Ford Dealers May Be Forced To Pay For 'Next-Generation' EV Certification

Yet another interesting development related to legacy automakers’ franchised dealership model and the future of EVs.

One major reason legacy automakers struggle to sell EVs is the archaic dealership model. However, some brands are working to solve the problem. Cadillac told dealers they’d have to pay a large fee ($200,000) to sell EVs. However, it didn’t make it mandatory. Instead, it also offered to pay dealers up to $500,000 if they don’t want to sell EVs. Let’s take a look at Ford’s potential future plans related to EVs and franchised dealerships.

A recent report by CarsDirect brings our attention to a letter Ford sent to dealers this week. It alerts franchised dealerships that they’ll have to invest $35,000 in order to get Ford’s “next-generation” EV certification. Interestingly, $35,000 doesn’t seem like a large fee to prep for the future, especially when compared to Cadillac’s $200,000 estimate.

Keep in mind, legacy automakers that actually want to promote EVs, sell EVs, charge EVs, service EVs, etc., will certainly have to invest, retool, add equipment, and the list goes on and on.

Currently, the only new fully electric vehicle Ford sells in the U.S. is the Mustang Mach-E. However, the automaker has plans to launch an all-electric Ford F-150 in the future. Since pickup trucks sell so well on our shores, and the F-150 is the best-selling truck and one of the best-selling vehicles ever, Ford needs to make sure its dealership network is well-prepared before the electric pickup truck – and many other future EVs – comes to market. The Escape PHEV, which has been temporarily delayed, will also come to market soon.

Ford brand recently announced that it is upping its investment in the segment with plans to go mostly all-electric by 2030.

Ford says if dealers don’t obtain the next-gen EV certification, it could be costly in the long run. These dealers won’t be allowed to take reservations or online orders for “current and future Ford EV products,” and they won’t be allowed to handle warranty service for the electric cars. In order to be eligible to begin selling EVs, Ford’s dealerships will have to install and demonstrate 240-volt fast-charging capability. Dealers must order the appropriate equipment by April 30.

It only makes sense that most Ford dealers would likely pay the small $35,000 fee. However, we’ll have to wait and see how this all plays out. Is the fee only for certification, meaning all related upgrades and equipment require additional investments? As legacy automakers continue to invest in EVs and announce an EV-only future, this can only happen with everyone, or at least most, on board.


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