The first F-150 Lightnings began rolling off the assembly line on Tuesday, officially kicking off production of Ford's first electric pickup truck. The day marked a milestone for Ford, which is restructuring its business to accelerate the production of EVs.
"We plan to challenge Tesla and all comers to become the top EV maker in the world," Ford CEO Jim Farley said from the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
Ford has 200,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning and is expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ramp up production. It plans to produce 150,000 in 2023 -- double the number it's making this year.
Meanwhile, the company has already broken ground in Stanton, Tennessee, where it will produce another model of electric pickup trucks. The automaker plans to produce 600,000 EVs a year by the end of next year and is on track to deliver more than 2 million EVs annually by 2026.
"They are not a vanity project," Farley said, regarding the F-150 Lightnings. "There are no gimmicks. We built a truck so people can use it in their daily lives."
Farley touted the truck's features and capabilities, including instant torque and acceleration from zero to 60 mph in the mid-4 second range. The vehicle's digital experience, he said, makes it "like a smartphone that can tow 10,000 pounds."
With the ability to offload nearly 10 kilowatts of power, "it's an open platform for our customers and the innovation and creativity they'll use this truck for," Farley said. He gave examples like charging a circular saw, powering an off-the-grid wedding, and using it to "charge other EVs for your friends that own Teslas."
While Tesla currently has the largest share of the EV market in the US, it has yet to produce an electric truck. Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently said the company remains on track to reach volume production of its Cybertruck next year. Meanwhile, sales of GM's Chevy Silverado EV won't start until next year, and the Rivian R1T electric truck is more expensive than the F-150 Lightning.