Ford is expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center where the company’s battery-electric pickup truck, the F-150 Lightning, is built.
The automaker it is building a 335,000-sq.-ft. (31,120-sq.-m) addition at both the north and south ends of the original 500,000-sq.-ft. (46,450-sq.-m) building, Ford spokeswoman Kelli Felker says. The expansion is meant to increase the center’s annual capacity to 150,000 units when it is finished. The plant employs 750 workers on three shifts to build the Lightning. Felker notes operations are continuing during construction.
Ford broke ground for the Rouge EV Center in 2020 and began building its first all-electric pickup truck for sales to customers earlier this year.
The center is part of Ford’s historic Rouge Complex in Dearborn, MI, and is located between the Dearborn Truck Plant‘s body shop and assembly building. Dearborn Truck is a relatively new factory erected in the 1990s to replace the original Rouge complex, which began operating during World War I.
The bodies used for the Lightning BEV pass along the same body shop and welding lines used for the internal-combustion F-150. The bodies are painted in Dearborn Truck’s paint shop, then move to the Rouge EV Center where they are joined to the Lightning’s frame and battery-electric powertrain (pictured, below), Felker says.
Both the body shop and paint shop inside Dearborn Truck can accommodate the additional volume required to build the Lightning, according to Felker.
The Rouge EV Center is part of Ford’s $700 million investment in F-150 manufacturing infrastructure, which was made prior to the current expansion.
The Lightning has been sold out ever since Ford started taking orders for the BEV. Sales of the Lightning this year have helped make Ford the No.2 maker and seller of electric vehicles after Tesla, according to Ford sales executives. Including the Mustang Mach-E CUV and E-Transit light-commercial vehicle, Ford says its BEV sales in November more than doubled from a year earlier.
F-150 Lightning sales totaled 2,062 in November and deliveries have totaled 13,258 since the pickup went on the market at the end of May, according to Ford sales reports. The automaker also says it sold 654 E-Transits in November and 5,811 year-to-date, good for an 80% share of the commercial-EV market. Mustang Mach-E sales of 3,539 in November were 14.6% over year-ago, and global Mach-E production has topped more than 150,000 units.