When it comes to charging, he gives the company a C-plus.
The Ford F-150 Lightning is finally making its way down the production line before heading off to excited customers. Together with the well-received Mustang Mach-E, the battery-powered pair mark the beginning of Ford's venture into the world of electromobility. EVs bring with them several perks, including low ownership costs and impressive straight-line speed.
But the reality is that charging remains a problem and, as electric vehicles grow in popularity over the coming years, it's only set to get worse. Ford's CEO agrees with this and admits that something needs to be done. Speaking to The Verge, Jim Farley admitted the Blue Oval has some issues surrounding charging.
"We have some scars to show," he said. While Ford has previously said it boasts the biggest charging network, Farley was candid about its failings. "It's not really helpful that it's the biggest if half the chargers don't work ... or if you show up, and you need a fast charger, and it's not a fast charger - that's not going to work."
In an attempt to better the situation, the Dearborn-based brand has a few tricks up its sleeve. The company has implemented a simple internal technique to measure the success of its charging network. Simply known as "successful charge", it takes into account how regularly Ford EV drivers can access a charger, top-up their batteries as necessary and leave.
The system has shown several chinks in Ford's armor. Farley, with refreshing honesty, rates Ford's charging at a C-Plus. "The number of fast chargers is just going to take time. This will be like brushing our teeth - we're never going to be done with this." The box-fresh Lightning pickup will also play a part in bettering Ford's charging infrastructure.
The battery-powered F-150 features a charging-locator function that enables drivers to find fast chargers and, importantly, report faulty stations. The Mustang Mach-E will reportedly garner this handy feature later this year, as part of an extensive software update.
Ford's CEO notes that the company did a lot of competitor benchmarking; this revealed several things. "We've done a lot of benchmarking of our competitors' algorithms to find a charger and there are others that were better than us," he said. "It was very impressive to see what Hyundai did for their Ioniq 5."
Previously, the brand has come under attack due to its blatant copying of Tesla's supercharger design. Even Tesla weighed in on the matter, with the company's product design director labeling it as a "disingenuous, unnecessarily large, poorly executed knock-off of our design."