Why Ford CEO Jim Farley Is Taking an F-150 Lightning on a 630-Mile West Coast Trip

The time has come for executives to roam parts of the country and see what their EV customers are dealing with. Ford's CEO is already on the road. Here's why Jim Farley is doing this and why he should've gone even farther to get an accurate snapshot of what all-electric vehicle owners must deal with in today's America.
Jim Farley 7 photos
Photo: Ford / autoevolution edit
Jim 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
Ford's CEO is on a 626-mile journey from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. He and the team will also stop in Los Angeles to discuss business with some potential partners. They'll also meet with dealers, salespeople, and some communities to talk about the next steps forward and how EV life has been until now.

Jim Farley is also using this opportunity to put the F-150 Lightning into the spotlight, claiming he can keep working while on the road thanks to the technology found on the all-electric pickup truck.
He's also underlining environmental concerns by saying that "it's impossible to travel now and overlook weather-related contingencies, which makes our electric transition more urgent."

Opening the announcement of this trip, the executive recalls driving a cheap Mustang when he was a teenager. Staying on the road continued for Farley as he worked at Toyota for nearly two decades. The man helped establish Lexus as a luxury automaker in the USA. He was also one of the most important people involved in turning the Camry into a major success.

But as Ford's CEO, Farley is responsible for ensuring the transition to all-electric vehicles doesn't ruin the Blue Oval's ethos. He must find a successful recipe to keep workers, dealers, and suppliers involved in the brand's success story.

But, most importantly, Ford's entire leadership team must find the proper way to convince Americans that EVs are the way forward. It must replace our love for gas-powered cars with the proper narrative that will support the industry-wide change and the company from losing billions. The lifestyle change won't be easy, even if we tend to believe that EVs are already poised to take over. For most Americans today, replacing fueling with charging will be quite the challenge. Some simply don't want to put up with queuing for electricity, using apps, seeing dynamic fees, or going from miles per gallon to miles per kWh or Wh per mile.

The Ford F\-150 Lightning hits the off\-road trails
Photo: Out of Spec Overlanding via Youtube
That will be the most complex mission for Ford from now on. Besides, putting Americans behind the wheel of a Ford will become increasingly complicated. Brands like Rivian, Fisker, and Lucid follow in Tesla's footsteps regarding the direct sales model. With Americans growing tired of having to put up with complicated sales tactics, markups, and all sorts of shenanigans, Ford is obligated to find a new (or heavily improve the existing) way of selling its vehicles.

The partnership with Tesla for access to its Supercharger network is great for customers who view Electrify America as unreliable. But the VW-owned and Dieselgate-born DC fast-charging provider is now under new leadership. The company's new CEO, Rob Barossa, recently traveled from Los Angeles, California, to Reston, Virginia (EA HQ) with a Hyundai Ioniq 5. The executive admitted there are problems that need fixing and intends to do so. He should know since he climbed into the most important role from the VP of technology position.

However, all this fixing might come a little too late. The floodgates opened after Ford and GM agreed to replace the CCS Combo 1 connector with the NACS inlet. Other brands rushed to announce the same move. Now, Electrify America must install chargers with NACS as well, or it'll lose a lot of business.

Moreover, General Motors, Stellantis, BMW, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, and Mercedes-Benz are creating an Ionity-like joint venture in the US, bringing even more competition. They will install both CCS Combo 1 and NACS plugs. If things go right, Tesla stands to lose some customers.

All this tells us that Jim Farley's journey to experience traveling with the F-150 Lightning in America is too short. He should have done a Coast-to-Coast drive, talked with real customers, and experienced more than Electrify America's stalls or Superchargers with the Magic Dock.

But maybe Ford will end this trip with an official announcement regarding the F-150 Lightning Performance that's rumored to come with around 1,000 hp, and we'll forget about weather-impacted range, charging woes, high car prices, and middlemen-caused troubles.

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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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