Ford has solutions for those worried about charging its electric vehicles

Ian Thibodeau
The Detroit News

Ford Motor Co. plans to give customers a handful of options to charge the electric vehicles it's expected to launch over the next few years.

The automaker on Thursday said it would partner with multiple nationwide charging networks in the United States in addition to giving electric vehicle customers different options for charging vehicles at their home. The moves come ahead of Ford's planned launch of its first-ever fully electric crossover early next year — and as U.S. consumers continue to voice concerns about how they'd charge electric vehicles.

Ford said it would partner with multiple nationwide charging networks in the United States.

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

Under the direction of CEO Jim Hackett, the automaker plans to invest $11.5 billion in electric vehicles through 2022. The first of those to launch would be the as-yet-unnamed "Mustang-inspired" battery electric crossover targeting a 300-mile range.

But Ford and other automakers must overcome apprehension from some U.S. consumers if the companies want to be successful selling those vehicles. The moves planned by Ford mirror those made by competitors that have launched electric vehicles in recent years. General Motors Co. and Tesla, Inc. each have various charging options for customers, though Tesla customers must use Tesla charging stations unless drivers use adapters. 

At home, Ford customers will have three options to charge their vehicles. The automaker plans to partner with Amazon to install Ford Connected Charge Stations at homes. The 49-amp charging station would be able to fully charge a vehicle overnight, averaging 32 miles per charging hour. 

Meantime, every vehicle will come with a standard Ford Mobile Charger, which can use a 240-volt outlet to charge the vehicle at 22 miles per charging hour, or a 120-volt outlet to charge at 3 miles per charging hour. The automaker plans to partner with Amazon Home Services to install either new 240-volt outlets, or a home charging station, for those customers who want either of those options. 

Electric vehicle customers would need to pay for either option.

Meantime, the automaker plans to provide electric vehicle customers with the FordPass Charging Network, which gives drivers access to 12,000 charging stations around the country. Ford plans to partner with charging station supplier Greenlots, Electrify America and other existing charging networks to give Ford customers access to charging lots, where they can pay for charging.

The FordPass app also will have an available feature that allows drivers to find charging stations along a route. The app through the vehicles on-screen dashboard can tell customers if a charging outlet is available, and if there are restaurants or stores nearby where the driver can spend time while the vehicle charges.

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

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau