A battery fire in one truck earlier this month started this whole thing.
Ford is extending the production stoppage of its F-150 Lightning all-electric pickup truck by another week as it works to fix the problem that caused a battery fire in one of the trucks. This will be the fourth week in a row for the downtime.
The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan won't begin full operations again until the week of March 6, at the earliest as battery supplier SK On finalizes changes in its manufacturing process at its plant in Georgia. "It will take SK time to ensure they are back to building high-quality cells and to deliver them to the Lightning production line," the automaker said. SK On had no comment.
The hold on shipping F-150 Lightnings to dealerships will also remain on hold for an additional week. Despite the frustrations from many dealers and customers, Ford simply has no choice but to take the time with its battery supplier to resolve the issue once and for all. Both of their reputations are on the line.
The good news is that this is not a stop-sale order, so trucks that have already been delivered to dealers are cleared for sale. The single F-150 Lightning battery fire, which occurred on February 4, did not result in any injuries. The troubled truck was, at the time, parked in a holding lot in Dearborn awaiting shipment. But the fire did spread to two other trucks parked nearby.
The decision to delay shipments is undoubtedly the correct one. The immensely popular Lightning is a significant product as it represents Ford's greater electrification plans going forward. Ford is investing $50 billion to develop and manufacture upwards of 2 million battery-electric vehicles annually by 2026.
The Rouge plant, prior to the shutdown, had been operating seven days a week in an effort to increase Lightning production to 150,000 units a year by fall 2023. At present, Ford is not aware of any additional battery-related fires in the trucks that have already been delivered to customers.
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