Ford Ends Costly Dealer EV Certification Program

The program, which required dealers to invest hundreds of thousands to sell and service EVs, was axed due to slowing customer demand.


Ford announced June 13 it is ending its "EV-certified" dealership program, which required significant financial investments from dealers, in response to slower-than-anticipated growth in the electric vehicle market.

The Model E Dealership Program, launched in September 2022, required dealers to invest between $500,000 and $1.2 million to sell and service EVs. Initially, Ford had set a June 30 deadline for dealers to install Level 2 EV charging stations.

However, despite initial optimism and high demand for all-electric vehicles, sales have not met expectations. Ford's dealership investment requirements were relaxed last November, reducing the number of mandatory Level 2 chargers and removing a future obligation for Level 3 fast chargers by 2026. Then, more recently, the automaker said it was temporarily suspending the requirements as it recalibrated its strategy.

“The world has changed,” said Marin Gjaja, COO of Ford’s Model E electric vehicle business, during a media briefing June 13, according to CNBC. “The growth has slowed down.”

The Model E Dealership Program included about half of Ford’s 2,800 U.S. dealers but faced resistance and lawsuits from some participants due to the high investment requirements. In light of the changing market conditions and feedback from dealers, Ford decided to "sunset" the program.

Instead, Ford will now open EV sales and service opportunities to all of its dealers, aiming to boost sales of its all-electric cars and trucks. Dealers will still need to invest in charging infrastructure, training, and other EV-related expenses, but the required investments will be significantly lower than those mandated by the previous program.

“It allows us to open EV sales and service to more dealers,” Gjaja said. “We think it’s going to help us grow our sales.”

Gjaja noted the initial investment estimates for the program were high, with participating dealers investing about $600,000 on average. By reducing the financial burden on dealers, Ford hopes to make EV sales more accessible and increase overall market penetration.

Ford also delayed the launch of a new three-row all-electric SUV by two years and reduced training requirements for dealership employees.

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