Ford has suspended production of the F-150 Lightning after the battery in one of the electric pickups caught fire on Feb. 4.
The automaker on Tuesday announced that it had stopped building and shipping the full-size truck due to a potential “battery issue” that occurred during the pre-delivery quality inspection process and on Wednesday clarified that a fire was involved.
The fire occurred in a company lot in Dearborn, Michigan, where the truck was being held before shipping, according to Reuters, and spread to a nearby truck.
A Ford spokeswoman told FOX Business that the company believes it has identified the root cause of the problem and that the investigation should be completed by the end of this week, but that it could be several weeks before production restarts.
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“We are not aware of any incidents of this issue in the field and do not believe F-150 Lightnings already in customers’ hands are affected by this issue,” the spokeswoman said.
Ford delivered 15,617 F-150 Lightnings to customers in 2022 and an additional 2,264 in January. It did not say exactly how many were potentially affected by the battery issue.
General Motors suspended production of the electric Chevrolet Bolt in 2021 while it replaced the batteries in over 140,000 Bolts after a defect that could cause fires was discovered. The action cost $2 billion, $1.9 billion of which was covered by battery supplier LG.
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Batteries for the F-150 Lightning are currently supplied by Korean firm SK On, which manufactures them in Georgia. Three new plants are planned for Tennessee and Kentucky through a joint venture between Ford and SK Innovation that will supply batteries for a range of Ford models.
Ford on Monday also said it is building a new battery factory in Michigan that will produce LFP (Lithium Iron Phosphate) batteries with technology licensed from China’s Contemporary Amperex Technology Co., Limited.
LFP batteries have a lower energy density than the NCM (nickel cobalt manganese) batteries currently used, but are cheaper to build, more durable and less susceptible to fires, according to Ford. They will first be employed in standard range versions of the F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E, while NCM packs will still be used in vehicles with longer range and higher power requirements.
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