DEARBORN - @Ford Online had the opportunity to sit down with Mike Tinskey, global director, Vehicle Electrification Infrastructure, and discuss the employee electric vehicle charging network.
Q. Mike, can you share with employees a little about what you and your team do?
A. Our team focuses on clearing the way globally for our alternative fueled vehicles – including our plug-in products. Some of the areas we focus on are: partnerships with electric utilities, smart grid projects and getting the cost to recharge lower with time of use rates, and working to harmonize standards across the globe. We also work with telematics and analytics to improve our understanding of this developing market segment. Additionally, we also do all of the charge station installations for our customers and dealers – when a customer buys a vehicle we provide the solution to get the charge station in their garage.
Q. Can you share with us a little about the plan to install an electric vehicle charging network?
A. We’re excited to announce a geographically diverse employee charge network across the U.S. and Canada. The network will be available at more than 50 sites including corporate offices, product development campuses, manufacturing facilities and our marketing, sales and service sites. Employees will be able to charge their electrified vehicles – including the Ford Focus Electric, Ford C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid and Ford Fusion Energi plug-in hybrid – as well as save up to $2 in gasoline each day.
Q. What are some of the current electric vehicle habits?
A. Today’s data shows that C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi drivers make three out of their four daily trips in all-electric mode. However, customers are only charging their vehicle six days per week. With this infrastructure in place, we’re hoping employees will be able to charge their vehicles twice a day, increasing our electric mileage output, which is better for the environment because it lowers CO2.
Ford customers have driven 30 million all-electric miles and we’re really proud of that. And of those 30 million all-electric miles, 10 million have been generated by renewable sources – 10 million miles have been zero CO2 (vehicles powered by electricity produced by either renewables or nuclear).
Q. What is the impact electrified vehicles are having in the showroom?
A. We launched our first hybrid in 2004, the Escape Hybrid, and it took the industry eight years to reach 2 percent of the sales volume. That was in October 2011, by October 2012 electrified vehicles hit 4 percent of the sales volume. What took eight years to reach the first 2 percent, took 12 months to reach the second 2 percent.
And the sales continue to grow. In August we had our best-ever sales with 8,292 electrified vehicles sold, up 288 percent year over year. We’re really happy with sales figures, but additionally we are encouraged by the areas of the growth and the conquest rates – specifically coastal areas and conquest customers coming from Toyota.
Q. What impact are the employees who drive electrified vehicles going to make?
A. We really appreciate the employees being part of the process and helping us learn. They’re getting to charge their vehicles while at work, and we’re able to analyze that information to better understand the impact electric vehicle infrastructure can have and improve what we need to do going forward.
And that’s where employees can help. This network will prove the hypothesis that plug-in hybrids like the C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi coupled with the right infrastructure can enable all-electric driving during the workweek – and have a very powerful impact on the environment.
Q. What are hoping the outcome is?
A. What we’re hoping is a few things. One, the environmental impact of this program, it’s just the right thing to do. Two, we are hoping to learn how does a corporation provide charging to its employees – how do we do it, how do we get the most out of it, how do we get the most out of it for the employee. Three, how do we use what we learn to share with other corporations and finally, we hope this program allows more employees to become product ambassadors for the plug-in products and lifestyle.
I think all the lessons we are going to learn from this program are going to be valuable and we hope to share them as best we can.