Ford’s Plea for Help with BEV Infrastructure

Ford has issued a plea to all the stakeholders eyeing up commercial opportunities in the BEV sector to begin serious investment in infrastructure and consumer education.

Its call is initially focused on the UK market where the government has placed itself at the vanguard of promoting the electric revolution pledging to ban all domestic sales of new ICE powered vehicles by 2030. Now, the automaker believes it is time both it, and the other players hoping to capitalize on forcing carbuyers into BEVs, marshal their efforts in providing adequate battery charging infrastructure and overcome consumer reservations.

That’s because the real and present threat in the UK is that, come the end of the decade, consumers unhappy with insufficient charging infrastructure may choose to hold on to their existing ICE vehicles and new car sales could fall off a cliff.

Since February, Ford has announced significant investments across Europe as it goes all-in on electrification, committing its entire passenger vehicle range being all-electric by 2030, and to the majority of its commercial vehicles sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid in the same timeframe. However, it says that individual actions are not enough and that a coordinated effort is needed to help consumers move to an electrified future.

Ford’s announcement comes as the first in its series of quarterly consumer sentiment reports, Go Electric, reveals widespread lack of awareness and hesitancy towards electrified vehicles and their ecosystems among much of the UK population. While the report shows appetite for EVs is increasing, with 28% of respondents said they plan to buy an EV within the next five years, a substantial proportion of drivers still have reservations. More than one in five say they have no intention of buying an EV, while a further fifth said they would not buy an EV until they have no other option.

Ford’s research also suggests that consumer acceptance is a key obstacle to overcome, with the Go Electric report pointing to an apparent lack of information around EV technology.  As much 61% of drivers surveyed said they did not feel they have enough information to make an informed decision on purchasing an EV. When asked how confident they were about the technology, more than half said they did not know the difference between electrified vehicle types, while four out of five said they would not be comfortable explaining EVs to a friend.

As part of a new Go Electric report, Ford has also outlined the following four key action points that the UK needs to address:

  • Comprehensive Roadmap: an action plan led by government and agreed by all relevant stakeholders, which sets out the ‘how’ and ‘when’ of the switch to electrification;
  • Charging Infrastructure: charging points need to be accessible for all with public charging points required across the UK so that no regions are left behind;
  • Incentivization: a need for a comprehensive regime of both purchase and usage incentives that encourage consumers to adopt all-electric and plug-in hybrid technologies;
  • Information for all: consumers have said they do not feel that they have enough information on electric vehicles. This requires a collective effort from all stakeholders to ensure customers have confidence in the technologies.

In a statement Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, said: “At Ford, we’re putting our plan into action. In the UK, the electrification transition is underway but we will not achieve the government’s 2030 target organically. We need a plan, supporting the rollout of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, in operation ahead of November’s critical COP26 climate summit. The scale of the challenge requires a partnership between all the key stakeholders – government, auto industry, energy providers, local authorities and consumers – and focusing on accelerating the development of the charging infrastructure at home, in the workplace and in public locations. It also should encourage consumers to purchase all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles through stronger incentives.”

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


2 comments

  1. Avatar don williams 15th May 2021 @ 3:17 pm

    Just another fluffy propaganda piece. Electric vehicles are still not the answer. Somebody please explain the science to me how generating electricity, passing it through a line hundreds of miles away (think parasitic losses) and then taking 8 hours to stuff it into a battery pack, is more efficient than fossil fuel? And if electricity is so great, why does it cost me more to heat my home with it than Natural Gas?

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