Ford has restarted production of its F-150 Lightning EV pickup truck, following a six-week shutdown to retool its Dearborn, Michigan, manufacturing site to expand capacity.
The downtime allowed the automaker to retool the site to triple manufacturing capacity of its flagship EV truck, the company said in an announcement Tuesday. The expansion will allow Ford to produce at a run rate of 150,000 units a year by this fall.
The manufacturing overhaul is part of Ford's plan to meet an expected rise in EV demand in the coming years and shorten wait times to deliver vehicles to customers. The company expects the facility to produce 70,000 trucks in 2023, outpacing its production so far this year of approximately 25,000 units.
Ford is currently training an additional 1,200 manufacturing employees for work at the site. The facility is using automation to measure and validate exterior body fit for margin and flushness precision, the first time the tools have been used by the company in North America.
Meanwhile, Ford is bulking up battery production at its Michigan-based battery assembly plant to match the increased EV capacity.
It's been a bumpy road for Ford's F-150 Lightning since the automaker began production of the pickup truck in April 2022.
Ford was forced to halt production of the truck for five weeks earlier this year due to issues related to batteries supplied by manufacturer SK On. The battery maker declined at the time to specify the issue but said it was a "rare occurrence, not a fundamental issue with the technology of the battery cells or the overall manufacturing systems."
Then in July, Ford slashed the truck's price by up to $9,979 thanks to easing raw material prices and factory upgrades that allowed it to scale production.
The price cut came amid growing competition between Ford and other EV makers like Tesla and GM. Tesla began production of its first Cybertruck on July 15, while GM is planning the upcoming launch of its Chevy Silverado EV pickup, with reservations for the vehicle already full.