It is no surprise that Ford has been working hard on all things related to electric vehicles lately. Ford CEO Jim Farley recently did an interview and gave some more insight into what is going on behind the scenes. With the Ford Mustang Mach-E paving the way for the F-150 Lightning truck, is Ford electric vehicle charging ready for the influx?
The Ford electric vehicle charging network still needs some work
Ford has F-150 Lightning and Mustang Mach-E electric vehicles successfully rolling off the assembly line. In a recent interview with The Verge, Jim Farley noted his intention to continue to eat up the market share that the competition currently holds. The F-150 Lightning will have the market to itself for about a year while the other trucks trail behind.
With 200,000 preorders for the Lightning, Farley has recently invested $950 million into factory expansion to keep up. That added 750 jobs and will hopefully help double production for the Mach-E and the Lightning. Ford officially cut off ordering for the 2022 electric truck this week.
Ford Mustang Mach-E owners were vocal about the charging experience when the electric SUV first hit the market. Many charging stations didn’t work or could not complete a charge. It made Ford look silly in the face of Tesla’s Supercharger network. Ford likes to say it has the most extensive charging network. “But 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.”
The Ford F-150 Lightning will be a big test on the Ford electric vehicle charging network
As the Ford F-150 Lightning hits private driveways shortly, Ford has a new charging map firmware ready to go. It will allow drivers to find DC Fast-Charging stations and report broken charging stations. “We’ve done a lot of benchmarking of our competitors’ algorithms to find a charger, and there are others that were better than us, Farley told The Verve.
“I would give ourselves 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.”Jim Farley | Ford CEO
Ford is now focusing on the quality of the charging network and the success of a charge. Doug Field is the new head of the EV side of things (Ford Model E) and wants successful charges to be the new measure. Not a half charge or an issue that prevents a full charge from happening. Ford says a successful charge means driving up to a charger, completing the charge as necessary, and driving away. The automaker is working on expanding the network of chargers to make it easier for owners to get to.
Google has been working with the automaker for a new version of the Sync infotainment system
The Ford Mustang Mach-E is slated to get the new charging interface eventually. The electric SUV is scheduled for a significant update later this year, with the new charging network update as a part of that. Farley hopes to have these over-the-air updates become more accessible and seamless as time goes on.
Ford’s BlueCruise technology was a significant roadblock for some of these over-the-air updates, but it seems to have been worked out. Farley says there are a lot of BlueCruise downloads happening.
Ford has a collaboration with Google for the next version of the Sync infotainment system. That is still running behind, but Ford hopes to have a revamped version of Sync by sometime in 2023. This will have Google Maps and other updates for drivers to use. For now, Ford has a lot of positive things happening and a lot going on behind the scenes.