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Ford Stops Building, Delivering Its Electric Truck for Potential Battery Issue - But It Won't Disclose the Issue

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Want to buy Motor Trend’s 2023 Truck of the Year?

You’ll have to wait. That’s because its production has been suspended.

Ford says it has stopped building and shipping its electric F-150 Lightning because of a battery issue.

Ford isn’t saying what specifically is wrong, but company spokeswoman Emma Bergg told Motor Authority that the battery problem was discovered during pre-delivery inspections.

As a result, the company issued stop-build and stop-ship orders. It has not made a stop-sell decree, meaning finished F-150 Lightings already at dealers are not affected.

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And the company says it is unaware of any problems with F-150 Lighting trucks already on the road.

There’s no timeline to predict when production and factory-based shipping will resume. “It depends on how long it will take to conduct the root cause analysis,” Bergg said.

The battery issue is a snag in Ford’s efforts to increase EV production and sales. It comes just as Ford announced intentions to build a $3.5 billion battery plant in Marshall, Michigan, according to The Detroit Free Press.

Although Ford EV sales were 12,000 in fourth quarter 2022, it’s aiming by the end of this year to have monthly sales of 50,000 units and 600,000 internationally, according to CEO Jim Farley in an earnings call to investors.

Are EVs complete failures?

The battery problem will not prompt Ford to recall Lightnings, according to Motor Trend. In the wake of the company’s silence, online forums indicate Ford dealers are replacing batteries for free due to parts not properly performing.

Farley cited the Lightning as the top-selling EV pickup, but there are problems.

Cold weather has reduced Lightning’s driving range, and to save battery power, the company has advised drivers not to use the heater in cold temperatures.

There has been at least one serious charging incident and, in addition to a high vehicle price tag, a new battery can cost $35,000.

While Motor Trend predicts the new Michigan battery plant may reduce overall vehicle costs, the price of the Lightning has risen three times over the last year. The least expensive of the trucks was initially $41,769 MSRP, but that has risen by $16,000 or 38.5 percent.

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Still, there is a waiting list for the F-150 Lightning, according to the Free Press.

So Ford engineers are attempting to unravel the battery problem because each day without production is a day lost forever.

Yet, there’s something about old Henry Ford becoming immensely successful with the original Model T because, besides low price, the thing was simple, sturdy, and reliable.

And simple, sturdy, and reliable are words that can be applied to the venerable internal combustion Ford F-150.

When will those words be applied to an electric F-150?

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Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.
Mike Landry, PhD, is a retired business professor. He has been a journalist, broadcaster and church pastor. He writes from Northwest Arkansas on current events and business history.




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