These are the customers who matter most.
As you can imagine, the commercial sector is a big market for Ford. "The Lightning pickup and E-Transit van are targeted at real people doing real work," said Ted Cannis, chief executive of Ford Pro, at a recent media event.
The main problem is fleet buyers taking a wait-and-see approach, which makes sense. The idea of commercial EVs is still fresh, and there is a lack of experience, not to mention a lack of concise information regarding the government's regulations around EVs.
Cannis told Reuters that the obstacles standing in Ford's way are not insurmountable. "In the US, we see 70% of the full-size bus and van industry going electric by 2030. That's more than 300,000 vehicles annually. And we expect a third of the full-size pickup (market) to go all-electric by 2030, which is more than 800,000 vehicles annually," he said.
He goes on to say that fleet customers can save money on fuel, maintenance, and repairs. An EV has fewer moving parts than a traditional ICE vehicle, and the savings on the maintenance side could be massive. Not to mention the savings related to fuel costs. Still, Cannis says there is a fear of the unknown amongst employees and managers.
Ford currently has 150,000 reservations from both fleet and retail customers. These reservations will only be converted into actual sales when the order books open in 2022.
The reaction to the Lightning has been fantastic. Cannis says most customers think it's the most exciting F-150 ever. "We have so much demand, I'm not sure how we can supply enough vehicles," said Cannis. This statement comes after Ford announced that it would invest another $250 million in the Lightning project.
Even though the fleet market is still hesitant, the Lightning has been more successful than Ford could have predicted. Ford's target currently sits at 80,000 in 2024, which is double the original target of 40,000. The 2022 production is expected to be in the 20,000 region.
The reservation pricing currently starts at $40,000, going up to $90,000.