Like a challenger who feels that their attacks seem to take the favorite by surprise, the group led by Jim Farley wants to destabilize its opponents in the war of electric pickups and trucks.
But as athletes well know, it’s not easy to knock out the favorites but it is not impossible. To achieve this you must have a strategy, and more importantly you must unroll and follow this strategy to the letter even when you think that it is no longer necessary at some point in the match.
Ford’s strategy in the lucrative segment of electric pickups and trucks that are likely to generate large sales volumes seems to be to hit, hit, hit. And who knows, maybe opponents drunk with relentless punches and attacks will give up.
New EV Pickup Will Be Built in Tennessee
This strategy now seems to be in full swing. On April 26, Farley and Ford made an appointment with consumers and the entire automotive sector. On that day, Ford began production of the F-150 Lightning, the electric version of the best-selling F-150, the best-selling electric pickup in the United States for 40 years.
The F-150 is Ford’s cash cow. By offering a green and cleaner version, the group hopes to translate its winning formula in gasoline cars into electrics.
The automotive industry is also monitoring the first steps of the F-150 Lightning to measure the interest of average households for electrification. The feedback is good so far.
The F-150 Lightning seems to be just as popular as the classic version since Ford has already registered 200,000 reservations, confirmed Farley. To meet high demand, Ford is no longer taking reservations and has had to ramp up production capacity at The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan, where the F-150 Lightning is manufactured. This facility can build 150,000 trucks per year, according to Ford.
While Ford could be content to focus on this start of production and the first deliveries of this key vehicle for its ambitions to deliver 600,000 electric vehicles worldwide per year by the end of 2023, CEO Jim Farley surprised people by making an unexpected announcement.
“We’re already pushing dirt down in Blue Oval City in Tennessee for another electric pickup truck that’s different than this one,” Farley said. He didn’t give further details, but Ford spokespeople later said the new electric pickup “will be a next-gen electric truck, different from F-150 Lightning.”
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Basically, the only thing we know is that this new electric pickup will be assembled at BlueOval City’s production facility in Stanton, Tennessee. This $5.6 billion manufacturing complex should start producing the new generation of batteries for F-Series pickups in 2025.
The Goal Is to Challenge Tesla
What will the new EV pickup be? The bets are on. But there is a good chance that this new electric pickup will be a mid-size version since the Lightning is a full-size truck. It could be based on the Ford Ranger or the Ford Maverick.
To separate the two, we examine their platforms. The Maverick’s platform is new, which suggests that Ford isn’t going to update or change it anytime soon. However, the Ranger platform must be completely changed.
Last June, Mike Levine, Ford North America Product Communications director, posted an image of a potential Maverick electric pickup on Twitter following speculation.
Ford also has a third option: the company can offer an electric version of the F-150 Raptor to bet on performance.
What is certain is that Ford has only one obsession: to beat Tesla (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc Report, the world leader in electric vehicles, which plans to produce at least 1.5 million vehicles in 2022 despite disruptions to supply chains triggered by the resurgence of Covid-19 in China. The pandemic forced Tesla to shut down its Shanghai factory for three weeks from March 28. The factory reopened recently.
“We plan to challenge Tesla and all comers to become the top EV maker in the world,” Farley said. “That’s something that no one would have believed just two years ago from us.”
Farley did not hesitate to mock Tesla by asking when production of the long-awaited Cybertruck, the rival of the F-150 Lightning, was going to begin. Elon Musk recently promised it will be in 2023 after several delays.
In the meantime, the F-150 Lightning must take on Rivian’s (RIVN) – Get Rivian Automotive, Inc. Class A Report R1T and GM’s (GM) – Get General Motors Company Report GMC Hummer EV, which promises an electric version of the Chevrolet Silverado soon.
Ford plans to deliver two million EVs annually by 2026. Since the start of the year, Ford has delivered 12,114 electric vehicles, including 10,539 Ford Mustang Mach-E SUVs and 1,575 E-Transit. These numbers will undoubtedly jump by the end of the year thanks to the F-150 Lightning.