lightning now totals more than $1 billion, with 1,700 newly created jobs spread across five Ford plants in the state, including the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, where assembled the Lightning electric motors and electric transaxles, and Rawsonville Component Plant, where the Lightning batteries are assembled.
“America’s real transition to electric vehicles starts now,” said Ford Chairman and CEO Jim Farley. “The F-150 Lightning is just the beginning of our ambitions for growth and leadership in digital and electric vehicles. We continue to expand our electric vehicle manufacturing footprint across the United States, including the start of site preparation at BlueOval City, which will allow us to meet ever-growing customer demand for our exciting line of electric vehicles.
Ford said it is on track to deliver more than 2 million electric vehicles a year by 2026, about a third of the company’s global volume, on track to 50% by 2030.
The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is the first Ford plant without traditional conveyor lines on the ground and instead uses robotic autonomous guided vehicles to move F-150 Lightning trucks from one work station to another in the plant. These autonomous guided vehicles create more flexibility in the factory for additional production, quality checks and product customizations. And changes can be made faster without the constraints of a typical line that requires the installation of floor chains, conveyor belts, conveyors and overhead cranes. The factory also uses cobots, or collaborative robots, which work side-by-side with people without the need for safety cages. These cobots help perform tasks that would be ergonomically difficult for employees, while ensuring employee safety.
“Today, UAW members begin a new generation of building the iconic F-150, creating a groundbreaking electric vehicle backed by our UAW craftsmanship and quality assembly,” said Chuck Browning, vice president of the UAW, director of the Ford department. “Our members are proud to build Ford Tough and are excited to build this new Lightning EV with the same UAW care and legendary performance that Ford customers have come to expect.”
The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is a zero waste to landfill site, which means that none of the materials generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process will go to landfills. The plant was built on the site of the former Dearborn Assembly Plant, using materials from the previous plant in the foundation.
Ford is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and using 100% local, renewable electricity in all of its manufacturing operations by 2035.