Ford sets sights on advancing Canadian arm of charging network
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Oct 24, 2019
Emma Jarratt

The FordPass charging network is North America’s largest EV charging network and it’s looking to expand its Canadian presence.

Photos: Ford

The FordPass charging network is North America’s largest EV charging network and it’s looking to expand its Canadian presence

Once an icon of the gas-powered vehicle industry, Ford Motor Co. announced its plans for public charging infrastructure to service its fleet of electric vehicles launching next year.

The specs on the public network are impressive: more than 12,000 places to charge across North America, including 1,400 in Canada, and more than 35,000 charge plugs in total, with 3,500 of those north of the 49th parallel.

Canadian customers will be able to access any FordPass site in Canada and the U.S.

The crux of Ford’s $11.5-billion investment in developing its electrified vehicle strategy is simple: range, ease and reliability.

“Among people who already own or want to purchase electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, 48 per cent say that a lack of charging stations is one of their main concerns,” says Ted Cannis, Ford director of global electrification. “By offering industry-leading charging access we are dismantling those barriers, allowing more customers to confidently enjoy the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.”

FordPass is already up and running in parts of the U.S. having partnered with Electrify America to access its fast charging infrastructure.

In Canada it will be Greenlots that Ford aligns itself with, though the company is keen to add other partners to its roster in time.

Greenlots is already working with many other companies to bring their branded charging stations online.

Legacy name adds clout in new market

While many charging networks dotting the highways and roads of North America are relative newcomers to the automotive industry, Ford has a clear advantage: name recognition.

“Ford F-Series are the top-selling pickup in Canada going on 54 years and the top-selling vehicle going on a decade,” says Ford spokesperson Matt Drennan-Scace in an e-mail to Electric Autonomy Canada.

A hybrid Ford F-150 model truck is set to hit the market starting in 2020 and an all-electric F-150 is currently in development, according to Drennan-Scace.

An all-electric Mustang-inspired SUV will also be available to Canadians in 2020.

It’s a race to the finish between Ford and its top truck competitor, General Motors, to see which industry legacy maker will get its electric truck on the road first.

GM has given a 2023 timeline for a fleet of 20 all new electric vehicles and has also promised its own branded charging network, but hasn’t provided an indication of where or when that infrastructure will be available.

Ford is taking advantage of its network head start and is already offering an additional perk to prospective electric Ford drivers with two years of free charging after the initial vehicle purchase date.

Building a one-stop shop

With so many Canadians already behind the wheel of a Ford vehicle, it stands to reason that cultivating and expanding brand loyalty is a big driver in its electric plans.

Which brings to the front the company’s equally significant announcement of its private home charging offerings.

“As easy as charging a smartphone.”

– Ford Motor Company

Ford is promising its electric vehicles will come standard with a Ford Mobile Charger and be chargeable in both a 120- and 240-volt outlet.

It’s an options-focused feature that eliminates a sometimes cumbersome and often expensive hurdle electric vehicle owners have to jump by getting the higher voltage outlets specially installed to be accessible to their vehicle.

“For those with longer commutes or who want greater peace of mind, a Ford Connected Charge Station can fully power a vehicle overnight while they sleep,” says Drennan-Scace.

Charging times vary between three miles per charging hour on a 120-volt outlet to 22 miles per charging hour on a 240-volt outlet.

Ford EV Home Charging Options
On a mobile device or Ford’s on-screen dashboard, drivers will be able to monitor charging at home, and find and pay for charging at FordPass Charging Network stations

“The fact that most of our customers will plug in at home is a key advantage to an all-electric vehicle,” says Matt Stover, Ford director of charging, energy services and business development. “We will deliver a charging experience that is hassle-free whether you’re at home or on-the-go.”

For additional ease of use, Ford customers will be able to use the FordPass app to live-track not only their vehicle’s charging progress, but to access wait-time information at charging stations where that data is made available.

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