Ford nearly doubled the production target for a new electric version of its top-selling pickup to 150,000 a year, an announcement that raised its share price sharply on Tuesday.
Sales of the F-150 Lightning truck will be a barometer of the success of electric vehicles in the US, where drivers tend to prefer larger vehicles.
Ford raised its target for the second time, after first setting a target of 40,000 a year and then raising it to 80,000 last year. The trucks will be made at Ford’s factory in Dearborn, Michigan, with customers’ deliveries starting in spring 2022.
“The reality is clear,” said Kumar Galhotra, president of Ford’s Americas and international markets. “People are ready for a fully electric F-150, and Ford is doing everything it can to scale our operations and increase production capacity.”
Ford shares rose 11.7 percent to $ 24.31 in New York on Tuesday.
Ford and rival General Motors spend tens of billions of dollars developing and introducing EVs that are popular with American consumers. The F-150 has been the top-selling motor vehicle in the US for more than four decades, which means that a successful introduction of the electric version potential to cause mass adoption of EVs.
To date, EVs account for about 3 percent of U.S. car and truck sales – less than in Europe and China – with Tesla having a big lead over Ford and GM. Both traditional car manufacturers and new players like Tesla and Rivian are focus on electric trucks as a way to penetrate the market.
President Joe Biden has called for EVs to account for half of all U.S. car sales by 2030 in an effort to reduce emissions. But Ford does not advocate for the environmental friendliness of the F-150 Lightning. Instead, he marketed the truck to commercial buyers such as building contractors and promoted its secondary use as an electric home battery during a power outage.
Of the nearly 200,000 consumers who reserved the F-150 Lightning, nearly 75 percent of them are new to the Ford brand, the company said. The truck has a starting price of about $ 40,000, less than many other EVs on the market. Truck bookings will begin converting to orders on Thursday.
Ford has committed to that building a “mega-campus” in Tennessee which will include an assembly plant to build the Lightning. Jim Farley, chief executive, said in November that he finally wanted the company number one in EV sales and produces 600,000 battery vehicles per year worldwide by the end of 2023.