Ford fleet charging deal lays OEM-utility collaboration foundation

The firm’s commercial vehicle arm to provide charging hardware and aftercare via partnership

Ford fleet charging deal lays OEM-utility collaboration foundation
Ford Pro software delivers substantial telemetric data

US auto manufacturer Ford’s Pro division has partnered with US utility Xcel Energy to provide 30,000 charging ports to Xcel business customers by 2030, in what the companies call a “novel approach [which] provides energy and utility companies a template for future collaboration”.

The scheme is known as the 30x30 programme and will form part of Xcel’s broader Electric Vehicle Supply Infrastructure (Evsi) initiative.

“Through the programme, most upfront costs for EV charging equipment and installation for businesses will be offset by Xcel Energy. Ford Pro will offer its suite of end-to-end charging solutions to Xcel Energy business customers as part of the effort,” the companies say.

Under the agreement, Xcel will install charging infrastructure provided by Ford Pro’s charging division for its business customers which qualify for its pre-existing EVSI programme. Evsi-eligible customers include workplaces with capacity for at least four charging ports, multi-family properties, and small businesses with capacity for a maximum of three ports. Ford will then provide Ford Pro Charging equipment and post-installation customer service and support.

Ford Pro currently offers 180kW and 240kW DC fast chargers, as well as Level 2 AC chargers which are viable as overnight or depot charging solutions.

“Ford Pro and Xcel Energy also intend to analyse telematics data from vehicles participating in the initiative to promote commercial charging during off-peak times, helping reduce electric grid emissions and potentially saving customers money,” the companies say.

Starting in 2024, 30x30 will be available through Xcel's Evsi programme in Colorado and Wisconsin, before expanding over the next six years to states including Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas.

‘First of its kind’

Xcel hails the agreement as a “first-of-its-kind clean collaboration”. “We know electrification can be complex for businesses,” says Ford Pro COO Ted Cannis, adding that easing along fleet operators’ transition to EVs “may require new ways of working to encourage and support adoption”.

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Ford executives have increasingly spoken of the Pro fleet division as a key revenue stream which stands to capitalise through a range of hardware and software beyond just vehicles in an increasingly addressable commercial EV market — at a time when the company is struggling to make its own EVs profitably. Ford Pro’s telematics products, for example, allow fleet operators to monitor idling vehicles, precondition batteries for range preservation, and schedule charging for designated times.

“Our momentum around software and services is building fast. Ford Pro Intelligence builds on Ford’s industry-leading share in the [ICE] commercial vehicle space by making the people who drive our vehicles even more productive and by reducing total cost of ownership,” said Peter Stern, president of Ford Integrated Services, on the company’s Q3 results call.

“Adoption of vehicle telematics, fleet management, and charging optimisation were up [by] 20pc sequentially in the third quarter, and our average revenue per subscription was up [by] nearly 10pc over the past six months, both contributing to strong revenue growth,” he continued.

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