Auto manufacturers breaking into the electric vehicle (EV) market not only have to concern themselves with research and development of the vehicles themselves, but also with ensuring the infrastructure is in place for customers to be able to use them. Selling into markets unprepared for EVs would naturally diminish the chances of manufacturers gaining sales and building a viable business around them.
As a result, Ford has taken up the task of working with city and utility partners to ensure metropolitan areas are ready for the expansion of their own EV range. The company has a considerable stake in this segment with a four-vehicle portfolio including both pure electric and plug-in electric hybrids, spanning markets for both passenger and small commercial vehicles.
Last week, Ford identified the top 25 cities in the USA that Vehicle Electrification and Infrastructure Manager, Mike Tinksey, says are on the right path for EV readiness based on an index they devised internally. Ford was looking for the following key attributes signifying readiness – weighting most strongly those factors related to private charging:
- Utility rate structures that encourage nighttime or off-peak charging to minimize demand on the grid – San Francisco is currently the leader in this regard
- Streamlined permitting and inspection processes to support residential and commercial EV infrastructure installation
- Integrated advisory committees that include participation from electric utilities, vehicle manufacturers and dealers, municipalities, customers and EV coalitions
- Urban planning approach to optimize public/commercial EV charge locations
- Infrastructure incentives to offset a portion of customer costs for hardware installation
Ford devised its index to align with the particular characteristics of its own EV technology – specifically, a larger on-board charger that can fully replenish batteries in under 3 hours – but states that infrastructure is a non-competitive arena. Ford’s approach demonstrates the degree of cooperation necessary between traditionally disparate entities if EVs are to gain mass adoption.
The list of cities Ford has identified as on the right path for EV readiness is in alphabetical order, while ranking by preparedness score is not available.
San Francisco Bay Area