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Ford CEO Jim Farley posts an insightful ode to electric vehicles as a ‘lifelong petrol head’

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Ford Motor Company CEO Jim Farley recently posted an opinion piece to social media, sharing a fresh and inspiring perspective about his newfound love for electric vehicles. As a self-described “lifelong petrol head,” Farley definitely found his niche by heading one of the world’s most prominent automakers. Given his foresight into the future of electrification, it’s easy to see why he’s CEO, and better still, he has the data to back his statements up.

Jim Farley said he always wanted to be a “car guy.”

With time spent at Toyota and Lexus before joining Ford in 2007, Farley has definitely engrained himself in the car world. During his tenure at Ford Motor Company, he has risen through the ranks as a senior member of the executive team before being named the company CEO in 2020.

Long before Farley took over, the automotive industry had begun to shift toward electric vehicles that are more powerful, quieter, and, most importantly, cleaner in emissions. In a recent post, Farley said, “The rumble of a V-8 feels like the soundtrack of my life,” and that he still spends many weekends “wrenching” on his 1973 Ford Bronco.

The head of Ford clearly has a passion for combustion vehicles, which he spent most of his career developing, but Farley has admitted to a newfound love of electric vehicles and explains why. Furthermore, he does an excellent job of addressing common misconceptions about EVs as well as his predictions for the future of the industry.

Ford CEO
Farley charging an F-150 Lightning during his 2023 road trip / Source: Jim Farley/LinkedIn

Ford CEO: EVs will be the next great shift in mobility

We highly recommend reading the opinion piece in its entirety recently posted to LinkedIn by Ford CEO Jim Farley. It’s a five-minute read that is well thought out and relatable, and Farley comes off as informed, honest, and approachable, even as the head of a major automaker.

The piece is also full of strong arguments that make pro-EV advocates like us throw our hands up and say, “Preach!” This first part sounds partially like an ad for the F-150 Lightning, but Farley does share some insight on how he fell in love with EVs:

As a lifelong petrol head, I was surprised as anyone when I fell in love with electric vehicles.

It wasn’t government policies or political beliefs that sparked this late-career romance with electric vehicles. It’s because I drive one – my Ford F-150 Lightning Platinum. It is astonishingly quiet and smooth. The effortless acceleration leaves you with a silly grin once you get the feeling back in your face. Every morning, mine is topped up with 300 miles of range. No gas stations, ever…

… It’s that simple. For me, and for millions of Americans, electric vehicles are removing daily hassles and reminding us why we love to drive. If you want to have a blast behind the wheel, take a Mustang Mach-E Rally out on a dirt road.

Next, the Ford CEO addresses some misconceptions about EVs and compares the nascent technology to other paradigm shifts in our world of industry, such as mobile phones and computers, and even recalls a time when the internet was just a fad. Per Farley:

It takes time for innovations to take hold. But when they do, the shift is profound and lasting.

I believe the next great shift for vehicles will be toward software-defined and electric vehicles.

After that, Farley addresses a key issue (and misconception) among consumers who are considering going electric: how much range they need. Per the post, Ford’s research shows that approximately 50% of Americans only take trips over 150 miles four days or less per year.

Farley also stated that 80% of EV owners charge at home and acknowledges that public charging networks in North America are continuing to grow. Ford’s CEO mentions a road trip across the US he took in an F-150 Lightning last year but left out the part about how shocked he was that it was so difficult to find reliable chargers. Still, Farley appears optimistic about those networks:

Charging access and speed will keep getting better, just as cellular networks went from staticky and constantly dropping to clear and reliable.

Farley also shared that close to 70% of global EV owners say they are sticking to electric vehicles only in the future. With the US recently imposing higher tariffs on Chinese-made EVs and Europe and possibly Canada following suit, Ford’s CEO took an opportunity to stress the importance of supporting American automakers and to trust that the 121-year-old automaker knows what it’s doing. Per Farley’s post:

Here’s the other thing. We are in a global race to compete in a future where electric propulsion will undoubtedly be a giant force in transportation. America cannot cede innovation leadership to China, Europe, or any other region. Ford has survived and thrived for 121 years because we have never been shy about seizing the moment to innovate and face the future. Now, we are investing billions in plants, tech centers, and our workforce to create the must-have cars, SUVs, and trucks of tomorrow.

It’s true that we are losing money on electric vehicles in the first innings of this transition, largely due to the upfront investment costs. But that too is changing. After all, what major technological leap forward wasn’t challenging and costly at the early stages?

The tipping point we’re working toward will come not from regulators who push us or from politicians who try to hold us back. It will come from consumers. Not when an arbitrary market share is reached, but when electric vehicles are simply better for more customers – better to drive, cheaper to own, and easier to integrate into daily life. This is the reality for millions already.

Well said, Jim; welcome to the pack, from one EV lover to another.

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