Ford today is calling for action in ‘Go Electric’ plan with policymakers, energy providers, local authorities, consumers and the auto industry to join forces. They want a nationwide electrification strategy that will set the country on the right trajectory for 2030.
Famously the UK Government set a target of 2030 to stop sales of any petrol/Diesel engines and is investing in grants to support consumers to buy EV’s and help with the cost of installation of EV charging units.
Since February, Ford has announced significant investments across Europe as it goes all-in on electrification, committing its entire passenger vehicle range being all-electric by 2030, and to the majority of its commercial vehicles sales being all-electric or plug-in hybrid in the same timeframe.
But the company says that individual actions are not enough and that a coordinated effort is needed to help consumers move to an electrified future.
“At Ford, we’re putting our plan into action. In the UK, the electrification transition is underway, but we will not achieve the government’s 2030 target organically. We need a plan, supporting the rollout of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, in operation ahead of November’s critical COP26 climate summit,”Stuart Rowley, president, Ford of Europe, who will speak today at the FT Live: Future of the Car summit.
“The scale of the challenge requires a partnership between all the key stakeholders – government, auto industry, energy providers, local authorities and consumers – and focusing on accelerating the development of the charging infrastructure at home, in the workplace and in public locations. It also should encourage consumers to purchase all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles through stronger incentives.”
Ford’s announcement comes as the first in its series of quarterly consumer sentiment reports, Go Electric, which they say reveals widespread lack of awareness and hesitancy towards electrified vehicles and their ecosystems among much of the UK population. Whilst we applaud the efforts of Ford to highlight the issues, some of the infrastructure challenges particularly in built-up areas for safe and more easy installations are required for EV charging, the motor industry is reporting the last few months of high growth.
In a recent meeting with a north west dealership, 60% of sales are from hybrid or electric cars. Volvo and others have been reporting first quarter growth higher than previous records of EV’s and hybrid’s. The Ford Survey took a sample of 2000 people. This is some investment to do and whilst they’re not wrong to push policy makers, to assume the entire country is hesitant is too strong a sentiment based on what we’re seeing on the ground.
While the report shows appetite for electric vehicles is increasing – 28 percent of respondents said they plan to buy an electric vehicle within the next five years – a substantial proportion of drivers still have reservations. More than one in five say they have no intention of buying an electric vehicle, while a further fifth said they would not buy an electric vehicle until they have no other option.
Ford’s research also suggests that consumer acceptance is a key obstacle to overcome, with the Go Electric report pointing to an apparent lack of information around EV technology. A majority of drivers – 61 percent – surveyed for the report said they did not feel they have enough information to make an informed decision on purchasing an electric vehicle.
We have found that there is also a great deal of miss-or-no information on chargers. Many consumers are just buying online without knowing the needs for installation and safe earthing of their charger. This clearly is where we and other EV charger installers come in although more good information is needed.
When asked how confident they were about electric vehicle technology, more than half said they did not know the difference between electrified vehicle types, while four out of five said they would not be comfortable explaining electric vehicles to a friend.
In a bid to overcome some of these concerns about the switch to electrification, Ford’s Go Electric consumer information experience will resume its roadshow across the country having been postponed last year due to COVID-19, and aims to reach at least five million people in the coming months. Additionally, the company is planning to create other dedicated digital resources for consumers to have their electric vehicle questions and concerns addressed.
As part of the new Go Electric report, Ford has also outlined the following four key action points that the UK needs to address:
We are also doing what we can to help educate and provide a full service to our customers. Working in partnership with key stakeholders in the north-west, we’re working to complete site survey’s prior to purchasing a charger helping to ensure the right one is selected and the right information is provided. If you’ve got an EV on order, new or second hand, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.
The full Go Electric report can be viewed here.