Is going electric-only the solution to our transportation woes?
By now you might have already seen the news that Ford is opening up the order books for the F-150 Lightning as well as increasing the price significantly. It’s an ironic move considering one of the long-time talking points for EVs is they’re more cost effective than traditional ICE vehicles. Yet this combined with the recent round of price increases for Teslas casts a shadow of doubt on such declarations.
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Sure, you can get Ford Lightning Pro model starting at $46,974 – at least in theory. Automakers often use the bottom-tier, stripped-down trim on a premier model line to wow consumers with how affordable the vehicle could be, then reels them in with more features which pump up the price. Many shoppers who have blown way past the budget they set for a new car know firsthand how this works.
At the other end of the spectrum is the Lightning Platinum Extended Range, which has an MSRP of $96,874. Again, that kind of pricing stands a snowball’s chance in hell of being what you pay out the door, but don’t look behind the dazzling curtain of marketing because you don’t want to see the man pulling the levers. Instead, Ford tries to get everyone focusing on the estimated range of this and the other Extended Range models, even though many shoppers will opt for the cheaper versions and enjoy a much shorter driving experience.
Back to the pricing: these increases mean consumers will be paying about $6,000 to $8,500 more for their electric truck. Ford diplomatically provides vague reasons for the increase, citing increased costs for materials and other things it doesn’t want to get specific about.
What we do know is the main cost driver for EVs is the batteries. And we know the financial war for battery materials globally is hitting a new, fevered pitch. For example, Ford has clinched a deal with Australian mines to get the lithium, nickel, manganese, and cobalt necessary to deliver more all-electric models. The Blue Oval learned with the Mustang Mach-E that relying on others to secure enough materials and batteries is a huge mistake.
And so we see the bleeding edge of technological innovation cuts ever deeper. We’ll see if this latest round of price increases doesn’t precipitate yet another – inflationary forces alone might necessitate it.