For some time now, Ford CEO Jim Farley has been calling for a shift toward fixed pricing and online sales, which didn’t go over terribly well with Ford dealers. However, shortly after the automaker announced plans to split itself into two entities – Model e for EVs and Ford Blue for ICE vehicles – details of a new plan for Ford dealers emerged with strict standards for those that choose to become EV certified in one of two Model e tiers – choices that also involve big-time investments from those same dealers.
The entry-level tier – Model e Certified – requires an upfront investment of $500,000 from interested dealers, though roughly 90 percent of that sum will go toward the installation of fast chargers at dealerships. Model e certified Ford dealers will have the ability to service and repair EVs, as well as receive at least one public DC fast charger on the Blue Oval Charging Network, but will not have any physical inventory to sell (though each will have loaners for customers), nor an EV presence on Ford.com, while they’ll also be limited to selling just 25 EVs per year.
On the flip side, the higher tier – Model e Certified Elite – requires an estimated investment of between $1 and $1.2 million, with $900,000 of that needed upfront. Once again, most of that money will go toward charging infrastructure, though there are far fewer limitations for Model e Certified Elite dealers, including the number of EVs they sell and their presence on Ford.com. Elite dealers will also have physical inventory, two public DC fast chargers, access to rapid replenishment, and repair and maintenance capabilities.
Ford dealers have until October 31st to decide to opt in for one of the two Model e tiers, and until the end of the year to shell out the investments required to do so before the program takes effect in 2024. However, Ford dealers that choose to wait will get another shot at EV certification in 2027, while Lincoln dealers will be getting their own unique set of guidelines, with details set to be released in the coming weeks.