The announcement continues the innovative cooperation begun more than 100 years ago between Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, co-founder of GE.
With the new charging network, Ford employees commuting to their jobs from up to 21 miles away in plug-in hybrid vehicles – Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi – may be able to drive entirely on electric power to and from work. Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi have an EPA-estimated MPG ratings 44 city, 41 highway and 43 combined and have an EPA-estimated range of 21 miles electric. Drivers of the electric-only Focus Electric, which has an EPA-estimated range of 76 miles on a full charge, will have even more gas-free commuting potential.
Ford plans to install GE WattStation charging stations at more than 60 of its offices, product development campuses and manufacturing facilities. Installation will begin at Ford’s southeast Michigan facilities and roll out across other facilities throughout 2014.
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.
The Ford charging service will be free to employees for the first four hours of charging each day. By offering free charging, Ford is trying to encourage charging station sharing, enabling twice as many employees to charge at work for free.
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.
GE was the first major company to add C-MAX Energi vehicles to 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. Ford’s MyFord Mobile app provides drivers with real-time battery charge status and a value charging option that automatically schedules charging at lower-cost, off-peak electricity rates (based on your local utility’s participation).
65 million electric miles
Ford offers six electrified vehicles, including Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids, and C-MAX and Fusion hybrid vehicles.
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. 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.
By adding another charge opportunity during the day at the workplace, it might be possible for employees to be able to accomplish all of their workweek trips without using gasoline.