© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden tests the new Ford F-150 Lightning Truck when he visits the VDAB at the Ford Dearborn Development Center in Dearborn, Michigan, USA on May 18, 2021. REUTERS / Leah Millis / File Photo
By Joseph White
DETROIT (Reuters) – Ford Motor (NYSE 🙂 Co & # 39; s newly unveiled electric version of its best-selling F-150 pickup truck doubles on a bet that the company can beat Tesla (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc and other competitors by it Familiarize yourself with new technologies Introduce yourself and convince long-term fleet and business customers that using electrical equipment saves money.
Ford officially unveiled the F-150 Lightning battery-electric model Wednesday night after it cameo during President Joe Biden's Tuesday visit to the Rouge manufacturing complex in Dearborn, Michigan, where the trucks will be assembled starting next year.
Due to customer feedback, Ford has already increased the planned production capacity https://www.reuters.com/article/autos-ford-electric-idUKL1N2HV3DW for the electric F-150 by "tens of thousands" vehicles per year. Ford's head for America and International Markets, Kumar Galhotra, told Reuters ahead of the official debut on Wednesday. He did not announce the new production targets.
Ford expects to grow annual production of the electric F-150 to 40,000 or more from 2023, according to Sam Fiorani, head of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions.
Ford executives said ahead of the debut on Wednesday they had a different strategy for selling electric vehicles and vans in bulk than Tesla or General Motors Co (NYSE :).
As Tesla and GM position their first electric pickups as lifestyle vehicles for the wealthy, Ford executives are focused on convincing commercial fleet operators – a Ford-dominated market – that the F-150 Lightning and electric transit are inexpensive and affordable are rational decisions.
"This is the only way you can increase the volume," said Ted Cannis, Ford's general manager for commercial vehicles.
The electric F-150 and an electric version of Ford's transit van, due to hit the market later this year, look like the gasoline versions, which are the top-selling profit machines for the No. 2 U.S. automaker, and share many components with you.
A "commercial base" version of Ford's F-150 Lightning will start at $ 39,974 before tax credits, including a $ 7,500 tax credit that Ford buyers can still receive and Tesla and General Motors buyers cannot. That price is about $ 10,000 higher than the cheapest gasoline-powered F-150.
In addition to an estimated range of 230 miles (370 km), the base F-150 Lightning has a 15.5-inch (39.37 cm) Tesla-style dashboard screen, spacious "frunk" storage space in which the gas engine would be located, and enough plugs and juice to power a construction site for up to three days, Ford officials said.
A Lightning XLT model that matches the best-selling version of the F-150 gasoline will start at $ 52,974, according to Ford. That is 51% more than the base price of the petrol XLT.
Ford is planning more expensive versions of the F-150 Lightning, including a "Platinum" model with an extended range battery that is expected to be priced at $ 90,000.
Tesla's electric cybertruck, which looks like it rolled off the set of a science fiction film, is set to begin mass production in 2022, and its price will start at $ 39,900. GM's first electric pickup truck is an "electric super truck," the GMC Hummer EV, priced between $ 79,995 and nearly $ 100,000. Mass production will begin in the fall of 2022 after a small first run of trucks this fall.
GM plans to introduce a Lightning competitor, the Chevrolet Silverado EV, in late 2022, Fiorani said. It will be built on a special electric vehicle platform that it shares with the upcoming Hummer EV, GM said.
GM is also entering the electric delivery van segment with a new entity, BrightDrop, and a new purpose-built electric van.
Ford uses a heavier steel for the frame of the F-150 Lightning, but hasn't completely redesigned it to incorporate the battery into the chassis.
The proximity to the current model allows Ford to offer the electric vehicle at a competitive price earlier "and make money from it," said Darren Palmer, general manager for Ford's electric vehicles.
Ford plans to offer software-enabled services to fleet and business customers such as: These include tracking driver behavior, predicting maintenance, and planning delivery routes, according to Ford's Cannis.
Once Ford starts charging for these services, "you're in the subscription game," Cannis said.