Telematics play a part in simplifying electric-vehicle charging for the thousands of commercial customers Ford expects to convert to BEVs in the next few years, Ford executives say.
Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro, the automaker’s new division for encouraging commercial customers to convert to electric vehicles, says electrification and charging go hand in hand as Ford unveils plans for its new Ford Pro Charging service.
Ford Pro Charging will offer Ford’s commercial customers an “end-to-end” answer to all of their individual charging requirements for fleets of BEVs both large and small, note Ford executives during a briefing on the new service. Ford will offer to design (and build) a charging depot suitable for the customer's needs, Cannis says.
The automaker will offer access to a growing network of public chargers across the U.S. to which Ford is adding every day, as well as home chargers for employees who take their vehicles home. “We provide the hardware and the software,” he notes.
Ford already works with commercial customers in all kinds of businesses both large and small. A lot of the start-up companies are offering to service delivery vehicles, he notes.
But delivery vehicles overall only make up about 10% of the commercial fleets in the U.S., and Ford has already built relationships with thousands of other customers by offering additional services such as upfitting and outfitting vehicles for specific purposes, Cannis says.
Ford has 43% share of the market for Class 1 through 7 commercial vehicles, and the transition to EVs offers the automaker an opportunity to expand. The Ford E-Transit all-electric work truck goes on sale in early 2022.
Ford Pro expects annual U.S. sales of fullsize all-electric trucks and vans in the commercial and government segments to top 300,000 units by 2030.With 125,000 fleet customers in the U.S., Ford is uniquely positioned to build on these relationships and facilitate the transition to BEVs, Cannis says.
“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?’” adds Cannis, who says Ford expects to become the largest maker of commercial EVs.
“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,” Cannis says.
To fuel the growth, Ford Pro Charging expects to offer a range of telematic services right along with the chargers, according Muffi Ghadiali, head of Ford Pro Charging, who joined Ford when the automaker acquired Silicon Valley-based Electriphi this past summer.
Ghadiali says Electriphi’s technology and services will help customers using Ford’s charging services to manage their fleet operations, along with battery usage, energy costs and maintenance, he adds. “Telematics are going to provide critical information.”
While Ford expects to capture over $1 billion of revenue from the charging business by 2030, Ghadiali notes, “This is what makes Ford Pro Charging a crucial bridge to the future.”
The software analyzes how each fleet operates and can precisely orchestrate charging management based on those behaviors. Executives say the technology can solve problems for customers, such as determining the optimal times to charge based on energy rates.
“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,” says Ghadiali. Ford Pro Charging wants to be part of every fleet customer’s electrification journey.
“This starts on day one and continues through every step of the electrification process – identifying available incentives, with Ford Pro consulting on the design and construction of optimal charging sites that can scale with fleet operations, while collaborating with local utility partners on energy and infrastructure needs,” Ghadiali says.