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Ford's first F-150 Lightning pickup truck prototypes are rolling out of the factory in Dearborn, Mich., for real-world testing. Photo: Ford Motor

The electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup hasn't even gone on sale yet, but demand is so hot that the company is already expanding production.

Driving the news: The first Lightning prototypes are leaving Ford's Dearborn, Mich., factory for real-world testing, with the truck available to customers next spring.

  • But with 150,000 "pre-orders" in hand, Ford said today it will invest an additional $250 million and add 450 more jobs to boost production at the EV assembly plant and two nearby component factories.
  • The moves will help increase production capacity to 80,000 trucks a year.

Why it matters: Many have questioned whether truck buyers would trade their gas-powered workhorse for an electric pickup that needs to be plugged in every day. Ford's decision to expand production capacity shows that the company is increasingly confident the answer is yes.

What they're saying: “We knew the F-150 Lightning was special, but the interest from the public has surpassed our highest expectations and changed the conversation around electric vehicles. So we are doubling down, adding jobs and investment to increase production,” said executive chairman Bill Ford.

Details: The new $250 million investment follows $700 million invested last year to prepare Ford's historic Rouge manufacturing plant for electric vehicle production.

What to watch: The F-150 Lightning, which starts at $40,000 and aims to provide up to 300 miles of driving range, goes on sale next spring.

Go deeper

Oct 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

Carmakers rush to build batteries for electric vehicles

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Almost every week, another major automaker announces a billion-dollar-plus investment in battery manufacturing, and with it, thousands of new American jobs.

Why it matters: Eyeing President Biden's climate agenda, carmakers are racing to create a domestic battery supply chain to support their aggressive rollout of electric vehicles by the end of the decade.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 21, 2021 - Economy & Business

Tesla is outrunning the supply chain crunch

Expand chart
Data: FactSet and company release; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Tesla, citing a "structural shift" in demand for electric vehicles, reported its highest-ever quarterly profit of $1.6 billion and $13.8 billion in revenues despite supply chain problems.

The big picture: The company's third-quarter report says the chip shortage, port congestion and other woes have affected its factories but argues that "flexibility" and "ingenuity" are a counterweight.

Updated 6 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.