Ford’s Electric Car Revolution Starts With Its Employees

2013_ford_focus-electric

Ford Motor Co. (NYSE:F) is installing electric vehicle charging stations at more than 50 of its plants and offices in the U.S. and Canada in order to make it easier for employees to more easily take advantage of the technology, Reuters reports.

Installation of the chargers will begin in November and continue being built through 2014. Ford employees will have access to four hours’ worth of free charging, enough time to fully charge the battery on any Ford electric car. Ford’s electric car options include the all-electric Ford Focus Electric and hybrids with optional plug-ins like the Ford Fusion Energi and Ford C-Max Energi.

Mike Tinskey, Ford’s global director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure, said in a telephone interview with Reuters, ”We’re trying to be on the leading edge of a trend to offer employees the ability to have a second charge so they would charge at night (at home) and then charge at work.” He also said Ford currently has no plans to install charging stations in public places.

While consumers have been slow to embrace electric cars due to their high cost and concerns about charging, electric car sales skyrocketed 147 percent year-over-year in August, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Automakers are expected to continue pushing the technology to help meet fuel-efficiency requirements. Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S and Nissan’s (NSANY.PK) Leaf helped drive electric car sales, which reached a record 11,392 last month.

Ford itself is facing some headaches with its Focus Electric car. Reuters reported last week that the vehicle is under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after the agency received 12 complaints from drivers about the vehicle shutting down while driving. Half of the complaints involved the car shutting down while driving at speeds over 30 miles per hour, but no accidents or injuries were reported.

Recalls and investigations involving electric cars will continue to leave consumers feeling uneasy about investing in the new technology. But as automakers continue to perfect the electric vehicle and more charging stations are built, especially at workplaces, the technology may become more viable for the average consumer. Meanwhile, Ford will face some hefty competition in the arena from Tesla, Nissan, and General Motors’s (NYSE:GM) Chevrolet Volt and Spark EV.

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