- Ford Motor plans to restart production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup on March 13.
- A month ago, a battery problem caused one of the vehicles to catch fire.
- Ford declined to disclose details about the problem that caused the vehicle to catch fire or about the solution implemented.
Ford workers produce the electric F-150 Lightning pickup on December 13, 2022 at the automaker’s Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC).
Michael Wayland | CNBC
DETROIT — Ford Motor plans to restart production of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup on March 13 — more than a month after a battery problem caused one of the vehicles to catch fire.
The automaker told CNBC on Thursday that the production timeline will allow battery supplier SK On to ramp up production and deliver battery packs to the Michigan plant where the truck is manufactured.
The fire occurred on February 4 in a storage area during a pre-delivery quality check while the vehicle was being loaded. Ford halted production of the vehicles and issued a stop shipment to dealers. Ford declined to disclose details about the problem that caused the vehicle to catch fire or about the solution implemented. The company previously said engineers determined there was no evidence of a charging failure.
“In the weeks ahead, we will continue to apply our lessons learned and work with SK On’s team to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality battery packs – right down to the battery cells. As REVC ramps up production, we will continue to have vehicles already in production. while we’re working through engineering and parts updates,” Ford said in a statement to CNBC.
Ford announced last week that SK had begun building battery cells again at a facility in Georgia, but said the automaker would extend the downtime at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC), where the F-150 Lightning is built, at least this week.
The F-150 Lightning is being closely watched by investors, as it is the first mainstream electric pickup on the market and a big launch for Ford. The battery issue adds to ongoing “execution issues” described to investors last month by Ford CEO Jim Farley that crippled the automaker’s fourth-quarter earnings.
Ford first opened customer reservations for the F-150 Lightning when it was revealed in May 2021. More than 200,000 reservations were made before Ford temporarily ended the process to try to adjust production to expected demand.
Many reservation owners are still waiting for their vehicles, as Ford said earlier Thursday that it has sold fewer than 20,000 of the all-electric trucks since they went on sale last year.