Take a look inside the factory where Ford rolled out the all-electric F-150 Lightning pickup | Daily News Byte

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F-150 Lightning at Ford's Dearborn assembly plant

Ford aims to build 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year at its revamped Dearborn, Michigan factory, double its initial target.Nora Naughton

  • Ford aims to build 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year at its revamped factory.

  • The EV assembly line is more relaxed and less cluttered than the average car factory.

  • Ford is rushing to fill 200,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning.

Ford is already operating the all-electric F-150 Lightnings in three shifts at its Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan as the company continues to expand work at the factory.

Ford added the new production shift in November as it completed two major additions to its Dearborn, Michigan factory. That increased square-footage by about 300,000 square feet, plant manager Corey Williams told reporters earlier this month.

Ford’s goal is to build 150,000 F-150 Lightnings a year at the factory, doubling its initial production target. The car company raised its production targets after it limited reservations for the truck to 200,000 late last year.

Through November, Ford had sold 13,258 F-150 Lightning trucks.

With the Lightning’s production launch this spring, CEO Jim Farley said he wants to overtake Tesla as the number one seller of electric cars in the US.

The Lightning is a key part of Ford’s stated global EV sales target of 600,000 vehicles by the end of next year. The expansions at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center are just part of a $30 billion shift toward electric vehicles. Earlier this year, Ford restructured its business to put more focus on its electric division, called the Ford Model e.

To see how Ford is building that future, Insider took a tour of the F-150 plant. Here’s what we found.

An automated assembly line

Partially built F-150 Lightning cabs move on automated pallets down the assembly line.

Partially built F-150 Lightning cabs move on automated pallets down the assembly line at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan.Nora Naughton

Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Plant is equipped with automated pallets that move partially assembled F-150 Lightnings from station to station on the assembly line.

Timed assembly stations

Factory worker installs parts on the F-150 Lightning assembly line.

Factory worker installs parts on the F-150 Lightning assembly line.Nora Naughton

The F-150 Lightning stops at each manned assembly station, where a timer lets employees know how long they have to install their assigned parts before the truck needs to move on. Ford is trying to increase output at the factory to fill the 200,000 reservations it has received for the all-electric truck.

Robots work alongside humans

The robots work on an electric F-150 Lightning.

The robots work on an electric F-150 Lightning.Nora Naughton

Another automated pallet on the assembly line stops the undercarriage of an F-150 Lightning at a station operated by robots, programmed to complete certain tasks on the vehicle. It will move next to a manned station where other work will be performed and tests will be performed.

From robot to human

An assembly worker takes over after a robot works on an F-150 Lightning.

An assembly worker takes over after a robot works on an F-150 Lightning.Nora Naughton

An assembly worker takes over after the partially built F-150 Lightning stops at a robot-manned station. Workers can move freely between stations and around the vehicle as it moves down the assembly line. The automated pallet it carries senses when a person or other vehicle crosses its path and stops.

Less clutter

A partially assembled F-150 Lightning is suspended next to some of the automated pallets that move the vehicle around the factory.

A partially assembled F-150 Lightning is suspended next to some of the automated pallets that move the vehicle around the factory.Nora Naughton

Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is less cluttered than a typical vehicle assembly factory, illustrating just how little complexity goes into building an EV. The United Auto Workers union, which represents Ford’s assembly workers, has warned for years that EVs will require less work than their gas-powered counterparts.

Active workplace

Ford's REVC expansion is still a work in progress while the existing assembly line continues to operate.

Ford’s REVC expansion is still a work in progress while the existing assembly line continues to operate.Nora Naughton

At the end of the existing assembly line, an extension has been built and the interior is under construction. Within this addition, a new mechanism to bring vehicles above the assembly line was already underway. Here, Ford will be able to prove this new technology while the existing line continues to produce trucks.

Charging up

Completed F-150 Lightnings filled charging banks at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Completed F-150 Lightnings filled charging banks at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.Nora Naughton

Completed F-150 Lightnings filled charging banks at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

End of the line

A completed F-150 Lightning has reached the end of the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

A completed F-150 Lightning has reached the end of the assembly line at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.Nora Naughton

A completed F-150 Lightning has reached the end of the assembly line at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Finished product

A completed F-150 Lightning awaits charging.

A completed F-150 Lightning awaits charging.Nora Naughton

A completed F-150 Lightning awaits charging and other inspections after completing its journey on the assembly line at Ford’s Rouge Electric Vehicle Center.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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