Fleet electrification involves a comprehensive plan that starts well before a vehicle is bought. It involves planning and installing charge points in depots and homes, accessing public infrastructure, assessing duty cycles and drivers’ personal situations for the right match to make the switch, managing utilities for increased energy needs, setting up software management systems, and analyzing the right metrics to minimize costs.
With this in mind, Ford Pro, a separate business within Ford, announced Ford Pro Charging on Dec. 16 to provide fleet and commercial customers services to implement electric vehicle charging.
“Ford Pro Charging is an industry-first solution that is focused on helping our customers plan for, operate, and deploy charging solutions so they can reduce operating costs and improve efficiency,” said Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro, in a statement.
“In a connected software-oriented world, [fleets] need integrated digital customer experiences,” Cannis added during a press event. “And that's what we're putting together for their entire business, internal combustion and battery electric, the smallest businesses to the very largest enterprise customers.”
Ford Pro Charging customers can access services during the early stages of their EV implementations to identify incentives and consult on the design and construction of charging sites. Ford Pro Charging will provide software and commercial hardware infrastructure to support charging and energy management.
Customers will have access to over 70,000 public charging ports, including more than 7,300 DC fast charging ports on the Blue Oval Charging Network.
Ford Pro Charging will also collaborate with local utilities on energy and infrastructure needs and help manage installation of commercial-grade charging hardware.
For fleet drivers needing to charge overnight at home, Ford Pro offers home charger installation and software capabilities for tracking and reporting driver reimbursement.
“There’s one fundamental truth, which is EVs and charging cannot be separated…because fueling and transportation have always been tied together,” Muffi Ghadiali, head of Ford Pro Charging, said during the press event. “And that's the approach that we’ve taken as well, is to not think of the charging stations or EV infrastructure as an afterthought, but alongside the vehicles, and most of the time, even before the vehicles are deployed.”
Once charging is in place, customers can access Ford Pro Charging software that uses fleet vehicles’ duty cycles to orchestrate charging management and determine optimal charging times. The software connects with Ford vehicles to predict and manage the operational needs of electrified fleets.
Ford Pro Charging says its open-standards approach is designed to interoperate with electric vehicles from a multitude of OEMs and vehicle classes, including forklifts and heavy-duty trucks.
“Our current fleet of connected vehicles allow us to learn from existing fleet behaviors so we can build the right infrastructure and the right charge management software,” Ghadiali said in the statement.
Ford Pro Charging uses open standards to be able to integrate with electric vehicles from other OEMs and other vehicle classes and types.
Ford Pro Charging’s software enables remote monitoring and management and can relay charge rate, optimal charge times, and service alerts. The software will work for both ICE vehicle and EV fleet management. Ford Pro Charging also works with Ford Pro E-Telematics for battery pre-conditioning to maximize range and battery performance.
Ghadiali explained that fleet operators running vehicles with limited dwell times must make daily decisions on which vehicles need to be charged and how to take advantage of low overnight energy rates. “Ford Pro Charging accounts for a multitude of variables and controls each charge station precisely to optimize energy costs and ensure vehicle uptime,” he said.
Ford Pro expects the depot charging industry to grow to nearly 900,000 full-size trucks and vans by 2030.