Ford Begins Production Of F-150 Electric Pickup Truck

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Ford Begins Production Of F-150 Electric Pickup Truck
According to Ford, the F-150 Lightning will have an estimated range of about 320 miles and the vehicle's pricing starts at $39,947.

Ford Motor Co. marked the launch of an electric version of its immensely popular F-150 pickup truck. The automaker held a ceremony in its home city of Dearborn, Michigan, on Tuesday, showing off the new Lightning.

Ford hopes the electric truck will become the catalyst that hastens America's transition from gasoline to battery powered vehicles.

"This moment is every bit as important to this company and to this country as when the Model T first started rolling off the assembly line," said Bill Ford, the company's executive chair.

Industry analysts say the intense competition in the electric pickup market means that battery-powered vehicles are moving into the mainstream after years of confinement to luxury or smaller vehicles.

Pickups are among the most popular vehicles in the U.S. Ford's F-Series is traditionally the top-selling vehicle in America, followed by Stellantis' Ram pickup and General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado. Automakers sold more than 2.3 million big pickups last year, about 15% of all vehicles sold in the U.S. Many go for well over $50,000 and are a huge source of profits and jobs with the automakers.

But converting buyers from gas- and diesel-powered V8 and V6 engines may be a tough sell, especially for those who need the trucks for work.

"We plan to challenge Tesla and all comers to become the top EV maker in the world," Ford CEO Jim Farley said at Tuesday's event. "That's something that no one would have believed just two years ago from us. Take a look at this truck and believe it. A truck that's made in America. A truck that's made in Detroit."

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.