DEARBORN, MI – While Ford is gearing up to launch the all-new Focus Electric later this year and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012, cities around the country also are preparing for the arrival of new electric vehicles.
In working with cities and utility partners, Ford said it has identified these actions as needed steps:
- A utility rate structure that encourages "off-peak" or nighttime EV charging to minimize demand on the existing electric grid
- A streamlined permitting and inspection process to support customer and commercial EV infrastructure installation
- Integrated advisory committees that include participation from electric utilities, vehicle manufacturers and dealers, municipalities, EV customers and local coalitions
- An urban planning approach to optimize public/commercial EV charge locations
- Infrastructure incentives to offset a portion of customer costs for hardware/installation.
“As more and more electric vehicles come to market, it’s incredibly important that cities develop action plans including infrastructure development and permitting solutions to ensure these vehicles are a viable solution for citizens,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford’s manager of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “Ford continues outreach with cities across the country to spread best practices and work with multiple partners including local utilities, auto manufacturers, technology companies and others to support a successful integration of electric vehicles.”
Ford is working with a growing list of metropolitan areas that are stepping up their EV preparations and infrastructure.
“Our electric grid has plenty of capacity to support electric transportation. The key for local utilities is to offer incentives so EV customers are encouraged to charge during the nighttime hours when plenty of capacity is available,” said Tinskey. “Additionally, at a local level, we are encouraged many cities are taking an urban planning approach to public charge station locations -- which will result in locations that are used more often and an efficient use of investment dollars. The best cities are learning from others and taking a best-practices approach.”
Ford is also encouraged by specialized approaches some cities are taking to support electric vehicles. For example, Boston, New York City and Philadelphia are looking into opportunities to promote travel between the cities by electric vehicle. Additionally, each city is hiring an electric vehicle policy coordinator to help improve efficiency of the permitting processes.
Electrification, Ford said, is an important piece of the company’s overall product sustainability strategy. This strategy includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013. Ford launched the Transit Connect Electric small commercial van in 2010. The automaker will launch Focus Electric later this year and introduce C-MAX Hybrid, a second next-generation lithium-ion battery hybrid and C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid in 2012.