Ford says it got 20,000 F-150 Lightning reservations after big reveal

Jordyn Grzelewski
The Detroit News

In the hours after Ford Motor Co. revealed the electric version of its best-selling pickup truck Wednesday night to much fanfare, the Dearborn automaker clocked some 20,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning.

That's according to comments CEO Jim Farley made Thursday on CNBC's Squawk Box.

"The response has been great," Farley told the outlet. "With 20,000 orders already, we're off to the races."

Ford opened up reservations on its website Wednesday night. Customers are able to put down a $100 deposit to reserve a spot for when orders actually open. Production on the F-150 Lightning is scheduled to begin next spring.

The Blue Oval unveiled F-150 Lightning via an event livestreamed from Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn. Ford executives, engineers and UAW officials were on hand to highlight the vehicle that will be built by union workers at the new Rouge Electric Vehicle Center just down the road from company headquarters.

The truck will add an electric option to America's best-selling vehicle lineup, the significance of which was underscored by a visit and test drive by President Joe Biden earlier this week.

The F-150 Lightning Platinum, Lariat and XLT

The design is less futuristic than some of the electric trucks F-150 Lightning will be competing with, largely adhering to design cues familiar to current F-150 drivers but adding distinctive LED lighting and a host of performance specs and digital features.

Among the truck's highlights: the base price is just $39,974, not counting destination fees or tax incentives available to EV buyers. With the $7,500 federal tax credit that remains available to Ford customers, the price would drop closer to $32,500 — a relatively low price point for a new vehicle in general, especially an electric one.

But depending on the trim level and available features that customers opt for, the price goes as high as $90,000.

"I'm really floored by the price," said Aaron Pattison, 32, of Ferndale, who put down a deposit Wednesday. "I was expecting it to be like $50,000 and up."

Pattison, an environmental lawyer, has wanted to switch to an electric vehicle to reduce his dependence on fossil fuels, and looked at both the electric F-150 and Ford's electric Mustang Mach-E. He plans to switch over after the lease on his Ford Fusion is up next year.

"I think that electric vehicles are the future, and I’d love Michigan to be at the cutting edge of that, so I always wanted to invest in a Michigan-made electric vehicle," he said.

The electric F-150 will be capable of receiving over-the-air software updates, features what Ford is describing as the industry's largest "frunk," or front trunk, comes with dual electric motors and an independent rear suspension, and can be used as a power generator. 

F-150 Lightning can go zero-to-60 mph in the mid-four-second range and offers targeted 775 pound-feet of nearly instantaneous torque — the most of any F-150 ever. The vehicle, when equipped with the extended-range battery, targets 563 horsepower.

Customers will have two battery pack options: a standard package that targets an estimated EPA range of about 230 miles, and an extended range package targeting 300 miles.

Dave Ostler, 38, of Belvidere, Illinois, made three reservations for F-150 Lightning Wednesday night. He previously made three reservations for competitor Tesla's planned Cybertruck. As the launches of the vehicles gets closer, he'll decide which one he wants to order for his business.

"I'm not sure which I'm going to go with yet, but I wanted to be in the front of the line when I do decide which one," he said. "I feel like Tesla has spent 10 years building electric vehicles, and Ford’s spent 100 years building trucks but they’re new to electric – so it’s interesting to see what will happen, who will come out first.”

Though Ostler — who drives a 2016 F-150 — was fine with the electric F-150's design, the maximum range gives him some pause.

"You put a load on it, tow something, cold weather, and that could drop down to 100 miles," he said.

If he opts for the F-150 Lightning, he'll likely upgrade to the extended-battery range option and get one of the higher trim levels.

Meanwhile, Pamela Hogan Rambin, 57, of Louisiana, can't wait to trade in her Ram 1500 for the F-150 Lightning.

Living in a rural area, Hogan Rambin said she needs a truck for her 70-mile roundtrip commute and is excited to save on fuel costs with an electric vehicle.

Watching the reveal Wednesday, "It scared me because every time something better came up, I kept thinking, 'Oh I'm not going to be able to afford this.'" She was ecstatic to hear the price point, and likely will opt for the extended-range battery and some other upgraded features.

"I'm just counting the days," she said. "I've never had a new vehicle in my life. This will be my first new vehicle. And I love the fact that it's all made in America."

Twitter: @JGrzelewski