F-150 Lightning leak says Ford has an enviable problem with its EV truck

Ford is reportedly doubling production targets for the 2022 F-150 Lightning, aiming to build even more of the all-electric pickups than previously intended in the hope of satisfying apparently unexpected demand. Announced back in May 2021, the F-150 Lightning is the first BEV version of what has long been America's best-selling truck, though opinions were split on whether its reception would be positive or not.

Certainly, Ford did all it could to position the Lightning well out of the gate. A base-spec F-150 Lightning Commercial trim starts at around $40,000 before incentives, surprising many with just how affordable the dual-motor pickup would be.

Meanwhile, features like a huge front trunk – or frunk – with a power hatch, the ability to use the F-150 Lightning as a massive generator replacement on a building site or during an outage, and – down the line – integration with whole-home power systems also highlighted what electrification could deliver that traditional gas and diesel trucks couldn't match. Although some skepticism lingered, reservations soared, quickly exceeding six-digits. That, according to leaks, caught Ford by surprise.

"They were pleasantly surprised by the demand for the Lightning," a source familiar with Ford's EV truck project told Reuters. That strong interest will now see the automaker spend an extra $850 million – compared to what had already been committed – on boosting production, it's suggested. That could mean doubling the number of F-150 Lightning rolling off the line in 2024 versus to the previous plan.

Ford's prior target for 2024 had been 40,000+ trucks being built each year, it's said. Now, it's looking to make more than 80,000 instead.

"We are excited with customer demand for the F-150 Lightning and already have 120,000 customer reservations," Ford said in a statement, "and we will continue to look for ways to break constraints and meet customer demand." It has not said publicly how many vehicles it intends to produce a year, nor how long it expects to take in order to fulfill those reservations.

Just how many reservations – which require a refundable deposit in order to stake a place in line – will actually convert to full F-150 Lightning orders is a lingering uncertainty. Some reservation holders undoubtedly grabbed a spot in the queue but are also hedging their bets with other electric trucks. Rivian, Tesla, Chevrolet, Ram, and others have EV pickups in the pipeline, albeit at different states of market readiness.

Even with ambitious goals and deep pockets, however, it may take Ford a fair while to work through its reservations backlog. The F-150 Lightning isn't expected to begin production until spring 2022, and Ford is said to only expect to build 15,000 or so units next year. That'll rise to 55,000 in 2023, another source suggested. A second-gen Lightning will follow in 2025, with a production target said to be a whopping 160,000 annually.

By then, of course, the competition will be considerably stronger. Ram has revealed it will have a Ram 1500 BEV in 2024, for example, while Chevrolet's electric Silverado will arrive in a similar timescale, using GM's Ultium platform for battery-electric vehicles.