Following an issue with a battery fire during testing, Ford will restart production of its popular F-150 Lightning electric pickup on Monday, March 13, the company announced Thursday. By then, the truck will have been out of production for about a month.
During pre-delivery inspections, one of the trucks caught fire, according to Ford, and the company halted production and deliveries of the F-150. The company then began an investigation, along with its battery supplier SK On, into the cause of the problem, Ford spokesperson Emma Bergg wrote in an email following the initial announcement of the stoppage.
Once the issue was figured out, battery cell production restarted on February 20, Bergg said. In the coming days, the new battery cells will be assembled into the battery packs that Ford uses to build the trucks. Ford has not provided any information about what the specific issue actually was, but Bergg did say it was not thought to be a problem for any trucks already owned and being used by customers.
Ford has sold 18,000 Lightning pickups since production started in the spring of 2022. Ford had nearly 200,000 reservations for the truck by the end of 2021 when the reservation system was closed.
Currently the best-seller in the category, the Lightning will face intense competition. Later this year, GM begins production of the Chevrolet Silverado EV, which will be joined early next year by its corporate sibling, the GMC Sierra EV.
Tesla has said its Cybertruck will begin full production in 2024, following a number of delays. Stellantis is also supposed to begin production of the Ram 1500 Rev electric truck later next year, as well.
Last year, Ford created two separate business units within the company, one for internal combustion-powered vehicles called Ford Blue, and the other for electric vehicles called Ford Model E. The electric F-150 Lightning truck is built at a factory near Ford’s headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan, outside Detroit.
The automaker has been investing heavily in battery production and recently announced a $3.5 billion investment in a new battery plant in Michigan that is supposed to begin production in 2026. The automaker is also building production facilities in Kentucky and Tennessee to build electric vehicle batteries and electric trucks.