Photo Credit:Tanya Gazdik/MediaPost
When Ford Motor Co. debuted the Ford F-150 Lightning, the vehicle was in high demand.
Now, with the popularity of the overall electric vehicle market leveling off, its popularity has taken a hit.
“In the last three months of the year, according to the California New Car Dealers Association, new-vehicle registrations of electric vehicles fell from the previous three months in California — the largest market for battery-powered cars and trucks,” according toThe New York Times. “Ford Motor, General Motors and others are now slowing down electric vehicle investments. GM is also delaying the sale of some new electric models and making plans to produce plug-in hybrids, which dealers say are drawing more customer interest.”
In 2023, Ford sold 24,000 Lightnings, a 54% increase from the previous year but well short of the annual production of 150,000 that the company had once aimed for, according to The New York Times.
Ford recently announced it is reducing production of the F-150 Lightning pickup truck.
“The No. 2 U.S. automaker said it would cut production at its Michigan Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to one shift starting April 1,” according to Reuters. “In October, the automaker said it would temporarily cut one of three shifts at the Michigan plant that builds the electric F-150 Lightning pickup truck.”
The F-150 Lightning has suffered in particular because some buyers say it did not meet expectations. Wildly fluctuating vehicle range is an often-repeated problem for the vehicle.
Stories about inaccurate estimates of how far a vehicle can travel based on its current charge met with broken or poorly working charging stations has left even Californians like MotorTrend’s Christian Seabaugh frustrated with the vehicle. A recent emergency road trip in the vehicle left Seabaugh and his wife seriously wanting.
“I asked my wife if she had any thoughts on our inglorious adventure,” Seabaurgh writes. “'When you're dealing with a family emergency, the last thing you should have to worry about is your relatively new vehicle,’ she said. She's right.”
Even though Ford is losing money right now on its EV business, selling an EV like the F-150 Lightning allows the automaker to comply with federal mandates and still sell more gas-powered cars and trucks, which make a lot more money.
“For every electric F-150 it sells, it can sell up to 12 gas-powered versions and still comply with emissions regulations, which are meant to curb pollution from gas-guzzling vehicles,” according to Marketplace.
Despite the vehicle’s inherent flaws, Ford should still be credited for bringing a more mainstream electric vehicle to market. There’s a reason the vehicle is a benchmark for other automakers.
“Toyota has been ‘secretly’ developing its midsize EPU (Electric PickUp) all-electric truck for three years,” according to electrek. “The Japanese automaker is currently benchmarking the Tesla Cybertruck and Ford F-150 Lightning.”