In the same week that Rivian announced it had started production of the market's first volume full-size electric pickup truck, the R1T, Ford announced that pre-production examples of its rival F-150 Lightning is currently underway.

Pre-production vehicles are typically used for final testing as well as certification and registration purposes. They also provide plant workers with an opportunity to iron out any snags before the first customer examples are built.

While Rivian's R1T is expected to reach its first customers later this month, the F-150 Lightning, unveiled in May, isn't due to start deliveries until next summer. It will arrive as a 2022 model. General Motors will start production of its GMC Hummer EV this fall, and its Chevrolet brand is preparing an electric Silverado.

Rivian builds first customer example of R1T - September 2021

Rivian builds first customer example of R1T - September 2021

One major advantage the F-150 Lightning has over the R1T (and the Hummer EV) is a starting price of $39,974. The R1T starts at $73,000, though versions priced lower than $70,000 are due at some point.

The Ford's price shock has seen reservations fly. The automaker has over 150,000 for the F-150 Lighting, and as a result is investing an extra $250 million and adding 450 more jobs at the electric pickup's plant to boost capacity to 80,000 units a year. That's double the previous target.

The F-150 Lightning is built at Ford's Rouge plant in Dearborn, Michigan, which has been churning out Ford pickups since 1948. Ford announced in 2020 that it will spend over $700 million at the plant to prepare it for the electric pickup, as well as the hybrid F-150 PowerBoost.

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning Pro

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

2022 Ford F-150 Lightning

The batteries are sourced from the Rawsonville Components Plant, and the electric drive units from the Van Dyke Electric Powertrain Center. Both sites are also located in Michigan.

The F-150 Lightning is being launched with standard four-wheel drive. Two electric motors, one on each axle, are powered by a liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery pack for a combined output of 426 hp with a standard-range battery or 563 hp with a long-range unit. In both cases peak torque is 775 lb-ft. Trucks with the standard-range battery have an EPA-estimated range target of 230 miles. The extended-range battery ups the estimate to 300 miles. A rear-wheel-drive model will arrive at a later date and could potentially see the starting price lowered.

Four grades will be available at launch including a commercial-oriented work truck, as well as the regular XLT, Lariat, and Platinum grades. The base price of $39,974 is for the work truck while XLT grades will start at $52,974. Lightnings will only be built with 5-foot-5-inch beds and full four-door crew cab configurations.