Ford Pro Charging launches in North America
Ford’s commercial vehicle arm, Ford Pro, announced the launch of Ford Pro Charging, a solution for managing commercial EV fleets and charging needs. Fleet owners will receive software and commercial hardware infrastructure to support charging and energy management.
Ford Pro Charging says it aims to be part of every fleet customer’s electrification journey by consulting on the design and construction of charging sites that can scale with operations while collaborating with local utility partners on the company’s energy and infrastructure needs.
The new business unit further expects the depot charging industry to grow to nearly 900,000 full-size trucks and vans in the US by 2030. With 125,000 US fleet customers of all sizes, Ford added it was “uniquely positioned to build on these relationships as a trusted partner that can enable their transition to electric vehicles.”
Some fleets will then need the control and certainty of depot chargers on company property. Here fleet management takes an open-standards approach designed to interoperate with EVs from many OEMs and vehicle classes. In addition, vehicles will need a plug-in device (PID). The software enables remote monitoring and management and can relay charge rate, optimal charge times and service alerts.
For customers who do not rely on depot charging, Ford Pro points to over 70,000 public charging ports, with over 3,200 DC fast-charging stations (over 7,300 plugs) on its nationwide Blue Oval Charging Network. The company will also offer charger installation for fleet drivers needing to charge overnight at home, including tracking, reporting, and driver reimbursement software.
The offer also includes mixed fleet management, i.e. ICE and electric vehicles. Since Ford Pro estimates commercial customers turnover between 10 -15% of their fleet each year, many will manage a mixed fleet of vehicles for a long time.
This may be very true, also considering the latest supply issues. While, in today’s communications, Ford Pro expects annual US industry sales of all-electric trucks and vans to be over 300K by 2030 and has started to offer commercial electric vehicles solutions, the company is having trouble delivering.
Ford, this month, had stopped taking reservations for the 150 electric pick-up truck due to a battery supply shortage as reported. CEO Jim Farley told US broadcasters at the time, “The issue is batteries. That’s what we have to solve.” Ford will do “whatever it takes” to double production capacity for the electric F-150, he said.
This will ultimately affect the short-term success of Ford Pro Charging. “Customers are saying, ‘We want the E-Transit and F-150 Lightning Pro, but how are we going to charge and operate them efficiently once they’re in our fleet?'” explains Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro. “They are depending on us to provide the electric vehicles and the integrated solutions designed for EVs that they need for charging and connectivity.”