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Ford CEO’s Road Trip Shows Challenges of EV Travel

Jim Farley took a road trip across the American West in an F-150 Lightning.

On August 7, Ford CEO Jim Farley announced on LinkedIn that he would take a road trip across the American West in the automaker’s F-150 Lightning.

Farley explained that the purpose of the trip was to visit researchers, businesses, dealers, salespeople, EV conversion shops and EV drivers to gain insights that could advance Ford’s electric vehicle division. Highlights on the tour included stops in Silicon Valley, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and an encounter with actor Dwayne Johnson

The F-150 Lightning is part of Ford’s first generation of electric vehicles that also featured the Mustang Mach-E and E-transit. According to the automaker, the Lightning boasts an estimated 230 miles of range and can serve as backup power for a home via bidirectional charging. 

The blog of Farley’s trip showed the EV’s frunk, the truck powering a bounce house and hands-free driving through a pre-production version of BlueCruise software. However, Farley did admit that “Charging [was] pretty challenging.”

One picture showed the Lightning charging early in the morning before a day’s drive because the hotel Farley stayed at did not have chargers. 

In a later video, Farley also told of a stop at a charging site on Interstate 5 in Coalinga, California, which features Tesla Superchargers. Farley said he used a low-speed charger, which took 40 minutes to charge 40%. Farley clarified that he could have waited for a faster charger but took the first charger available.

Farley said the stop showed “the challenges that [Ford] customers go through and the importance of fast charging.”

Currently, Ford EV drivers cannot use a Tesla Supercharger. But an announcement from Ford in May revealed that its customers would have access to approximately 12,000 Superchargers in the U.S. and Canada starting next spring.

Ford recently resumed production of the Lightning after a six-week shutdown during which it retooled the Rouge Electric Vehicle Center plant. The company expects to manufacture the Lightning at an annualized rate of 150,000 units by this fall.

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