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Ford Software Helps Small Businesses Electrify Fleets

The automaker has rolled out Ford Pro Charging to make it easier to switch from internal combustion-powered commercial vehicles to electric ones that cut down on both emissions and costs.

Closeup of the Ford logo on the front grille of a vehicle.
(TNS) — Ford is launching charging software and hardware to help businesses switch their fleets to electric vehicles in coming years.

The automaker, which operates the Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch and the Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights, rolled out Ford Pro Charging to make it easier to switch from internal combustion-powered commercial vehicles to electric ones that cut down on emissions and costs.

“Customers are saying, ‘We want the E-Transit and F-150 Lightning Pro, but how are we going to charge and operate them efficiently once they’re in our fleet?’” said Ted Cannis, CEO of Ford Pro, which focuses on commercial customers.

Ford currently has 125,000 fleet customers across the United States, often small and medium-sized businesses. It expects annual sales of electric commercial trucks and vans will exceed 300,000 units by 2030.

The Dearborn-based automaker hopes to speed along the process with a software suite that helps businesses find charging spots at depots, public charging stations and employees’ homes. The software uses data from the vehicles to help businesses orchestrate when they should be charged, such as the best times based on energy rates.

The idea is to help Ford’s commercial customers switch over to electric as they update 10% to 15% of their fleet every year, going to electric versions of the Transit and F-150.

Ford Pro Charging aims to give business owners peace of mind about the transition, such as by providing solutions on how to design, install, operate and maintain charging stations at one’s business.

“Our current fleet of connected vehicles allow us to learn from existing fleet behaviors so we can build the right infrastructure and the right charge management software,” said Muffi Ghadiali, head of Ford Pro Charging. “Let’s say the customer fleet returns around 10 p.m. planning to go back out starting at 5 a.m. You have a limited window for charging and have to make charging decisions in a highly dynamic environment. Does every vehicle need to be fully charged? Can we balance charge power against the available charging window to take advantage of low overnight energy rates? Ford Pro Charging accounts for a multitude of variables and controls each charge station precisely to optimize energy costs and ensure vehicle uptime.”

More than 70,000 public charging ports have been installed across the country and the depot charging industry is expected to grow to about 900,000 full-sized trucks and vans across the United States by 2030.

© 2022 The Times (Munster, Ind.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.