Ford Holding Back New F-150 Lightnings Due to Unknown Battery Pack Issue
We awarded the Ford F-150 Lightning our 2023 MotorTrend Truck of the Year accolade, but even before that, the all-electric pickup was already a hot commodity. While it’s revolutionary for the segment, let alone the industry overall—it started out, at least, as an impossibly affordable EV—it’s not flawless. Any all-new vehicle is going to have teething problems. Thing is, the Lightning seems to have sprouted quite the teething issue: its high voltage battery (HVB) pack. So far, Ford has only called for any undelivered Lightnings to be held until the fix is found, but there might be some circumstantial clues from reports by current F-150 EV owners.
The report comes from Motor Authority, which confirmed with Ford that new F-150 Lightnings are being held in-transit under a stop-ship order, and a stop-build order is in effect at the Lightning’s plant. The issue appears to stem from its battery, but Ford hasn’t yet disclosed what that issue is to MotorTrend when we reached out.
The Blue Oval also has not indicated a timeline on when the issue will be corrected and deliveries will resume, only telling Motor Authority that “It depends on how long it will take to conduct the root cause analysis.” This is just the latest in a series of “execution issues” that Ford CEO Jim Farley talked about during its fourth-quarter earnings call.
The news is also hot off the heels of Ford’s announcement of a brand new battery plant being built in Michigan that will supply it with Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) chemistry batteries. Not only would these batteries be used to supply cheaper trims of the F-150 Lightning, but would also speed up production time since the batteries would be made in the U.S.
This is a much needed relief for potential F-150 Lightning owners, as the entry price has rocketed since the truck debuted, with three price hikes this year alone boosting the least-expensive Lightning’s price by $16,100 over its original $41,769 MSRP. It would also help with potential requirements of the EV Tax Credit as part of the Biden Administration’s Inflation Reduction Act. At some point, the IRS will set a percentage requirement for battery production in order for EVs to qualify for those tax credits.
While Ford didn’t state a cause and has stated that the issues with the high voltage battery won’t cause a recall or stop-sale of currently delivered Lightnings, posts by owners in various Lightning and F-150 forums hint at what those issues might be. One owner posted an email from Ford that “authorized (their) dealer to replace certain high voltage battery module(s)” from the owner’s vehicle free of charge. The reason stated was that their 2022 build-date Lightning was “equipped with parts that are not performing as intended…” Other owners have posted similar stories of Ford’s Concern Team and Battery Team with emails slightly different but saying exactly the same thing. The email in question coincided with a delay in Lightning production reported by members that took place on February 6.
Again, Ford has stated that the issue with the HBV in the undelivered trucks isn’t affecting those already on dealer lots, as well as none that are sold and in the hands of owners, but it isn’t sharing much more beyond that.
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