Ford Cuts Dealer EV Requirements Again

Ford-EV-dealership-requirements-reduced

The voluntary Model e EV Program has been opposed by most state dealer associations since it was unveiled in September 2022.

The move comes just as the automaker has lost a legal battle to Ford dealers in Illinois, where the state motor vehicle board ruled the automaker broke the law by requiring its dealers to invest hefty sums if they want to continue selling EVs.

The company said its decision to cut training costs by half and reduce the number of chargers that retailers are required to install at their premises is not related to the Illinois ruling.

"We made changes to the voluntary Model e EV Program as we continue to adapt our overall EV strategy to the market. We also continue to listen to dealer feedback. These changes are not a result of the Illinois outcome," Ford spokesperson Marty Günsberg told InsideEVs, adding Ford made the latest changes to adjust to market demand. 

As part of the new requirements, Ford's upper-tier "Certified Elite" dealers now have to install three Level 2 chargers instead of five, while the lower-tier "Certified" dealers are now required to install two Level 2 chargers instead of five. Furthermore, the additional Level 3 fast-charger for 2026 for Certified Elite dealers has been removed altogether.

For both tiers, Ford also pushed back the deadline to have the chargers in place by six months to June 30, 2024, because of charger supply chain and infrastructure delays. In addition, Ford said it is cutting the cost of dealer training by up to $20,000---about half---for the 2024 calendar year.

Charging requirements was a key point of contention in the Illinois case. Twenty-six dealers argued Ford's program violated state franchise laws, adding the more expensive Level 3 chargers were unnecessary.

Ford said it would appeal the decision. "Ford stands by its voluntary Model e EV program," the company said in a statement. "It is designed to make sure that Ford and its dealers provide Illinois Ford EV customers with a segment-leading experience throughout their purchase, service and ownership journey.”

The Illinois dispute is just one of several battles Ford is carrying out nationwide over its EV program. The program has been opposed by most state dealer associations since it was unveiled in September 2022. Initially, about 60% of Ford and Lincoln dealers opted in---approximately 1,920 of the company's nearly 3,000 U.S. dealers.

In January, Ford made some concessions to dealers, including scaling back the amount of charging a dealer would be required to offer public charging every day and removing a cap that limited lower-tier dealers to selling a maximum of 25 EVs per year.

After the changes, Ford gave dealers the option to drop out of the program or change tiers. The automaker's total enrollment fell 1.5% to 1,891 of its dealers.

Since then, EV enrollment has fallen to approximately 1,550 dealers, or about 53% of the total network, Ford said Nov. 20, according to Automotive News. Still, due to the size of Ford's network, the company claims 86% of the population lives within 20 miles of a Ford dealership capable of selling and servicing a Ford EV.

We thank InsideEVs for reprint permission.

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