Ford CEO Jim Farley Reveals How A Lake Tahoe Family Trip Led Him To Secure Deal With Tesla For Supercharger Network Access: 'It Became Pretty Clear...'

Ford Motor Co F CEO Jim Farley on Wednesday detailed how he decided to strike a deal with rival EV maker Tesla Inc and allow Ford customers access to Tesla’s supercharging network.

The Trip: Farley said that he realized the need for access to Tesla’s charging network when he went on a vacation with his family to Lake Tahoe. Though he had understood concerns of range anxiety intellectually before, he hadn’t understood it as a consumer until then, Farley said in an interview with Tom Moloughney. The CEO added that he almost didn’t make it back to Monterey.

On the drive, Farley said that he stopped twice at Tesla supercharger locations as they were located in places where they could grab something to eat or take a bathroom break.

Back To Work: Farley got back from his vacation and struck up a conversation with his colleague Doug Field who was previously employed at Tesla. Field and Farley then started looking at data on broken chargers and wait times. The data they received showed that only 70% of the time do customers get to pull up the charger and plug it in without any issues at third-party charging stations. 30% of the time, these chargers wouldn’t work, in which case the customer would have to pull it out and plug it back in.

With Tesla, however, the internal target was to make plugging in the first time and charging possible 98% or 99% of the time, Farley said.

“It became pretty clear pretty quickly that we could continue to kind of be arrogant and keep our head in the sand or we could really call them and say, look, we really want to do this and that’s what happened,” Farley said while adding that Field, who is now Chief EV, Digital, and Design Officer at Ford, really helped him get to the decision.

Farley said that he reached out to Tesla CEO Elon Musk personally. Musk agreed that it could probably work and it took two weeks afterward to get the contract done, Farley said.

Other Automakers Follow Lead: Farley said he was not surprised when other automakers such as General Motors and Rivian Automotive started entering into similar contracts with Tesla for access to its supercharger network.

“Let’s put it this way: we were not surprised when the other shoe fell,” Farley said, adding that nobody in the industry wants to be on the wrong side of customers.

The Network Opens To Ford EVs: Late last month, Tesla opened its supercharger network to Ford, nine months after entering into a contract. While initially charging on the network will require an adapter provided by Ford, they would no longer be needed once Ford vehicles integrate Tesla's charging standard.

New and existing customers of Ford EVs can get a fast-charging adapter at no cost through June 30, 2024, to charge on Tesla superchargers. The adapter will cost $230 after the offer expires.

Tesla superchargers, the EV giant says, make up three out of every four fast chargers in the geography. However, not all superchargers can be accessed by other vehicle drivers. There are also Tesla-only superchargers reserved purely for the company's vehicles.

Rival EV makers Rivian Automotive, General Motors, Volvo Car, and Polestar Automotive will also gain access to the EV giant’s supercharging network starting in spring.

Check out more of Benzinga's Future Of Mobility coverage by following this link.

Read More: Elon Musk Says SpaceX Set To Launch Starship's Third Test Flight After Regulator Gives Green Light: ‘Maybe Tomorrow'

Image created using photos from Ford and Shutterstock

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