Ford’s Short-Term Dream of a $40,000 Electric Truck | Daily News Byte

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When Ford unveiled and began delivering its first electric pickup, the F-150 Lightning, we declared with absolute certainty that the automaker won the EV truck war for one simple reason: price. Now, a year and a half later, electric cars are still seen by some as luxury purchases, and gas-powered trucks are still growing (in size and sticker price) away from their lows. source, but here’s an electric hauler that started around. $40,000. That miraculous feat of affordability is headline news across the board, from car magazines to The New York Times.

What makes $40,000 such a tempting target for an electric truck? For one, it puts it in conversation with old-school, gas-powered F-150 models, which start around $34,000 for the base XL model. It’s also below the current average new car price in the US, which, according to Kelley Blue Book, was $48,681 in November, a record high.

But more significant than all those markers is that Tesla also promises that its electric Cybertruck will start at $40,000. And while no one, not even Elon, knows when that battery-powered battering ram will actually be built, it’s clear from the start that Ford is committed to Tesla (based on initial response from Ford employees), and they wanted to beat the upstart at its own game with the F-150 Lightning, which they did. They were first out of the gate. They hit their competitor’s price point. They did the impossible.

At least, Ford did the impossible for over a year. Then reality hit.

Since May 2021 when the Lightning began shipping, the price of the lineup has increased three times, first in August 2022, then in October, then again last week. The original base price for the F-150 Lightning Pro was $39,974 ($41,769 with destination and acquisition fees); now it’s $55,974 ($58,514 including those fees), a whopping 40% more expensive for the same entry-level model.

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What is behind this big change? Pretty much what you’d expect. In a statement shared with InsideHook by a Ford spokesperson, the company said, “We are adjusting pricing as a normal course of business due to rising material costs, market factors, and ongoing supply constraints chains.” Yes, the supply chain is still a problem. Fortunately for those who have already received their orders, Ford will honor the original set price and will not adjust the final total to reflect these new prices, which went into effect on December 15.

It’s hard to believe Ford couldn’t see the headwinds that would lead to a massive 40% price increase just 19 months after the truck debuted. It begs the question: does the automaker just want to come out of the gate with a bang and a headline-worthy price, knowing they’ll likely have to correct things down the road? It is certainly within the realm of possibility. But a quick look at the other two electric trucks on the market today shows that Ford isn’t alone in having to recalculate. Both GMC (maker of the Hummer EV Pickup) and Rivian (maker of the R1T) also had to raise prices significantly for their models this year, inviting similar wailing and gnashing of teeth on Twitter and online car forum.

The Rivian R1T (left) and the GMC Hummer EV Pickup (right), two of the electric trucks available to US buyers alongside the Ford F-150 Lightning

The Rivian R1T (left) and GMC Hummer EV Pickup also saw big price increases this year.

Rivian/GMC

When all the new inflation, supply chain and EV material calculations are taken into account, Ford is still the most affordable electric pickup in the US, with the R1T starting at $73,000 and the Hummer EV Pickup being not available to order at the moment (Edition 1 starts around $110,000 with more affordable versions on the way, but reservations are currently full). That’s not saying much, though, as the cheapest Lightning is now more than $20,000 more expensive than the cheapest internal combustion engine F-150 and $7,000 more than the average new car price (not counting potential federal tax credits for EVs). The dream of a $40,000 electric pickup is out the window.

Or maybe? According to a statement from Ford, the company will “continue to monitor pricing throughout the model year” (which could be a good thing … or a sign of more increases to come). And looking further ahead, Ford is building new EV factories and battery plants in the US that will hopefully lower costs.

If we want to stick with the competition angle, it’s also worth noting that theoretically Tesla will start producing its Cybertruck in 2023, and if they stick with the $40,000 starting point Ford will feel the pressure to compete (although the report its latest developments, Reuters said Tesla has raised prices across its lineup along with the rest of the automotive world).

In other words, don’t expect the return of the American miracle that is an affordable electric truck anytime soon.

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