Ford Motor Co. launched Ford Pro Charging Wednesday, a new service for its commercial customers that will allow them to charge their vehicles in depots, at the homes of employees or out on the road during day-to-day rounds.
Ted Cannis, Ford Pro CEO, said it will also deliver “end-to-end solutions,” including software, hardware and services to support commercial customers with a fleet of vehicles to operate.
Ford’s pushing to secure the loyalty of commercial vehicle owners as part of its electric vehicle strategy, which is expected to make Ford the largest seller of commercial EVs within the next two year.
Ford Pro Charging networks can be sized to the needs and budgets of individual commercial customers and include management tools need to operate a fleet of electric vehicles of any size by keeping track of energy costs, uptime and the charge in each vehicle’s battery, according to Ford officials.
Focused on commercial vehicle owners needs
The integrated portfolio of services from Ford Pro Charging will include design of charging depot tailored to a company’s specific needs and locations as well as the installation of the necessary hardware, which can be a significant complication, Ford executives said.
“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?’” said Cannis, who heads Ford Pro as a separate business within Ford focused on commercial customers of all sizes.
“They are depending on us to provide the electric vehicles and the integrated solutions designed for EVs that they need for charging and connectivity. Ford Pro Charging is an industry first solution that is focused on helping our customers plan for, operate and deploy charging solutions so they can reduce operating costs and improve efficiency.”
Ford expects commercial EVs to grow
Cannis said Ford Pro expects U.S. industry sales of full-size all-electric trucks and vans in the commercial and government segments to be more than 300,000 units annually by 2030. With 125,000 fleet customers of all sizes in the U.S., Ford is “uniquely positioned” to build on these relationships as a trusted partner that can enable their transition to electric vehicles, he said.
Back in June, Ford announced the acquisition of Electriphi, a Silicon Valley-based provider of charging management and fleet monitoring software for electric vehicles, which was integrated into Ford Pro, the Ford unit now responsible for its commercial customers. The objective of expanding the range of services offered by Ford Pro.
“Electrification and charging go together,” Cannis said.
Muffi Ghadiali, head of Ford Pro Charging, who joined Ford with the acquisition of Electriphi, said more commercial vehicle customers are considering all-electric vehicles, but charging management remains a hurdle to mass adoption. Ford Pro plans to use its leadership position in the commercial vehicle market, its vehicle offerings and Electriphi’s technology to help customers with this transition.
Ford is looking generate more than $1 billion of revenue from charging business by 2030, Ghadiali noted.
New acquisition critical to Ford plan
“Our current fleet of connected vehicles allow us to learn from existing fleet behaviors so we can build the right infrastructure and the right charge management software,” said Ghadiali.
“Let’s say the customer fleet returns around 10 p.m. planning to go back out starting at 5 a.m. You have a limited window for charging and have to make charging decisions in a highly dynamic environment. Does every vehicle need to be fully charged? Can we balance charge power against the available charging window to take advantage of low overnight energy rates?
Ford Pro Charging accounts for “a multitude of variables,” he said, adding that the technology is designed to optimize energy costs and maximize the amount of time each vehicle is on the road, helping the owner make a living.