For the past 5 years, US automakers have been standing around with their hands in their pockets waiting for someone, anyone, to construct charging networks for the electric cars they may have to build one day. Let the taxpayers do it or utility companies do it. Let private enterprise do the heavy lifting. Just don’t make us have to do it so we can concentrate on pumping out more enormous trucks and SUVs.
Tesla, of course, grabbed the bull by the horns right out of the gate when it started constructing its Supercharger network. And in Europe, several manufacturers including BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes, and Ford have joined forces to create the Ionity network across Europe.
Being part of Ionity seems to have had an impact on Ford’s thinking in America, causing it to buddy up with Electrify America for high speed charging along major transportation routes and other networks for community-based charging.
In a press release, Electrify America says the partnership “will provide future customers of [Ford’s] all-new, all-electric Mustang-inspired SUV with public fast charging capabilities through Electrify America’s growing charging network across the country.
“Customers will be able to manage their charging plan through features of the company’s FordPass app, as well as through their vehicle’s touch screen, that will be supported by a comprehensive data feed from Electrify America. The FordPass app will provide real time location and charger status data to Ford EV drivers for Electrify America’s network of ultra-fast EV public chargers across highway and metro charging stations planned in 45 states and the District of Columbia.”
Matt Stover, director of electric vehicle services at Ford, says “We are excited to be working with Electrify America given its powerful public charging network and impressive plans for expansion As part of our $11.5 billion investment in global electric vehicles, we are always working to differentiate our offerings for customers and look forward to providing owners with a premium charging experience and convenient access to Electrify America’s comprehensive network. The fact that most of our customers will plug in at home is a key advantage to an all-electric vehicle,” he says. “We will deliver a charging experience that is hassle free whether you’re at home or on the go.”
In a separate press statement, Ford says it plans to give its electric car customers access to more charging locations than any other manufacturer. “Ford’s all-electric vehicle charging strategy includes comprehensive at-home charging options and the nation’s largest network of public charging stations, including DC fast charging,” the company says. The network will include 12,000+ charging stations with more than 35,000 plugs, making public chargers as common as many popular pharmacy or coffee chains.
“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. “By offering industry leading charging access we are dismantling those barriers, allowing more customers to confidently enjoy the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.”
Every Ford all electric vehicle will come standard with a 240 volt Ford Mobile Charger which can add an average range of 22 miles per charging hour. Ford has also teamed up with Amazon Home Services to offer installation of home charging equipment. Ford says it is working with Greenlots “to bring together multiple charging providers to develop the FordPass Charging Network, making it easy for customers to find and pay for charging all through FordPass or your vehicle’s screen.”
Using the app or the vehicle’s touchscreen, drivers will be able to plan their route around chargers along the way, determine if a charging outlet is available or in use, and identify things like restaurants, shopping centers, and other nearby points of interest to make the most of their time while charging their vehicle on the go.
It sounds as though Ford is taking the lessons offered by Tesla and other charging system operators to heart and dedicated itself to providing a seamless charging experience for customers who drive Ford electric cars. Now all that remains is to get some of them on the road!
It is interesting that neither General Motors or Chrysler/Jeep has made any similar public announcements about charging networks to service their electric car customers. Maybe senior executives at both companies are hoping against hope they never have to actually sell more than a token amount of those damned EVs.
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