Flexible Charge Point Access Key to EV Adoption, Says Ford

The ability to plug in a BEV wherever there is a charge point is one of the key factors in persuading consumers to go electric.

That’s the opinion of Ford of Europe’s director of electric vehicles Steve Hood when speaking to TU-Automotive at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA). He pointed to Ford’s app which allows BEV owners to use any available public charge point but pay for the charging through one billing system.

Hood said there are three main pillars of infrastructure must be address before the consumer will feel confident in making the move towards BEVs. He said: “There are three types of infrastructure in our minds. There is what I would call a high powered charging infrastructure on the main trunk roads. Here we have a partnership with a company called Ionity and we are supporting them to put in high powered DC charging. At the moment it’s up to 250kW DC but we have plans to go over 300kW. This should cover the longer distance journeys where you need fast charging.”

However the bulk of users will make greater use of local public charge points for medium range journeys in everyday life, said Hood. He expanded: “The next infrastructure element is where you need, out and about, public charge point operators and that’s very important for many customers. We have a relationship with a company called NewMotion so through our app we will be able to provide access to charge points and cross charge point operator billing, which means you are not locked into one specific charge point operator.”

Hood also warned that getting an adequate number of charge points made available to the public is crucial to maintain the momentum of BEV adoption. He explained: “Naturally, there is a desire from all of us to see the amount of charge points increase because when you see the adoption curve in markets like Norway you see a change where customers were used to being able to drive up to any charge point and have very little of a wait, if at all, but as the electric vehicles on the road increase you have to increase your charge points. We have seen a lot of frustration happening in Norway where you can now be queuing behind five or six cars.”

Home charging for those consumers with off road parking is also an important part of the infrastructure whole, said Hood. “That’s very important as well because many customers over estimate their journey lengths and so when you get to a home charger, many customers will find they can actually meet most of their journey requirements. So, we need to get the home infrastructure put in place.”

He pointed to the general trend for two different types of BEVs to reflect the typical consumer market demands. Hood said: “There is the next generation of BEVs coming and our one will have a maximum range under WLTP conditions of 600km (372 miles) so you are also seeing bigger batteries coming into the market. You will see a split with BEVs where some will be capable of very long journeys while others will be for shorter journeys using charging at home.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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