It looks like Ford’s grand plan to electrify its North American franchise dealers by 2030 hit a roadblock, kids — and it’s one that, frankly, Ford should have seen coming. As it turns out, more than 40% of Ford’s Lincoln brand dealers have decided they don’t want to spend nearly a cool million dollars to install EV chargers at their stores.
That million-dollars isn’t a made-up number, either. A number of experts have estimated that about $900,000 will be necessary to install the two Level 3 DC fast chargers and seven Level 2 chargers that Ford is asking for in the brand’s top 130 vehicle markets. Dealers in smaller markets, meanwhile, are still facing down a $500,000 cost to add “just one” DC fast charger and four Level 2s — and the dealers in smaller markets are pushing back at a higher rate than the top 130.
For Ford, it seems like the dream of an all-electric luxury dealer experience to take the fight to a more-affordable Tesla and an ambitious, reborn Cadillac brand might be further off than they thought!
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It might seem like a big ask for Lincoln dealers — which, despite the brand’s national ad campaigns and high-profile concept cars, don’t actually have any electric vehicles to sell at the moment — to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to upgrade relatively dealerships that parent company, Ford, already made them spend millions of dollars to upgrade over the course of the last decade. Still, it pays to be prepared.
Chris Poulos, chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council, seem to think so, anyway, and says that the timing of Ford’s requirements make sense. “If you start the process too late, and then there’s delays, you’re stuck and in a bad place,” said Poulos, who is also the General Manager of West Point Lincoln in Houston, TX. “I do think there’s some thoughtfulness that’s gone into the timing. It does seem like it’s early, but I also can understand what the pitfalls would be if they (Ford) don’t start early.”
Ford, for its part, is quick to put a positive spin on things. As such, they’ve said that the 59% of Lincoln stores that have enrolled in the program (356 dealerships) represent some 88% of the brand’s US sales volume — which, if I’m reading that correctly, means that 41% of the brand’s stores that said “no” represent just 12% of its sales.
Seems like Ford’s trimming the fat and taking out all the problem dealers in one fell swoop to me. What do you guys think? Scroll on down to the bottom of the page and let us know your take on Ford’s Lincoln requirements, in the comments.
We spoke to Rasmus Dilling, over at Jule, about some of the high-dollar estimates mentioned in the article, above.
Jule provides DC fast charging equipment that uses energy stored in high capacity li-ion batteries, which can be “slow charged” using standard 110 or 220AC current. “The cost in those estimates are in large part associated with the factors required to upgrade the electrical grid at those dealerships to be able to supply the energy required to power those level 3 chargers,” he wrote, in an email. “This is everything from design and engineering, permitting & approvals, equipment procurement, construction & commissioning, more. With a battery solution, you essentially bypass those factors and make do with the existing power already available to install DC charging. Depending on the deployment, this can eliminate those upgrade costs entirely, at best, and greatly reduce them at the very least. [The battery] can trickle charges from the grid with the power available (say 50 kW) and discharge that power at a greater intensity (at up to 600 kW) into the DC fast chargers when needed.”
Source | Images: Automotive News, Lincoln.
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