The Ford Motor Company, a name synonymous with the internal combustion engine (ICE), diesel trucks, and fire-breathing stock cars, has taken a further step towards creating an integrated electric car charging network. The Ford strategy employs a set of at-home charging options, America's largest public car charging network with more than 12,000 charging stations and 35,000 plugs, and web connectivity via the FordPass app for in-car and at-home control.
At home, customers have the option of charging their Ford electric vehicle with a standard 120 volt electrical outlet, 240 volts used for electric appliances like an electric stovetop range, or a Ford Connected Charging Station. With a host of connectivity features offered through the use of the FordPass app, the 48-amp charging station adds 32 miles of range per charging hour. On the road, every all-electric Ford car comes equipped with a Ford Mobile Charger capable of charging at 240v, which adds 22 miles of range per charging hour, and 120v, which trickles over a paltry 3 miles of range per hour. Ford has partnered up with Amazon Home Services to install both the 240v home hook-up or the Ford Charging Station.
The expansion and integration of the car charging network is a welcome and necessary complement to the electric car itself and I applaud Ford and other manufacturers for taking up the challenge. The biggest fear of potential electric car buyers, Ford cites a figure of 48%, and the biggest hurdle to radically ramping up electric car production despite fanboys wildest dreams, is the low number of electric car charging stations as compared to gas stations for ICE-powered cars. Range anxiety is a function of this.
Make no mistake, the creation of this network will not occur overnight. It took over 100 years after all to build a system of over 168,000 gas stations with probably ten times or more the number of gas pumps, gas delivery trucks, fuel storage depots, processing facilities and etc. And I can fuel up my car with gas from dead empty to full in a couple of minutes. How long will I have to wait to top off an electric car ... while on the road ... in the rain ... in the dead of winter?
And don't think that simply installing more charging stations will solve all of the problems. Then you'll have to contend with an aging, and dumb, electrical grid, carbon heavy generating stations and a multitude of different car charging plug protocols. Just think about all the phone, tablet, USB, printer, and laptop cables in your life. While I am averse to the bigfoot of government stepping in, perhaps some sort of electric plug standard might be agreeable like the fuel neck size on ICE cars. And please don't misinterpret my honesty about the issues inherent in our possible electric future with a disdain for electric cars more generally. But it is important to be aware of the hurdles that remain in moving forward. At any rate, food for thought. Buckle up.