The 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning is still not ready for full consumer consumption, but the Dearborn-based company has confirmed that the Lightning has entered a key step in its development with the all-electric truck entering the pre-production phase, which also signals that it will begin real-world testing before it makes its way to dealerships in 2022.
Rouge Electric Vehicle Center Preps For Mass Production
The first few pre-production examples of the Lightning are rolling out of Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, a recently added expansion to the broader Rouge plant where the gasoline-powered F-150 is made. The start of this early production run is helping Ford cover multiple angles in Lightning’s development. It gives the staff at the Rouge Electric Center early practice in manufacturing the Lightning. It allows Ford plant staff and managers to see how the various machines and assembly stations in the facility cope with the projected demands of mass Lightning production.
— Jim Farley (@jimfarley98) September 16, 2021
Ford is determined to make sure that all parts of the assembly process are functioning smoothly, and it also has some vested interest in making sure that everything goes without a hitch. That interest is in the form of strong pre-order numbers, with Ford CEO Jim Farley revealing that the truck has already logged more than 150,000 pre-orders with more on the way via a post on Twitter. Ford also revealed that it expects demand to surpass all of its internal expectations and has made some early moves to prepare for the rush of demand. A key move is an additional $250 million to enhance the Rouge Electric Center’s manufacturing capability, with the improvements allowing the company to build 80,000 Lightnings per year. However, that higher figure will appear in 2024, with Ford projecting an initial figure of 40,000 units a year for the first few years of production.
Lightning Real World Testing Lets The Truck Explore The Open Road
While the Rouge Electric Center is preparing to cover the manufacturing end of the equation, the Lightning itself is preparing to deliver its full potential to consumers. Ford engineers will be taking the Lighting through the gauntlet when it comes to real-world testing. That includes navigating tight urban streets as well as soaking up miles out on the freeway. The latter testing will give Ford the perfect opportunity to test out its automated driving technology, including its BlueCruise system.
The F-150 Lightning will initially have the segment largely to itself when it enters consumer consumption. The Rivian R1T (which beat the Ford in the race to consumers yesterday) is the lone exception. That will not be the case for long, with the Lightning eventually being joined by rivals like the Tesla Cybertruck, Chevrolet Silverado EV, Hummer SUT, as well as a recently confirmed electrified version of the Ram 1500.
Look for more information to be revealed as the Lightning inches to full consumer availability. That includes final pricing, any changes to the projected ranger per charge, as well as perhaps a few other details that Ford is keeping close to the vest but will let them loose when the Lightning is closer to its formal launch date. The 2022 F-150 Lightning will also be entering the commercial vehicle segment with an all-new Pro model, so the quest for perfection is even more imperative.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.