Ford to nearly double F150 Lightning production

Every major automaker is rushing to get all-electric models to the market and that includes Ford Motor.

Detroit's No. 2 automaker on Thursday announced plans to boost production capacity for its planned F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck to 80,000 per year by 2024.

That's basically double Ford's previous target.

The increase, according to Ford, is due to strong demand for the Lightning, which is the electric version of its iconic gas-powered F-150.

The truck, which Ford hopes will help it steal some of the limelight from Tesla, will start selling in the spring, Ford also announced Thursday.

Interest really got a boom once prospective buyers heard the price, says Kumar Galhotra. He's president of The Americas and International Markets Group at the Ford Motor Company.

"We introduced the pricing for the vehicle because it'll start at under forty thousand dollars. There was even more interest from customers, commercial customers, personal use customers. So the demand has been increasing steadily. We now have over 150,000 orders. So as the demand was growing, we were also breaking constraints."

In order to keep up, Ford is investing $250 million and adding 450 hourly jobs across three of its facilities in Michigan.

But its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is expected to do most of the heavy lifting.

But Ford is not alone.

Other global automakers are also racing to shift their gasoline-powered lineups to all-electric power under pressure from regions like Europe and China to cut vehicle emissions.

The U.S. has also issued guidelines to move the industry away from gas-powered engines - blamed for contributing to global warming.

For its part, Ford has gone all-in on the Lightning, even taking it on a road show last spring in New York City.

President Biden even got a chance to take it for a spin during a visit to Detroit in May.

But industry observers question whether individual buyers will give up their gas-powered pickups for a plug-in version.

Ford is betting they will, and the Federal government could help tip the balance in favor of vehicles like the Lightning.

Congress is currently debating whether to expand tax credits for electric vehicles, including offering an extra $4,500 to EVs, such as the Lightning, that are made in the United States with union labor.