Ford CEO Jim Farley is seeing impressive early demand for the company’s new electric vehicles, the E-Transit (van) and F-150 Lightning.
“We have over 10,000 orders already from a lot of different customers [for the E-Transit]. I think we just got over 1,000 orders from Walmart. So, the demand is very high,” Farley told Yahoo Finance. “The E-Transit is strategically very important for the company because of our dominant position.”
The company’s E-Transit vans will begin arriving to customers soon, promising about 126 miles on a full charge depending on configuration. Production of the vans has just begun in Kansas City, Missouri, Yahoo Finance sister publication TechCrunch reports.
Ahead of the arrival to customers, Ford said Wednesday it will launch a pilot program for the electric vans with Sonoma County Winegrowers. A group of more than 1,800 grape farmers in Northern California will add E-Transit vans, F-150 Lightings and Ford Pro tech services to their operations.
The program kicks off at Bevill Vineyard Management, Vino Farms in Healdsburg, and Dutton Ranch — which collectively represent about 4,000 acres devoted to vineyards in Russian River Valley.
Ford believes the pilot is integral in demonstrating how electric vehicles could have a positive impact on the agricultural industry in terms of productivity, sustainability and reducing the ownership cost of fleets.
Outside of wine country, demand has been strong for the F-150 Lightning — the company’s first all-electric pickup truck.
“We have about 200,000 reservations [for the Lightning]. Now we’re converting those into orders where people have to physically order the vehicle, almost very few of them are falling out,” Farley said.
Ford stopped taking reservations in December for the current model year as it works to increase manufacturing capacity.
To that end, the Detroit-based auto giant said in September 2021 it will partner with SK Innovation to invest $11.4 billion to construct two “mega-sites” — one in Tennessee and the other in Kentucky — that will build electric trucks and batteries.
Ford’s portion of the investment — $7 billion — is the largest manufacturing investment in the company’s 118-year-old history.
Farley told Yahoo Finance Live he would like to reach electric vehicle capacity of 600,000 units over the next 22 months.
“We think that’ll put us probably number two in electric,” Farley added.
Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.
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