After several weeks of shutdown, the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center resumed production of the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup on March 13, 2023.
The news was officially announced by the company’s CEO Jim Farley, who wrote:
“#F150Lightning production restarted this morning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center. Proud of the team’s commitment to put quality and safety above all else. This is the engineering standard we aim to deliver consistently.”
Production of the electric Ford F-150 was temporarily halted in mid-February, as a precaution due to a potential battery issue.
We don’t know what the production rate is right now (before the pause, it was probably around 2,000 units a month), but it’s promised to increase significantly later this year (the target rate is 150,000 per year or 12,500 per month, by the end of 2023).
The Ford F-150 Lightning’s production (and shipping to customers) was halted in mid-February after an assembled F-150 Lightning caught fire while charging, during a quality inspection. Initially, the production pause was only for a week or two, but ultimately it was extended a few times to a total of about four weeks. In early March, production was reported to resume on March 13, which happened as promised.
According to reports, the root cause of the fire was quickly identified after the fire – a battery cell manufacturing defect – and Ford together with its lithium-ion battery cell supplier (SK Innovation’s SK On), applied some changes to the production of the battery cells at SK On’s battery plant in Commerce, Georgia.
The company does not reveal the exact issue, but it seems that it was something minor related to individual battery cells (at least minor compared to some of the other battery recalls).
Out of some 20,000 Ford F-150 Lightning sold so far in the United States, Ford recalled only 18 units (2023 model year). It’s really positive news that only a very small number of vehicles might be affected by potentially defective battery cells. The vehicles will have the battery pack replaced at no cost.
Interestingly, Ford stated that the trucks can still be driven and charged, but it’s recommended to make an appointment for a battery pack replacement service as soon as possible.
Ford also noted at the time that was not aware of any injuries or accidents related to the Ford F-150 Lightning recall.