Ford to restart F-150 Lightning production on March 13

Ford to restart F-150 Lightning pickup production on March 13

Ford halted its F-150 Lightning pickup production after a battery issue that caused one of the vehicles to catch fire. Now, after more than a month, the automaker plans to restart production on march 13. On Thursday, according to CNBC, the automaker told that the production timeline will allow its battery supplier, SK On, to build up production and deliver battery packs to the Michigan plant where the truck is produced.

Ford to restart F-150 Lightning production on March 13
Image credits- Tech Crunch

The fire occurred on February 4 in a holding lot during a pre-delivery quality check while the vehicle was charging. Ford suspended production of the vehicles and issued a stop-shipment to dealers. Ford declined to disclose details of the issue that caused the vehicle to catch fire or of the implemented solution. The company previously said engineers determined there was no evidence of a charging fault. “In the weeks ahead, we will continue to apply our learnings and work with SK On’s team to ensure we continue delivering high-quality battery packs – down to the battery cells. As REVC ramps up production, we will continue holding already-produced vehicles while we work through engineering and parts updates,” Ford said.

Ford last week announced SK had started building battery cells again at a plant in Georgia but said the automaker would extend downtime at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, where the F-150 Lightning is built, through at least this week.

Electric pickup production

The F-150 Lightning is being closely watched by investors, as it’s the first mainstream electric pickup truck on the market and a major launch for Ford. The battery issue adds to ongoing “execution issues” detailed to investors last month by Ford CEO Jim Farley that crippled the automaker’s fourth-quarter earnings. Ford initially opened customer reservations for the F-150 Lightning when it was revealed in May 2021. More than 200,000 reservations were placed prior to Ford temporarily closing the process to attempt to align production with expected demand.

Many reservation owners are still waiting for their vehicles, as Ford said earlier Thursday it’s sold fewer than 20,000 of the all-electric trucks since they went on sale last year. Since launching the vehicle less than a year ago, Ford has only issued one recall for the vehicle, and it was related to a tire pressure sensor. Ford has yet to issue a recall or dealer notice associated with this instance. Ford paused production of the vehicle as it was beginning to scale production numbers. It said previously it intended to make 150,000 Lightning models by the end of 2023. Ford reported it shipped 13,258 Lightning models in 2022.