Update: Supplier Addresses Ford F-150 Lightning Battery Problem, Including One Fire

F-150 Lightning Production has been shut down due to a holding lot fire at the Rouge plant

  • Ford F-150 Lightning production has been shut down for weeks as it worked to address a then-unspecified problem.
  • One truck at a holding lot near Ford’s Rouge Complex assembly plant caught fire and spread to two other vehicles, prompting the shutdown and an NHTSA inquiry.
  • SK On (the automotive battery arm of South Korea’s SK Innovation Co., Ltd) builds the battery for the F-150 Lightning in Atlanta.
    • The company says this issue is a “rare occurrence” and not a fundamental problem with the battery’s design.
    • Ford and SK On worked to address the root cause of the issue, SK On said in a statement Monday.

Ford’s battery supplier resumed production at its Georgia factory following an investigation into a fire earlier this month.

SK On, a division of South Korean SK Innovation Co. Ltd, issued a statement regarding the Ford F-150 Lightning’s recent production shutdown, saying the issue that caused a fire is not a fundamental issue with the battery’s design.

Earlier this month, a defect ignited one truck at a holding lot near the automaker’s Dearborn manufacturing complex. The February 4 fire spread to two other trucks and shut down the plant for several weeks. Speaking to The Detroit News, the battery supplier said the two firms worked together to find a fix.

With Ford’s help, SK On’s statement says it “identified the root cause of the issue and implemented measures of improvement in our processes to address the issue.” The supplier made changes to its Atlanta, Georgia production line and has since restarted battery manufacturing for the F-150 Lightning. While the problem prompted Ford to pause building new trucks, the problem isn’t believed to impact trucks that actually made their way out of the automaker’s holding lots to dealers or customers.

However, as Ford Authority reports (by way of the Detroit Free Press), there is another, separate battery-related issue that does affect customer trucks. At least 100 trucks may have a battery problem that could potentially cause degraded performance while driving or prevent the truck from shifting into drive. Ford discovered that issue through vehicle data monitoring, reached out to affected customers, and has worked to issue customer service action notices and replace defective battery modules.

For the moment, it’s unclear how much of an impact the weeks-long shutdown will have on Ford F-150 Lightning production and sales.

This is a critical vehicle for the automaker’s electrification plans and it’s seen immense consumer demand since going on sale last year. SK and Ford are investing $11.4 billion into an “automotive manufacturing ecosystem” in Tennessee and Kentucky, including three new battery plants. By 2026, Ford aims to produce at least 2 million battery-powered models each year.