April 3rd, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
Ford is doing a bit more to “walk the walk” when it comes to the electric car transition. Teaming up with GE — something it’s been doing since the founders of the two companies first partnered up — Ford will soon have electric car charging stations (which allow for faster charging than from a normal electricity outlet) at all of its facilities in the US and Canada. GE, which manufactures such charging stations, will be the provider.
“The announcement continues the innovative cooperation begun more than 100 years ago between Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, co-founder of GE,” Ford writes in a press release sent to Planetsave.
“This month, Ford will begin installing GE WattStation™ charging stations across its North American campuses, developing a workplace charging network at nearly every Ford facility in the United States and Canada.”
As far as I know, this will be the first major corporation to have electric car charging stations at all of its facilities. That’s more than 60 offices, product development campuses, and manufacturing facilities. Charging will be free for 4 hours each day for Ford employees. Here’s a bit more on the installation:
Ford is also asking employees to use the MyFord® Mobile smartphone app to collect driving and charging information to help the company understand driving patterns and potentially influence future product design. Ford estimates it will cost about 50 cents to fully charge each vehicle**.
Ford’s WattStation charging station installation differs from other workplace charging installations in that the units will be networked together. As a result, the company will be able to gather comprehensive information on electrified vehicle use, such as the number of hours vehicles are charging and the amount of carbon dioxide reduced. It can then use actual station data to plan for additional station installations.
“Ford’s commitment to sustainability extends beyond our fuel-efficient vehicles to include our daily workplace,” said Mike Tinskey, Ford director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. “We know that a growing electrified vehicle infrastructure is key to making plug-in vehicles a viable option for more consumers. Ford is committed to doing its part to help develop that infrastructure.”
Ford’s Electrified Vehicles
Ford currently offers three plug-in electrified vehicle models — the Ford C-Max Energi, Ford Fusion Energi, and Ford Focus Electric. The first two are plug-in hybrid electric cars. They can run on electricity for 21 miles, and then can also run on gas if needed. The Ford Focus Electric is a 100%-electric car that has a range of 76 miles and gets 105 MPGe. The two Energi models get 100 MPGe on battery and 43 MPG on gas.
Notably, 21 miles is more than enough for most trips. “Ford Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi drivers typically make three of their four daily trips in all-electric mode, based on data from Ford’s MyFord Mobile app,” Ford notes. “It is estimated Ford customers now have logged 65 million all-electric miles, increasing at a rate of 290,000 electric miles per day, by driving the full range of plug-in vehicles, saving more than 4 million kilograms of CO2.”
Of course, there are now over a dozen electrified cars on the US market, many more than just a few years ago, and sales have been booming. With that, EV charging stations have also been booming. “Throughout North America, the number of charging stations – both public and residential – is growing rapidly. In 2009, there were 3,000 known public charge stations. Today, there are more than 20,000.”
Some GE + Ford History
Notably, GE uses Ford C-Max Energi vehicles in its fleet. “Ford and GE are working with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology to study GE fleet driving and charging habits, with the goal of improving all-electric driving and charging performance.”
If you’re curious about the deeper history between GE and Ford, here’s more from Ford:
Henry Ford’s history of working with Thomas Edison dates back to the late 1800s, when Ford worked for the Edison Illuminating Company in Detroit. In 1892, Edison co-founded General Electric. In 1896, Ford attended a lecture given by Edison, which inspired him to discuss his ideas with the renowned scientist, thus beginning a strong friendship that endured for the rest of their lives.
Henry Ford had a strong interest in electric vehicles. He bought two for his wife, Clara, in 1908 and 1914, and installed a charging station in their garage. Several years after Ford Motor Company was founded in 1903, Ford and Edison began experimenting with their own electric vehicles using Edison batteries. The vehicles never went to market, but it marked the beginning of a relationship between the two men’s companies that stands strong today. Last fall, GE purchased 2,000 Ford C-MAX Energi vehicles, supporting its goal of converting half of its fleet to alternative energy vehicles. Today’s charging station announcement further proves the companies’ commitment to the growth of the electrified vehicle market.
Here’s a Google Hangout about the new partnership if you want to learn more:
** MyFord Mobile is complimentary for five years from the vehicle sale date as recorded by the dealer. Subscriptions fees apply after five years. MyFord Mobile requires a compatible 2G independent cellular network. Evolving technology and cellular networks may affect future availability and functionality.
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