The future is electric, and Ford is looking to bring its extensive dealer network to this journey. A recent auto dealer meeting in Las Vegas outlined dealer plans to become certified in EV sales, with the goal of becoming more EV-friendly to buyers with charging capabilities, transparent pricing, and extensive sales training. But it required a hefty investment on the dealer’s side, and a decision had to be made immediately.
At this point, you probably have two questions in mind: How much, and for how long? Our partners in InsideEVs attended the event and learned all the details, including a presentation by Ford CEO Jim Farley on how the company and its network of nearly 3,000 dealers can grow for EV sales.
At a minimum, Ford expects a $500,000 investment from dealers to upgrade the facility, but that could grow to $1.5 million for a location that chooses the highest possible EV certification. This is a big number, and dealers only have until October 31 to make a decision. However, there is a bit more to it than that.
For starters, dealers are not required to have an EV certification. They can be soldiers as they are, but starting January 1, 2024, they won’t be able to sell Ford electric vehicles like the Mustang Mach-E. Also, the October 31 deadline is not a one-and-done deal. Should dealers decide later to invest in EVs, another window will open in 2025 with eligibility for EV sales starting in 2027. In theory, Ford will have more EVs in its portfolio by then, which could convince more locations to certify versus making invest now. Of course, investment costs are likely to increase over time.
Dealers who choose EV investments will now have two certification options: Model E Certified, or Model E Elite Certified. As you might have guessed, going elite is the most expensive option, requiring the dealer to install at least two DC fast chargers and one level 2 charger. In addition, at least one DC fast charger must be available for general use. A Model E Certified Dealer requires only one DC fast charger, also publicly available. But at this level, there will be a limit to how many EV dealers can sell.
Infrastructure upgrades should make up the bulk of the cost, but training and building transparent online sales through dealers is also part of the plan. The whole thing is designed to help Ford become more cost-competitive with Tesla, something Farley mentioned during a dealer event.
“We have studied Tesla closely, especially with how their brand is being improved with units and operations in Norway,” Farley said. “And what we’re paying attention to is they have nearly 1,200 employees now, and they have a lot of facilities like dealerships. And we think that’s the direction they’re going in as they scale up their operations in the United States.”
For more details on Ford’s EV sales plan, see full report on InsideEVs.