Last year, a $700 million infusion transformed part of Ford’s historic River Rouge plant into the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, the birthplace of the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning. And today, as the truck’s first pre-production models leave the factory for testing, Ford says it’s investing hundreds of millions more to keep up with the towering demand for its electric pickup.
Having received 150,000 reservations for the Lightning, Ford announced Thursday it will pour an additional $250 million into a trio of EV facilities across Michigan. Some of these funds will go toward hiring 450 more hourly workers, most of whom will labor at Rouge, though some will work at the Rawsonville battery plant while others will produce motors and transaxles at the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center.
The added manpower will increase Lightning production capacity to 80,000 trucks annually, allowing Ford to better position itself as the volume seller of the electric pickup segment. Though Rivian has beaten it to market with its R1T, the first production examples of which rolled off the line Tuesday, that truck is considerably less affordable, starting almost 70 percent above the Lightning at $67,500 before destination to the Ford’s $40,000.
Both, however, are nearer and less dear than the GMC Hummer EV, which arrives months after the Lightning’s spring 2022 launch and at a six-figure price point. When the Chevrolet Silverado EV—what with its four-wheel steering and 24-inch wheels—will arrive to challenge the Ford isn’t yet known, but one thing’s for certain: The tug-of-war videos are going to be insufferable.
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