Demand for electric cars has grown slowly. But the tsunami is coming
New York (CNN Business)Ford doesn’t currently offer any electric vehicles, but it announced Thursday that, once it does, it will offer the largest North American network of electric vehicle chargers of any automaker — including Tesla.
Unlike Tesla, though, Ford didn’t build this charging network on its own. Working with EV charging companies Greenlots and Electrify America, Ford has created what it calls the FordPass Charging Network. When needed, users will be directed to one of the network’s chargers using an app or in the vehicle’s central touch screen.
Next year, Ford will begin selling an electric crossover SUV with styling based on the Ford Mustang. It’s the first vehicle Ford has ever offered that was designed, from the outset, as an electric vehicle. That vehicle has not been unveiled yet. An electric version of the Ford F-150 pickup is also being developed.
The FordPass network will include more than 12,000 charging stations with a total of 35,000 plugs in the United States and some parts of Canada. Tesla has 4,375 public charging stations with about 15,000 plugs in the United States, according to the Department of Energy.
A game changer is coming for electric car owners
While Tesla’s chargers can only be used by Tesla (TSLA) cars, the chargers in the FordPass network will work with most other electric cars. Unlike Tesla’s chargers, which are all run and operated by Tesla, the chargers in the FordPass network will be operated by different companies. The charging network will include fast chargers that can rapidly juice up a vehicle’s battery to about 80% in about 40 minutes, in some cases. While the chargers themselves will work with many different cars, only Ford drivers will be able to use the FordPass app.
Ford (F) electric vehicle owners will be able to pay for charging through the app without having to subscribe separately to individual charging networks. Greenlots, a subsidiary of Shell, operates the software behind the app.
Electrify America is building its electric car charging network using money from a settlement that Volkswagen reached with US regulators over the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal. Other charging network operators are expected to join the network, a Greenlots spokeswoman said.
Ford also announced it is working with Amazon (AMZN) Home Services to install at-home chargers for customers who buy a Ford electric vehicle. Most electric car owners charge their cars at home or at work the vast majority of the time. Public chargers, like those in the FordPass Charging Network, are mostly used when drivers are taking longer road trips.
Earlier this year, General Motors (GM) announced it was working on a plan with the construction company Bechtel to build a large network of public chargers across America.