The manufacturing cease of the Ford F-150 Lightning was triggered by a fireplace within the automobile battery
Ford CEO Jim Farley pats a Ford F-150 Lightning truck before announcing at a news conference that Ford Motor Company will be working with the world’s largest battery company, a China-based company called Contemporary Amperex Technology, to build a battery factory for electric vehicles to be erected at Marshall, Michigan on February 13, 2023 at Romulus, Michigan.
Bill Pugliano | News from Getty Images | Getty Images
DETROIT- Ford engine expects production of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck to be halted until at least late next week to fix a potential battery problem that led to a vehicle fire on Feb. 4, the automaker said on Wednesday.
The confirmation of the fire and the updated timing comes a day after Ford confirmed production of the heavily watched vehicle had been suspended earlier last week.
Ford said Wednesday it believes engineers have found the root cause of the fire. The investigation into the issue is expected to be completed by the end of next week, followed by adjustments to the truck’s battery production process that “could take a few weeks”.
The fire, first reported by the Detroit Free Press, happened in a parking lot during a pre-delivery quality check and spread to a nearby vehicle, Ford said.
A Ford spokeswoman declined to provide further details of the problem, leading to a halt to production and deliveries of trucks already in production.
The truck’s battery supplier is South Korea-based SK On, a spin-off of SK Innovation, with which the Detroit-based automaker announced a joint venture last year to set up battery manufacturing facilities in the United States
Ford said there are no known incidents of this problem in vehicles that have already been delivered to customers and dealers. Dealers can continue to sell vehicles they may already have in stock.
The F-150 Lightning is being closely watched by investors as it’s the first mainstream electric pickup truck on the market and a major launch for Ford.
The battery issue comes on top of the ongoing “execution issues” detailed to investors earlier this month by Ford CEO Jim Farley, which crippled the automaker’s fourth-quarter earnings.
Farley reiterated on Wednesday that the automaker needs to do better operationally to be more profitable and bring margins in line with those of its competitors. He said Ford is less profitable than its old rivals because it has a $7 billion to $8 billion cost disadvantage.
“We can cut costs, we can cut staff, we can do that very quickly, and we will do whatever we have to do,” Farley said during a Wolfe Research conference. “The reality is, if you don’t change the efficiency of engineering, supply chain and manufacturing, the fundamental work statement, the way people work, the efficiency of that, it’s going to grow again
Farley later added, “This is really about reinventing what we’re doing in the 120-year-old part of the company.”
Automakers routinely have vehicle-related issues and recalls, but battery issues are of particular interest and concern as automakers invest billions of dollars in the vehicles.
One of the most notable issues was General Motors’ Chevrolet Bolt EVs. The Detroit automaker had to recall all vehicles it had built two years ago to fix fire problems caused by “rare manufacturing defects” in facilities at its battery supplier LG Battery Solution.