Ford is currently selling only one plug-in vehicle, the Fusion Plug-in Hybrid (formerly the Fusion Energi). The company’s Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi seem to have been swept away in the recent sedan massacre. However, the company is planning to introduce a “Mustang-inspired electric crossover” in 2020, and is working on an electric pickup truck.
Like other automakers, Ford understands that a perceived lack of public charging stations is one of consumers’ top objections to going electric. “Among people who already own or want to purchase electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, 48 percent say that a lack of charging stations is one of their main concerns,” said Ted Cannis, Ford’s Director of Global Electrification.
Ford hopes to nip those concerns in the bud, putting a charging strategy in place well before its new plug-ins hit the streets.
All the company’s pure EVs will come standard with a Ford Mobile Charger, which is capable of both Level 1 and Level 2 charging. This is very cool – pretty much all EVs come with a Level 1 portable charging cable, but most drivers want Level 2 charging. Some may find that the Ford Mobile Charger is all they need. For those who crave the convenience of a dedicated home charging station, there’s the Ford Connected Charge Station.
Many automakers try to steer EV buyers to expensive, feature-rich stations that are overkill for most drivers, and it appears that Ford is following this trend. “Loaded with connectivity features, the higher powered 48-amp Ford Connected Charge Station enables full control no matter where customers are.” I’ve never understood how an EV owner benefits much from an internet-enabled charger, but automakers and utilities benefit by gathering data on customer charging behavior.
Ford will also offer two years of complimentary access to public chargers from several existing charging networks, including Electrify America. Charging solution provider Greenlots will create a roaming system that enables Ford drivers to enjoy seamless access to over 12,000 charging stations in the US and Canada (other charging networks are expected to join the project, so this number is likely to be much larger by go time).
As is so often the case, credulous mainstream media took Ford’s marketing material at face value, and reported that the company plans to offer “the largest North American network of electric vehicle chargers of any automaker – including Tesla.” Wow! that would be really impressive, if it were an accurate description of what Ford is doing. However, as we understand it, Ford will not be building any new EVSE, but rather allowing its customers easy (and temporarily free) access to existing infrastructure.
Make no mistake, this and the other charging initiatives Ford has announced are worthy undertakings, and should add to the attractions of its upcoming EV offerings. And you have to hand it to Ford for a marketing coup – the FordPass Charging Network has already generated a lot of positive media coverage for little investment.