Ford CEO Admits Fast-Charging Is "Pretty Challenging" While Driving the F-150 Lightning

If you are an electric vehicle owner, you already know that road-tripping with a zero-tailpipe emission car is still not as simple and predictable as most of us would like it to be. Ford CEO Jim Farley decided to experience the state of charging stations first-hand on a trip through California and Nevada. He's now convinced things could have been much better.
F-150 Lightning Charging 11 photos
Photo: Ford / PlugShare User / Jim Farley on Twitter / autoevolution edit
EA Station in QuestionJim FarleyCustomer FeedbackF-150 Lightning Charging at EAJim Farley's F-150 Lightning Trip RouteF-150 Lightning PerformanceThe Ford F-150 Lightning hits the off-road trailsThe Ford F-150 Lightning hits the off-road trailsThe Ford F-150 Lightning hits the off-road trailsThe Ford F-150 Lightning hits the off-road trails
If you're not an EV owner, here's how you could relate to what drivers of vehicles like the F-150 Lightning or Lucid Air have to go through from time to time when traveling long distances. Imagine that some important gas stations across the country serving remote communities or adventurous tourists are not open 24 hours, even though online it says you can go whenever.

Think about pouring gas very slowly into the tank. Instead of three to four minutes, it takes you hours!

Envision the fuel flow to be erratic and picture a gas station with just one working pump that takes at least 20 to 30 minutes to fill your tank to about three-quarters. Meanwhile, a queue of disgruntled people is forming behind you, waiting to do the same.

Envisage a gas pump where you're presented with premium options (91 to 94 octane) but, in reality, you're filling up with 87 octane. Believe it or not, mislabeling is an issue with some fast-charging providers.

Replenishing the vehicle's energy storage unit can be quite an adventure for those who cannot charge at home regularly or at a hotel/camping site overnight. But there's a solution, as Ford's boss points out – the Supercharger network. Tesla was a pioneer in this space. Now, it's time to collect the fruits of that early effort.

The executive went to charge at the Harris Ranch Resort in Coalinga, California. Drivers will find two Supercharger stations and four Electrify America stalls. Jim Farley said the place was packed with EVs sucking electrons from the grid. He plugged into a slower charger because he didn't want to wait for a high-power stall to become available. But that still meant he had to spend around 45 minutes to reach about 40% State of Charge.

"It was a really good reality check," said Farley. The executive now knows what Ford's customers have to go through from time to time, and reminded his followers about the partnership with Elon Musk's company.

Customer Feedback
Photo: PlugShare
The Ford F-150 Lightning is currently being manufactured with the CCS Combo 1 connector, which is different from the NACS installed on Tesla-made vehicles. Thus, Jim Farley most likely went to the Electrify America charging station. It has four stalls dispensing energy at rates between 50 kW and 350 kW.

Even though the executive didn't want to name and shame, recent customer reviews of the EA station from all-electric Hyundai, BMW, and Ford drivers say the stalls aren't working properly. Some are only temporarily active, while the high-power 350-kW charger dispenses energy at 10% of its promised capacity.

From 2025 onwards, Ford's EVs will be equipped with the NACS connector. That will enable these vehicles to replenish their energy storage units at Tesla's Supercharger locations. The network is perceived as the best high-power charging solution in North America.

But while Jim Farley is out and about experiencing the reality of traveling long distances with an EV that isn't made by Tesla, the company upgraded its executive roster with Peter Stern, Apple's former VP of Services. It looks like the Blue Oval is taking software seriously and wants to find new ways to monetize the next-gen infotainment and over-the-air services. We might soon see new subscription options when buying a brand-new Ford.

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About the author: Florin Amariei
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Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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