DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor said on Tuesday that it had produced about 2,000 electric F-150 pickup trucks and planned to begin delivering them to customers in the next week.
The automaker said it was fine-tuning software in the trucks before releasing them to dealers, the company’s chief executive, Jim Farley, said at a kickoff event at the factory where the truck is made in Dearborn, a Detroit suburb.
Mr. Farley and other executives have described the truck, the Lightning, as the most important model Ford has introduced in decades. The company needs the pickup to sell well to take a bigger share of the fast-growing market for electric vehicles.
“This is history in the making,” said William C. Ford Jr., the company’s executive chairman. “This truck is going to change everything.”
The first trucks produced are aimed at commercial customers and have a starting price of just under $40,000, Mr. Farley said.
Ford, General Motors, Volkswagen and other established automakers have been spending billions of dollars to develop electric vehicles to try to catch up to Tesla. Ford is ahead of most of its rivals, having introduced an electric sport utility vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, that has become the third-best-selling electric vehicle in the country, behind two Tesla models.
Ford has said it has taken more than 200,000 reservations for F-150 Lightnings.
“We plan to challenge Tesla and become No. 1 in the world,” Mr. Farley said. “That is something no one would have believed two years ago.”
Tesla expects to sell about 1.5 million electric cars globally this year. The company recently started production at plants near Berlin and near Austin, Texas.
G.M., which had an early start on many other legacy carmakers with the Chevrolet Bolt but was dealt a setback when it had to recall those cars over battery issues, has recently introduced some luxury electric vehicles, including a Hummer pickup truck and the Cadillac Lyriq, an S.U.V. It expects to offer a mass-market electric pickup truck next year.
The F-150 Lightning is being assembled at a new production center that is part of Ford’s Rouge industrial complex, where the company began making the Model T more than 100 years ago.