Ford F-150 Lightning EV tops 160,000 reservations as production nears

If Ford somehow converted all reservations to orders, it would likely have multiple years of the all-electric truck's production spoken for.

Chris Paukert Former executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015. Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Chris Paukert
3 min read
2022 Ford F-150 Lightning
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2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

Ford's F-150 Lightning is being seen as a bellwether for consumer acceptance of EVs.


Despite the fervor around Tesla's Cybertruck, it's been an open question as to how America's truck buyers would respond to an all-electric pickup. Judging by the rising number of reservations for Ford's upcoming all-electric F-150 Lightning, that audience is substantial. Thus far, the 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning has logged over 160,000 total reservations, up from 150,000 mentioned during a preproduction announcement mid-September. That number, first reported Wednesday by EV fan site Electrek, has been confirmed to Roadshow by a Ford spokesperson.

The increase of 10,000 does suggest Lightning reservation rates are slowing. However, that's arguably to be expected given a constellation of factors, not the least of which is that fewer and fewer consumers are likely to want to queue up at the end of such a long line. That's especially true when Ford has yet to confirm how many F-150 Lightnings it thinks it can build per year once production ramps up to full capacity. In the near term, the Dearborn, Michigan-based automaker has confirmed it's adding 450 jobs to increase output to 80,000 trucks a year. Other factors, including prolonged consternation about the worldwide semiconductor shortage, may also be playing a role in ongoing reservation rates.

It's important to note that these reservations aren't orders -- they're $100 fully refundable deposits, not slam-dunk guarantees of future purchases for the Blue Oval. That said, they're strong hand-raising statements of interest, and besides, $16 million in windfall reservation revenue in the near term is nothing to sneeze at. At this rate, even if only 50% of reservation holders are converted to firm orders, Ford appears to have a year's worth of Lightning production already spoken for -- likely more. Ford has previously stated that it will begin contacting reservation holders to book their orders this fall, with initial deliveries planned for next spring.

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Industry analysts and other automakers have been monitoring the F-150 Lightning's interest levels closely, as the truck is being viewed as a bellwether for EV demand among mainstream consumers. Ford's F-150 has been America's best-selling truck for 44 years running, and the Lightning's traditional design and low starting MSRP ($39,974 plus a to-be-determined destination fee) are a strike at the heart of the market -- especially since the model still qualifies for up to $7,500 in federal tax credits, among other incentives.

The Lightning won't be the first battery-powered pickup to reach consumers. Rivian, a startup automaker backed by Amazon and Ford itself, has announced that initial deliveries of its R1T electric truck have already begun. This smaller, pricier vehicle seems to be playing to a different market segment entirely, however. More traditional competition is on the horizon for the Lightning: General Motors has pledged to reveal an electric Chevy Silverado at CES in January, and the automaker's first GMC Hummer pickups are expected to reach consumers very soon.

In other words, Elon Musk and Tesla may have opened the floodgates on battery-powered pickups, but given the Cybertruck's production delays, it appears Tesla will be beaten to market by a variety of all-electric trucks.

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