Ford’s fully-electric, reasonably-priced, not-delayed F-150 Lightning is ever approaching, like a diesel Super Duty in your rearview mirror as you go ten over the limit on the highway. It inches ever closer, with this week marking an important milestone in its inexorable advance: Reservations are now closed, and orders will soon begin.
Earlier this week, a dealer memo circulated on forums stating that reservations would be ending to pave the way for factory orders. Now, with nearly 200,000 reservations already in for the electric F-150, a spokesperson from Ford has confirmed as much to Automotive News.
The first deliveries are expected to make it to customers in the Spring of 2022, though Ford isn’t putting any hard numbers on how many EV trucks will be delivered then. From Automotive News:
Ford has not said how many Lightnings it will build initially, although it has publicly said it plans to ramp up to an annual rate of 80,000 in 2024, the vehicle’s second full year of production.
Privately, however, Ford has told suppliers it expects production volume of 80,000 vehicles per year earlier than expected — by January 2023 – with capacity for up to 88,000, according to a memo viewed by Automotive News.
It’s possible that not all reservation holders will receive a 2022 model year vehicle.
All we know is that Ford plans to convert reservations to orders in “waves” for the Lightning, but it’s unclear how reservation holders will be selected — or how far apart these waves will be spaced.
If the number of Lightning reservations is close enough to approximate 200,000, and we know it’s not getting any higher, we can do a bit of fun theoretical math. Automotive News quotes the Bronco reservation conversion rate (the number of reservation holders who actually convert that into an order and buy the truck) at 65%, meaning Ford would be anticipating 130,000 sales from reservation holders alone.
Ford CEO Jim Farley told Automotive News he estimates 80% conversion, for 160,000 trucks. But, there’s another interesting note to compare with: Tesla. Seeking Alpha estimated the Model 3 conversion rate at 30%, and the Motley Fool pegged the Model X’s conversion at “under 20%.” With those numbers, Ford would be looking at 40,000-60,000 trucks sold to early adopters — or even less.
Luckily for Ford, the Bronco is probably a better comparison than Tesla’s ever-changing pricing and feature sets. Still, that 80% number may be hard for the company to reach — particularly if anything goes wrong with the launch.