• Demand for Electric F-150s Grows, Office Use Plateaus, 'Star Trek' Actor Heads to Edge of Space

    Demand for Electric F-150s Grows

    Ford Motor Co. said reservations for its electric F-150 Lightning pickup have surpassed 150,000, less than a week after announcing it would be investing $11.4 billion in auto and manufacturing plants in Kentucky and Tennessee.

    The Detroit automaker's September sales report showed electric vehicles sales have attracted customers to the brand from rivals at a rate higher than Ford overall, at a “rate that is 6 points above.” Ford said September electric vehicle sales marked another record month for its electric vehicle division registering 9,150 for a 91.6% gain from last year.

    Last week, the company announced that it would build plants for autos and batteries in west Tennessee for make F-series vehicles. In central Kentucky, the plan is for two battery plants.

    Meanwhile, Ford’s sales reflected challenges with a computer chip shortage that started last year, which prompted Ford and other automakers to periodically cut production for weeks at a time. Total vehicle sales were 156,614, 20.8% lower than a year ago on the retail side.

    Ford noted, though, F-Series had their best month since the shortage started, selling 63,164 for a 13.4% increase over August in retail sales.


    Office Use Plateaus

    Office use in the Atlanta area increased in an otherwise lackluster week for major metropolitan areas as they held steady at well below pre-pandemic levels.

    Office usage in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Alpharetta area rose 4.8 percentage points to 41.6%, marking the first time the area has surpassed 40% since the start of the pandemic, according to data from Falls Church, Virginia-based security firm Kastle Systems.

    Most major metropolitan areas where Kastle has clients saw little change one way or another for the week that ended Sept. 29. Kastle gathers anonymous employee data from workplaces where it provides access-control technology. While it is only a sampling of buildings by one security company, the data gives a peek into how employees and employers are responding to office use during the pandemic, particularly now with a fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus.

    'Star Trek' Actor Head to Edge of Space

    The Blue Origin space company that's expanding in commercial property across the country is sending William Shatner, a 90-year-old actor who made his name as the fictional Capt. James Kirk in the 'Star Trek' television and movie series, to the edge of space where increasingly more men and women have gone.

    The Kent, Washington-based space company started by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos that's planning to handle more commercial space tourism, said Monday the next flight of its New Shepard reusable rocket will include Shatner.

    Shatner would become the oldest person to go to the edge of space with the flight scheduled to launch from Blue Origin’s sprawling Van Horn, Texas, complex, Oct. 12. He joins three others on what is about an 11-minute flight.

    Wally Funk, female aerospace pioneer, set the age record when she rode with Bezos into space in July.
    In January 2020, Blue Origin opened a new headquarters and research and development facility in Kent. That’s where the rocket that took Bezos up was manufactured. It opened an engine plant in Huntsville last year and has plans to expand its manufacturing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    Source: CoStar Group, www.costar.com