The Ford Motor Company has announced that it is suspending production and shipments of its new battery-electric pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning, after discovering potential issues with the car’s battery during pre-delivery checks.
Ford spokesperson Emma Bergg refused to disclose what specific battery issue is the problem. She did note that this particular problem has not been observed in any F-150 Lightnings that have already been shipped out. This means that Lightnings that are already at dealerships will be delivered to customers as scheduled and will not be affected by the order. (Related: EV NIGHTMARE: Man spends 15 hours to travel 178 miles, proving EVs are unsuitable for long-distance travel.)
Bergg noted that the stop-shipment order and temporary halt in production were issued at the beginning of the second week of February.
Shares of Ford dropped by about one percent to under $13 a share on Tuesday, Feb. 14, following the announcement. Ford has not established a timeline for when production and shipments of the F-150 will resume.
“The team is diligently working on the root cause analysis,” said Bergg, adding that the company is “doing the right thing by our customers” to resolve any potential issues before resuming production and shipments.
SK Innovation Co., a South Korean company that supplies batteries to Ford, said it is also investigating the matter. SK Innovation makes batteries in South Korea, China, Hungary and the United States for Ford as well as other automobile manufacturing companies like Volkswagen and Hyundai.
F-150 the latest EV to experience manufacturing problems
Neal Boudette, writing for the New York Times, noted that vehicles with faulty high-voltage batteries can cause overheating or even intense fires that can take emergency services hours to put out.
One notable case of this was in 2021 and 2022, when General Motors had to recall every single Chevrolet Bolt EV made from 2017 to 2021 to address fire issues caused by “rare manufacturing defects.” The company dedicated a lot of its resources to replacing the battery packs of these vehicles before it resumed production.
Tesla cars have also been involved in a number of serious fires caused by damaged or faulty batteries.
Ford introduced the F-150 Lightning last year as one of the most prominent vehicles the company has added to its lineup in decades. The automaker is hoping to ramp up production and establish a firm lead in the growing market for electric pickup trucks. Investors are also closely watching the F-150 as it has the potential to be the first mainstream electric pickup truck on the market.
The F-150 Lightning is built at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan. Production of the EV pickup began in April 2022, and Ford currently has more than 200,000 reservations for Lightnings. This surge in reservations helped the company more than double its EV sales last year, making it the second-largest seller of electric cars in the United States behind Tesla, which still controls nearly two-thirds of the U.S. market.
However, despite running the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center on three work crews, seven days a week with the goal of boosting output to 150,000 annually by the fall of 2023, Ford has been unable to increase production beyond about 2,000 to 2,400 units a month. By the end of 2022, the company was only able to sell a little over 15,000 EV pickups.
The battery issue is certain to make the company’s financial situation even worse as it tries to cut costs and return to profitability after losing $2 billion in 2022.
Learn more about electric vehicles at RoboCars.news.
Watch this video from auto guru and commentator Tyler Hoover as he demonstrates the F-150 Lightning’s “abysmal” towing capabilities.
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