Ford has finally begun full production of the 2022 F-150 Lightning at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center (REVC) on April 26.
To mark the occasion, the automaker has released two first-person view (FPV) drone flythrough videos from the assembly line which show how Ford's first mass-produced electric pickup is being built at the historic Rouge Complex in Dearborn, Michigan.
While not as spectacular as Tesla's drone flythrough video of Giga Berlin, Ford's videos are interesting to watch as they offer an overall view of how the F-150 Lightning comes to life at the factory. The drone visits various stations of the assembly line, with the shorter, edited video (the one at the top of this page) also featuring on-screen explanations of what the viewer is seeing, including the names of several workers.
Those of you who have visited auto plants before will notice that Ford's assembly plant lacks traditional in-floor conveyor lines—it is actually Ford's first factory without them. Instead, REVC uses robotic Autonomous Guided Vehicles to move the trucks from workstation to station in the plant.
Ford says the Autonomous Guided Vehicles create more flexibility in the plant for additional production output, quality checks and product customizations, among other benefits. In addition, changes can be made quickly without the constraints of a typical line that requires the installation of floor chains, moving mats, conveyors and overhead cranes.
The plant also uses collaborative robots, or cobots, that work side-by-side with people without any safety cages needed. These cobots help with tasks that would be ergonomically challenging for employees, while also keeping them safe.
Due to unprecedented demand for the F-150 Lightning—Ford froze reservations as they hit the 200,000-mark—the automaker is already expanding the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center to ramp up production to a planned annual run rate of 150,000 in 2023.
Interestingly, a full three-quarters of reservation holders do not currently own or lease a Ford vehicle, which means the F-150 Lightning is a successful conquest vehicle. It's also converting many of them to first-time truck or electric vehicle buyers.
The company has invested a total of $950 million and created 750 jobs at REVC, with the investment in Michigan for F-150 Lightning alone now exceeding $1 billion. Ford created a total of 1,700 jobs for the electric truck, spread among five plants in the state, including Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center, where Lightning electric motors and electric transaxles are assembled, and Rawsonville Components Plant, where Lightning batteries are assembled.
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