What just happened? Ford has halted production and shipments of its all-electric pickup truck, the Ford F-150 Lightning. Ford spokesperson Emma Bergg told CNBC that during a pre-delivery quality inspection, a vehicle displayed a potential battery issue. As a result, the automaker has paused production and shipments to conduct a root cause analysis.
Bergg added that Ford is unaware of any incidents related to the issue in the field, nor has a stop sale order been issued for vehicles already on dealer lots. The latter admission seems to suggest the issue might not be too terribly serious or a safety hazard. If it were dangerous, Ford likely would have halted sales as well.
Batteries for the new Lightning are produced by SK On, a South Korean supplier with no previous production issues.
A production hiccup with the Lightning is the last thing Ford wants to be dealing with right now. According to The New York Times, Ford is the largest producer of EVs in the US behind Tesla. The company has more than 200,000 reservations for the EV pickup but has been unable to increase production beyond 2,000 to 2,400 trucks per month. At that rate, it would take nearly seven years for Ford to catch up on current reservations.
Earlier this week, Ford announced plans to invest $3.5 billion to build a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery plant in Marshall, Michigan. The facility, dubbed BlueOval Battery Park Michigan, will initially employ 2,500 people once production gets under way in 2026.
LFP batteries will be offered as an alternative to nickel cobalt manganese (NCM) batteries, which each having unique benefits. According to Ford, materials for LFP batteries are more readily available, making them less expensive to produce. They are also more durable and tolerant to frequent and faster charging. Conversely, NCM batteries can generate more energy and power, and perform better in cold weather.
Bergg told CNBC that Ford does not have a timeline for when production and shipments might resume.
Shares in Ford are down 1.62 percent as of writing.