Ford is ‘betting the company’ on a Tesla-style EV truck that could make or break its future

April 18, 2022, 8:51 PM UTC

The performance of Ford’s Lightning F-150 could make or break the company, according to William C. Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman and the great-grandson of Henry Ford. And he’s relying on Chris Farley’s cousin, Jim, to make it happen. 

“If this launch doesn’t go well, we can tarnish the entire franchise,” Ford told the New York Times Monday. 

Ford is competing with automakers like General Motors, Tesla, and Rivian, each of which has invested heavily in the electric-vehicle sector, and it’s betting big that the F-150 is the way to prevail.

The company already has 200,000 reservations for the electric truck, which is scheduled to start production next Monday, according to the New York Times. And Jim Farley, the Ford Motor Company CEO and cousin of comedian Chris Farley, is nothing but serious about its potential for success.

Farley is betting that the truck’s speed (it can reach 60 mph in four seconds) and its price tag of $40,000, which is lower than competitors’, will help it stand out from Tesla, whose cheapest car starts at more than $48,000. Tesla is scheduled to start production on its electric Cybertruck next year, according to the Times, although the company has announced several false start dates before. 

Instead of creating an electric vehicle from scratch, Ford decided to alter its F-150 model to be an electric vehicle, a risky move because the truck needed to be modified to accommodate a large, heavy battery. 

Ford is now “betting the company” on an electric-vehicle future, William C. Ford Jr. told the New York Times. In March, the company said it was splitting into two divisions. One, Ford Blue, will continue creating vehicles with gas-powered engines, while the other, Model E, will develop electric vehicles.

Although Ford’s ambitions are big, the company has several significant obstacles. 

The supply chain for the chips incorporated in everything from electric vehicles to smartphones was upended by the pandemic last year and has still not recovered. New lockdowns in China could make these chains even weaker. A lack of semiconductors has the potential to stall the Lightning F-150’s production, as it has for other vehicles, including the gasoline F-150 truck, the New York Times reported.

Clarification, April 19, 2022: This article has been updated to clarify Ford’s position in the electric vehicle market relative to its competitors.

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