Jan 5, 2022 - Economy & Business

Ford announces plans to ramp up production on all-electric truck

The Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 18, 2021. Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
The Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 18, 2021. Frederick J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The most popular American pickups are poised to test whether the nation's obsession with trucks can go electric.

Driving the news: Ford on Tuesday announced plans to nearly double production capacity of its forthcoming F-150 Lightning amid what it called “soaring customer demand.”

Why it matters: The F-series and Silverado are the No. 1 and No. 3 best-selling pickups in America, respectively. If they go electric successfully, that could pave the way for automakers to transition the rest of their vehicle lineups into EVs, helping curb emissions from gas-powered cars.

  • Electric vehicle leader Tesla’s market cap is more than five times bigger than GM's and Ford's combined. But GM and Ford sold 1.26 million Silverado and F-series pickups in the U.S. in 2021 — 34% more than Tesla’s total vehicle sales worldwide.

What’s next: GM and Ford are positioned to jolt initial sales by tapping established relationships with fleet buyers, such as businesses and governments, that need a steady flow of new pickups and are eager to cut emissions.

  • Fleet buyers “have very predictable patterns of movement, so you can plan charging [logistics] better,” Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs says.

Yes, but: Reaching consumers won't come easy. "Converting buyers from gas and diesel powered V8 and V6 engines may be a tough sell," AP reports.

Our thought bubble: As luxury automakers, Tesla and startup EV maker Rivian can charge a lot and can bypass traditional dealerships. But Ford and GM are poised to help EVs make significant inroads into middle America, where their brands are more well-established.

  • With both EV pickups starting at around $40,000, they will not be out of reach for traditional pickup buyers.
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