Ford CEO Admits ‘Reality Check’ When He Took Electric F-150 Truck on Road Trip

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
August 18, 2023Business News
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Ford CEO Admits ‘Reality Check’ When He Took Electric F-150 Truck on Road Trip
Ford CEO Jim Farley speaks at the launch of the all-new electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Mich., on April 26, 2022. (Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)

Ford CEO Jim Farley admitted he underwent a “reality check” when he tried to make a cross-country road trip in the Ford electric F-150.

“Charging has been pretty challenging,” Mr. Farley said in a video on X, formerly known as Twitter. “It was a really good reality check of the challenges of what our customers go through and the importance of fast charging and what we’re going to have to do to improve the charging experience.”

In California, Mr. Farley said he encountered slow charging times. When using a low-speed charger, it took about 40 minutes for it to charge the electric F-150’s battery to 40 percent.

According to Ford, the company has said it partnered with Telsa to allow Ford customers to use the more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers next year. Other electric vehicles have also announced partnerships with Tesla.

“Long hauling in an electric truck is an act of pioneerism, not because it’s hard or dangerous, but because it’s a new way to experience America,” Mr. Farley wrote in a LinkedIn post on Aug.  7. “Shifting from fueling stations to charging stations requires new behaviors and opens new possibilities.”

Another Charging Issue

It comes after a Canadian man told news outlets that he was forced to abandon his Ford electric truck after suffering charging failures during a road trip. Dalbir Bala of La Salle, Manitoba, said he left his Lightning in Minnesota last month after he couldn’t charge its battery at two different stations.

He then continued his drive in a rented gas-powered vehicle instead, he said.  His wife and three children joined him for the trip to Wisconsin and Chicago, setting out with three scheduled stops to recharge on the trip.

“It was really a nightmare frustration for us,” Mr. Bala told CBC News.

His first stop was in Fargo, North Dakota, roughly 350 kilometers south of Winnipeg. He paid $56 to charge his vehicle’s battery from 10 percent to 90 percent capacity.

The problems began at his next stop in Albertville, Minnesota, when he received a “faulty connection” message in his truck after he plugged in the charger. He dialed the number on the charger for assistance but received no response.

“It was in [the] shop for 6 months. I can’t take it to my lake cabin. I cannot take it for off-grid camping. I cannot take for even a road trip,” he added. “I can only drive in city—biggest scam of modern times.”

NTD Photo
The Ford F-150 Lightning pickup truck during a press event in New York on May 26, 2021. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

In response, Ford Motor Co. told news outlets that it is “looking into this individual customer’s case.” No other details were given.

“This customer’s experience highlights the urgent need to rapidly improve access to public charging across the U.S. and Canada,” Ford’s statement also said. “Ford’s EV-certified dealers will install public-facing DC fast chargers at their dealerships by early 2024, providing alternative charging options to those available today. Ford was also the first in the industry to gain access to over 12,000 Tesla Superchargers for Ford drivers.”

Other Issues

A report from the American Automobile Association (AAA), released in June, found that the vehicle’s battery range drops significantly when it is hauling heavy cargo—possibly jeopardizing the vehicle’s usage as a work truck. That includes hauling items like tools, toolboxes, equipment, and other items.

“In the case of battery electric pickups used as work vehicles, permanent loads (such as equipment racks, toolboxes, and equipment trays built into the vehicle) will reduce the range at all times, even without additional cargo,” the AAA said.

The AAA noted that potential buyers should note what type of driving they will be doing before making the purchase, adding that EVs are better suited for urban driving.

“Our testing revealed a significant range reduction, but it’s important to note that the Lightning was loaded to near its maximum capacity,” Greg Brannon, director of AAA’s automotive engineering unit, stated in a news release. “Most buyers will likely use their Lightning with a lighter load, resulting in a much smaller range reduction.”

Prices Slashed

Last month, meanwhile, Ford slashed prices on the F-150 Lightning, including a 17 percent cut for the base model, as it aims to boost its share of an EV market dominated by Tesla.

The Detroit-based automaker, which had raised Lightning prices earlier this year, said it was able to cut prices following improvements in scale and battery raw material costs.

The move comes amid a price war started by Tesla a few months ago, which has seen EVs of legacy automakers piling up at dealers as sales slow.

“The Ford Lightning is a good vehicle, just somewhat expensive, especially given the high interest rates these days for any kind of loan,” Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a post on X last month.

Angel Yuan and Reuters contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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