DEARBORN, MI—Ford Motor Co. has begun assembling the F-150 Lightning pickup truck at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center here, which is located within the historic Rouge Complex. Ford invested $950 million in the state-of-the-art facility, which features collaborative robots that can work in close proximity to operators on final assembly lines without safety cages.

The plant also uses autonomous guided vehicles to move vehicles from workstation to workstation instead of traditional in-floor conveyors. The flexible system enables changes to be made quickly without the constraints of a typical assembly line that requires the installation of floor chains, moving mats, conveyors and overhead cranes.

The Rouge Electric Vehicle Center is a zero-waste-to-landfill site, meaning none of the material generated as a by-product of the manufacturing process will go to landfills. It was built on the site of the former Dearborn Assembly Plant site (the facility, which closed in 2004, once built Model A’s, Mustangs and other Ford vehicles), using materials from the prior factory in the foundation.

“Today, we celebrate the Model T moment for the 21st Century at the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center,” says Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford. “The Rouge is where [we] perfected the moving assembly line, making it a fitting backdrop as we make history again. The stunning anticipation for F-150 Lightning is a credit to the work of our engineers and designers, and the UAW team members who are building these trucks with pride.”

“America’s real transition to electric vehicles starts now,” adds Jim Farley, CEO and president of Ford Motor Co. “F-150 Lightning is just the beginning of our ambitions for growth and leadership in digital, electric vehicles.”

According to Farley, Ford is on track to deliver more than 2 million electric vehicles annually by 2026, equal to about one-third of the company’s global volume.