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Ford Exec Says Infrastructure Biggest Barrier To EV Adoption

The age of electric vehicles has only just begun, and in a few short years, more EVs than ever will be plying American roads. Ford is betting big on battery electric vehicles, and recently maintained its late 2023 600,000 annual production run rate goal on the way to even higher production figures later on in the decade. As Ford Authority previously reported, Ford Mustang Mach-E owners have been highly satisfied with their vehicles so far, but in the move from early adopters to the general public, a prominent Ford exec thinks one big barrier remains before electric vehicles can become more popular.

“I would say that the infrastructure is the biggest thing that really has to be nailed for widespread adoption. Most people will charge their EV at home 90% of the time, but if they have a vehicle that they can’t go longer distances in, past 300 miles, it really becomes much more difficult to commit to one,” Doug Field, chief technology officer at Ford Model e, said at the 2022 Alliance Bernstein Electric Revolution Pit Stop Conference.

Public charging is an issue that has remained on the company’s radar since the automaker solidified its pivot away from internal combustion vehicles. Ford CEO Jim Farley stated earlier in 2022 that the company’s charging network, which relies on third-party companies, needs work. To compound that issue, numerous studies have found that the U.S. public charging network has significant reliability issues, an area of concern that the company is currently trying to tackle with its “charging angels” program. That said, Field also said the EV pricing won’t halt growth, which seems to indicate that the automaker thinks EV infrastructure is the biggest obstacle to a wide embrace of fully electric vehicles.

To help remedy the public charging situation, the Biden administration recently allocated funds to all 50 states and approved of their plans to develop their own charging networks. Additionally, the charging situation is important enough that the EV certification standards Ford presented its dealers mostly centers around costs associated with installing chargers at each franchise location, an expense that has some dealers pushing back.

We’ll have more on this issue soon, so subscribe to Ford Authority for comprehensive Ford news coverage.

Ed owns a 1986 Ford Taurus LX, and he routinely daydreams about buying another one, a fantasy that may someday become a reality.

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Comments

  1. Greggt

    I believe availability, range, and price are the biggest issues holding back EV’s not infrastructure.

    Reply
  2. OSC (Five Stars)

    I agree. I would add recharge time.

    Reply
    1. Greggt

      Excellent point!!

      Reply
  3. Tj

    As availability increases, prices will stabilize and range will increase (even if the range holds steady) these ALL go back to infrastructure!! You can have plenty of EV supply with competitive prices and ranges but if we cant charge…these things become mute points!

    Reply
    1. Sherry

      Also America is not Europe. We are MUCH bigger, a ton more roads to cover. We are a driving country that doesn’t lend itself to EVs at all. That’s why Democrats wanted a mileage tax.

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        Such nonsense. Blah blah blah “we real Americans are so exceptional, the dems are so bad they want to pay for roads with tax.” Please take your Grover Norquist nonsense somewhere else.

        Although the average American commute is longer than in Europe, there is no enormous difference in average use between Europe and the USA. Most people, in the USA, on a daily basis drive well under 100 miles.

        Sure the Europeans pay more in tax but on average their roads and infrastructure is worlds better than in the USA.

        If the US is the driving country you think it is, it should have long ago updated its roads and bridges, and, finally, that seems to be in the cards thanks to the Dem’s infrastructure investments my dear Grover.

        Reply
        1. Lukas

          Wrong. Our entire family is from Eastern Europe. Roads are garbage there, hope you like cobblestone and narrow passages. Not even a comparison.

          Reply
          1. RWFA

            Hardly wrong.

            Eastern Europe is some decades behind and improving.

            Eastern countries have the newest expressways in EU.

            After Ukraine returns to peace, after reconstruction, it will have the newest infrastructure in Europe.

            Reply
          2. Stu

            Lukas, you are likely correct about some Eastern European countries, especially ones once under Soviet rule. I just recently returned from 18 days in Western Europe and can say without a doubt, the roads and highways there and in Italy are just as good as any of the eastern USA states roads and highways and in California I have driven on from 1972 to 2020.

            Reply
      2. Stu

        Hi Sherry, like I said in another post here, Canada is larger and wider than the continental United States and you can drive an EV across it today.
        Tesla started ten years ago to prepare for their EVs to travel farther, now everyone else is moving slowly to catch up. The solution is simple, more money to build the infrastructure needed. Nothing changes until people change it. The USA spent billions to send men to the moon in 1969, surely the country can get some chargers built to have an EV drive from New York to Los Angeles!

        Reply
  4. Sam

    Also the grassroots Nationwide boycott of EVs. Fortunately we now have a Congress that won’t give them our hard earned tax dollars.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      LoL. Sam with the fake boycott, ever the silly joke maker.

      Reply
  5. Joe

    Waiting for the states to apply a mileage tax on EVs as they don’t pay gas taxes and if the country switches to EVs, the money for road repairs has to come from somewhere.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Nothing unreasonable about that. Roads don’t pay for themselves.

      Besides a separate mileage tax with an appropriately designed charger, the cost could be baked into the kWh charging rate.

      Reply
      1. Stu

        Hi RWFA, I said in past comments, road taxes collected from fuel sales can be easily collected via EV chargers too. That is fair and reasonable. What is also fair, is the investment now by hotel chains, entrepeneurs, big oil, automotive and utility companies to deploy more level 2 and fast DC chargers at retail outlets. It is being done in Canada and Europe by entities such as Flo, Petro Canada, Canadian Tire, IVY, BP (British Petroleum) and others. Canada is the second largest country in the world and you can drive an EV across it today. The USA has ten times our population and a lot more wealth. My view is that the folks controlling the big money need to be more onboard.

        Reply
        1. RWFA

          Full agree Stu.

          As we can see by the sock puppetry in the comments here selfishly spreading or mindlessly regurgitating FUD on behalf of Big Oil, and related incumbent interests, until such interests become invested in the EV value chain, they will fight and lie, tooth and nail, subtlety and with stealth and crudely with blather, to protect their cash cow at the expense of all else.

          Reply
    2. JDE

      More so because at the weight of EV’s lugging around those batteries is getting into big truck territory. that will just destroy the roads faster.

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        Big truck territory? Seriously?

        Do you think before you write such gobbledegook? Or do you have some incentive to?

        So, instead of more nonsense for the uninformed, let’s lay out some facts.

        Weights (lb) are approximate and vary by equipment but:
        – Escape: 3298-3870
        – Edge: 3959-4477
        – Mach-E: 4394-4890 (ca 40% heavier than Escape and 10% heavier than Edge across the range.)
        – F-150: 5069-5697
        – F-250: 5677-7538
        – Lightning: 6500 (ca 14% more than heaviest 150 or lightest 250.)
        – F-450: 7712-8580
        – F-650: ca 15,000

        Some historical weights:
        – 1973 Impala wagon: 4140 (which would have been even heavier if equipped with modern safety and comfort features.)
        – Crown Vic: 3932-4134
        – 1993 Econoline Club Wagon: 4917

        None of these even come close to the medium truck weight of the F-650, let alone being worlds away from the weight of a true heavy truck.

        Reply
  6. Steve

    EV prices are way too high for the average buyer. Too much trouble hunting for charging stations for anything except local trips. EV trucks have no range, if you tow a trailer or put something heavy in the bed and that is what trucks are for. In Florida in the summer running A/C on hot summer days kills their range again. EV’s are a great idea but impractical, maybe some day but not yet.

    Reply
    1. Stu

      Hi Steve, I am only assuming you have never driven a full EV much less owned one, but please correct me if I am wrong.
      To your points;
      1) what will the average buyer need to drive, car or truck?
      2) what does the average buyer pay now for their new ICE vehicle? The EV prices start around $40k US but do go higher depending on how fancy you want to get.
      3) The EVs I have researched and the one I own, have navigation systems that show EV charger locations just like the ICE vehicles show gas stations. Apart from that, any smart phone can have multiple EV charger Apps added that show their locations and facilitate charging and payment via the phone easier than using a credit card at a gas station.
      4) The F150 Lightning is no slouch to haul or tow the loads most owners need to move and can power a house for up to 3 days in an emergency as witnessed by the past ice storm in Texas and recent storm outages elsewhere.
      Finally,
      5) My Mach E has kept us comfortable for the last two very hot summers on all our trips, even the longest one of 1400 km (868 miles) with some impact on range, but hardly any more or even as much as the mileage impact on an ICE vehicle. By the way, that 868 mile trip cost me $85 in charging at public locations. That was for a 4000 pound car with 3 passengers and our luggage travelling between speeds of 50 to 75 miles per hour.

      Reply
      1. Joe

        I can do that same trip with my 2022 Maverick AWD for the same cost for fuel, gets almost 600 miles per tank and would have to stop once for the whole trip. Can drive 75 mph without worry about range and price was under 30k loaded up with the XLT lux package, even has the tow package.

        Reply
  7. Bill Howland

    Biggest barrier to EV adoption is the pitifully few evs made by American Manufacturers…..

    Ford is just trying to pass the buck…. How about the ridiculous $1 Million Ford insists dealers spend to sell the car….. Putting more roadblocks in the way all the time.

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      You’re talking nonsense my friend.

      If you ignore China, which is producing plenty of EV’s but isn’t exporting them (yet)…

      In the US, the top EV maker is a US maker, Tesla. It holds the top two spots. Then comes Ford.

      How are the dealer upgrades passing the buck? How is it a roadblock? If you want to rationalize the dealer base, have it consolidate, become fit, prepare for business under the sales and business model of the future, this is exactly what you should do.

      Reply
      1. Stu

        Hi again guys, I worked for the Ford dealer years ago that sold me my Mach E in 2021. They have one Level 2 charger that was not that expensive to install but they have no spare space at their location. The bigger challenge for dealerships is the land and extra power infrastructure they will need to up their game. This is where the big bucks are required that Ford talks about. Seems to me that collective investment through existing auto dealership member organizations for “charging plazas” in the automobile alleys they already have, is one option. Near me, there are two empty lots where used car dealers used to be before Covid hit. These are on the same street and within a mile of five new car dealerships. Lots of space and a good location. Come on dealers, think outside the box.

        Reply
        1. RWFA

          I think Ford’s plan is to utilize the dealers that support EV as additional charging points that can be monitored for security and a working charger.

          In this way it offers customers one more charge location option until charging points become ubiquitous in places like supermarkets, motels, restaurants (eventually these places will offer reduced rates like old time businesses offered parking validation to drive foot traffic.)

          The cost of infra upgrade and charger isn’t the biggest part of the fee, as I see it it will also be upgrades to the showroom and remainder of facility.

          By putting a 1M$ of skin in the Model e game, Ford can be confident such dealer will be pushing to learn how to sell this product and being committed to doing it.

          Reply
      2. JDE

        you are completely missing the point.

        Ford sells 2000 to 3000 lightings per month yet they still sell 50,000 or so F150 ICE motor trucks in the same month. That sir is pitifully few. Even the tesla turd sells at best 1% of overall cars sold in the US. in August only 1 percent of the 250 million cars, SUVs, and light-duty trucks on American roads are electric.

        Reply
        1. RWFA

          So what?

          The comparison is such a nonsense argument. 120 years ago similar could have been said of horses vs motor cars.

          Just as “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” the current state of transport technology and dealer distribution was built over the last 100 years and adapted to the boundary conditions of the time.

          Now the boundary conditions are changing in many ways and this calls for new technical solutions and organizational structures.

          But your best argument is now: “it’s just a trickle, the dam can’t breach because it never did before”?

          Same as it ever was, even in Rome’s day.

          Reply
    2. Michael

      If Ford is so insistent on Ford dealerships having EV chargers, then why don’t they pay for it? They should take the responsibility for trying to change the industry, by helping the industry, instead of forcing the dealers to pay outrageous costs ( I wonder how much money Ford is making off of this, since they have the type of chargers already picked to be installed ), and if they do not, close shop, which in the long run, means fewer chargers by fewer dealers, the ones that are left, being in high density areas, not in the country. Kind of self defeating.

      Reply
      1. RWFA

        See my answer to Stu above.

        Reply
  8. Chris Jacob

    I’m sorry the biggest barrier I see is that ford dealers want 30,000.00 over on msrp for evs you definitely don’t need to worry about infrastructure if people can’t afford one

    Reply
    1. RWFA

      Surely you don’t think this is more than a temporary problem.

      Reply
  9. RWFA

    X

    Reply
  10. David Alan Murray

    Toyota is a company with a lot of brains. With their new generation hybrid Prius it will continue to eat Ford’s, GM’s and Stellantis’s lunch. Hybrid is the way to go versus pure all electric. Fossil energy is a forever thing. Put your thinking caps on and do a reality check people.

    Reply

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