Ford caves on EV dealer program following IL loss and will cut charger requirements


Following a loss in Illinois, Ford is easing some aspects of its EV dealer program. The changes involve reducing the number of required chargers and cutting training costs.

Ford alters EV dealer program following IL loss

Illinois’ state motor vehicle board handed Ford dealers in the state a victory after claiming Ford broke the law with its program’s requirements.

About 26 dealers in the state argued Ford’s EV program violated state franchise laws. In particular, the charging requirements.

After giving dealers the option to join them “on an epic journey of sustainable expansion” or wait until 2027, Ford is walking back some of the restrictions.

Ford said it was tweaking its EV dealer program “as we continue to adapt our overall EV strategy to the market and listen to dealer feedback.” It’s making several big changes.

According to Automotive News, Ford said “Certified Elite” dealers need to install three Level 2 (L2) chargers, compared to five previously. Dealers also don’t need to install a Level 3 by 2026.

Ford F-150 Lightning (Source: Ford)

Dealers in the lower “Certified” tier will need to install two L2 chargers, down from five. The deadline to install chargers for both tiers has been delayed by six months. They must now be installed by June 30, 2024.

Dealer training is also being cut by roughly half, or up to $20,000. The state board said Ford wrongly changed its distribution model.

Ford said it would appeal the decision in a statement. A spokesperson said, “Ford stands by its voluntary Model e EV program.” The program is designed to ensure that Ford and its dealers provide Illinois Ford EV customers with a segment-leading experience,” the spokesperson explained.

2023 Ford Mustang Mach-E (Source: Ford)

The victory in IL follows mixed results nationwide. A NY judge blocked Ford’s requirements at five dealerships until a lawsuit was resolved.

Meanwhile, a judge in South Dakota ruled the program does not violate the state’s franchise laws.

Ford’s CEO Jim Farley said around two-thirds of dealers joined the initial model e EV dealer program in December. However, not everyone has been happy with the transition.

Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup production at Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Dearborn, Michigan (Source: Ford)

In January, Ford said it would ease some restrictions, including public charging and the 25 EV per year selling cap on its lower tier. Lincoln is also modifying its program to add flexibility.

Ford’s recent changes allow dealers to opt out of or change tiers. According to the report, 53 dealers left the higher tier, while 24 joined the lower.

Electrek’s Take

The move comes after Ford said it was delaying several EV initiatives. Ford revealed over the summer it would delay its 600,000 run EV run rate goal until next year.

It also said it was cutting one of three shifts at its Rouge EV plant in Michigan, where the F-150 is built. More recently, Ford’s CFO John Lawler said last month the company has “taken out some Mustang Mach-E production.”

Lawler added, “We are also slowing down several investments, including making a decision with SK On to delay the second BlueOval SK JV battery plant in Kentucky.”

Ford is delaying around $12 billion in EV spending altogether. The latest changes to its dealer program are another step in the wrong direction for Ford.

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