Ford has lowered the requirements for dealers to participate in its voluntary electric vehicle certification program in response to 26 dealers’ claims stating that Ford’s EV dealer program breaches Illinois state franchise laws.
The announcement to dealers coincides with a retreat in EV plans by Ford and other automakers as the adoption curve flattens. For example, executives at BlueOval postponed $12 billion in planned EV spending after the company’s Model e EV and software business segment reported a $1.3 billion loss in the third quarter.
Ford stated that instead of five Level 2 (L2) chargers, “Certified Elite” dealers now just need to install three. Additionally, dealers are exempt from installing Level 3s by 2026. Instead of five, dealers in the lower “Certified” class will only need to install two L2 chargers. There is a six-month delay in the deadline for installing chargers for both tiers. The new deadline for installation is June 30, 2024.
Additionally, dealer investment requirements are being reduced by up to $20,000, or nearly 50%. According to the state board, the American automaker altered its distribution strategy improperly.
Furthermore, Ford has postponed opening one of its two joint venture battery plants that it is constructing in Kentucky with SK On, a South Korean manufacturer. It has also stopped working at a Marshall, west Michigan battery factory. Additionally, it lowered Mustang Mach-E SUV manufacturing in Mexico.
CEO Jim Farley stated in December last year that two-thirds of dealers had enrolled in the program for EV charging. However, the regulations have drawn several lawsuits from various retailers and associations with varying degrees of success nationwide.