Ford Makes Changes to EV Dealer Program in Response to Legal Challenges

Ford is making significant adjustments to its electric vehicle (EV) certification program for dealers in the wake of legal challenges and a recent loss in Illinois. The company is cutting dealer training costs by half, reducing the number of required chargers, and extending the deadline for installation due to supply chain shortages.

Following a ruling by the state motor vehicle board in Illinois, which deemed Ford’s previous requirements unlawful, the automaker is redefining its strategy. In response to dealer feedback, Ford is now streamlining the certification process, aiming to strike a balance between market demands and regulatory compliance.

One of the most notable changes involves EV chargers. “Certified Elite” dealers, predominantly located in larger markets, will now be required to install three Level 2 chargers instead of the initial five, with the removal of the Level 3 charger requirement by 2026. Dealers on the lower-priced “Certified” tier will need to install two Level 2 chargers instead of five. The deadline for charger installation for both tiers has been extended by six months to June 30, 2024, attributing the delay to supply chain challenges. (via Automotive News)

Ford is also addressing the financial burden on dealers by slashing the cost of training by up to $20,000 for the 2024 calendar year. This move comes as part of Ford’s commitment to making the EV program more accessible to its dealer network.

The changes in the EV program were prompted by a legal dispute in Illinois, where 26 dealers argued that Ford’s program violated state franchise laws. The Illinois motor vehicle board upheld their claims, stating that Ford wrongly implemented changes to allocation and distribution models.

Ford, while expressing its commitment to its voluntary Model e EV program, plans to appeal the Illinois decision.

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