The first pre-production F-150 Lightning pickup trucks roll out of Ford’s new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. - Photo: Ford Motor Co.

The first pre-production F-150 Lightning pickup trucks roll out of Ford’s new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Photo: Ford Motor Co.

Ford Motor Co. is investing an additional $250 million and adding 450 more direct jobs across three southeast Michigan facilities, including the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center, to increase production capacity of the F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, the company announced Sept. 16.

The automaker has received a surge of demand now reaching 150,000 reservations to date, as the first pre-production units begin leaving the factory with a timeline of the all-electric F-150 Lightning going on sale next spring.

The investment and added jobs will help increase production capacity to 80,000 trucks a year. The other facilities handling production are the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center and Rawsonville Components Plant as well.

“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," said Bill Ford, executive chair, Ford Motor Company, in the news release. "So we are doubling down, adding jobs and investment to increase production. This truck and the Ford-UAW workers who are assembling it in Michigan have a chance to make history and lead the electric vehicle movement in America.” 

F-150 Lightning, with a starting MSRP of $40,000 and targeted EPA-estimated driving range of 300 miles with the extended range battery1, is aimed at the heart of the U.S. auto market.

“Electrifying the F-Series – America’s best-selling truck for 44 years – and assembling it at this high-tech facility in Michigan – represents a significant step toward mass adoption of electric vehicles in America,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford’s president of The Americas and International Markets Group, in the news release. “F-150 Lightning is intended to be more than a no-compromise zero tailpipe-emissions truck. It’s packed with ingenious features and technology that will improve over time, and it can power your home and worksite.”  

Ford confirmed construction of the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center a year ago as part of an initial $700 million investment in the historic Ford Rouge Center, creating a manufacturing home for the F-150 Lightning. Now Ford’s pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks are leaving the factory for real-world testing, with the truck available to customers next spring.

Most of the 450 additional hourly direct jobs will involve assembling the F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Workers at Rawsonville Components Plant will assemble the batteries and Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center will increase its capacity to supply electric motors and electric transaxles for the F-150 Lightning.

Ford has invested $7.7 billion in Michigan and created and retained 7,000 jobs there since 2016, including bringing the new Bronco SUV and Ranger pickup production to Michigan, refurbishing Michigan Central Station, developing a new Ford Research and Engineering Campus in Dearborn, creating Ford’s Ion Park in Romulus. Michigan has been the home of Ford since its founding in 1903 and these sites represent a growing network across southeast Michigan that will support the next generation of Ford’s battery electric, connected and autonomous vehicles.

Ford hosted government officials including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Congresswoman Debbie Dingell to celebrate Ford’s commitment to Michigan and assembling electric vehicles in Michigan as the first pre-production F-150 Lightning trucks start to leave the factory.

“We’re standing on the edge of an era of electrification that will be built in factories like this one by hardworking UAW members and the innovative minds at Ford,” Governor Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement.  “I am proud of Ford for committing to invest $30 billion in electrification through 2025, including this additional $250 million today to create 450 jobs in Dearborn, Ypsilanti and Sterling Heights supporting the production of the new F-150 Lightning."

The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is in the Ford Rouge Center, which focuses on sustainable automotive assembly. This new center supports Ford’s vision of sustainable production as a zero waste-to-landfill site. The center uses natural lighting, as well as LED lighting and the primary forklift fleet will use hydrogen fuel cells with a zero-emission profile. The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is built on the site of the old Dearborn Assembly Plant, using its recycled foundation and construction materials.

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