Ford Pro CEO, Ted Cannis: Awaiting new EV legislation
Preparing for the transition to electric vehicles (EV) is on the mind of most North American fleet managers today and with new legislation under the US Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) just around the corner, the EV wave in the region will only get bigger in 2023.
This is according to several automobile industry executives, including Ted Cannis who is CEO of Ford Motor Company’s commercial arm Ford Pro.
More and more commercial customers nowadays have sustainability commitments, and they are seeking ways to fulfill their promises. As such, Ford Pro is helping businesses and government customers, both large and small, by electrifying their fleets. “Demand for our commercial EVs is through the roof,” Mr. Cannis told Global Fleet.
Overall, Ford is investing more than $50 billion in EVs globally through 2026, developing breakthrough models and bringing them to market at scale. According to the executive, the company is on track to producing an annual run rate of more than 2 million EVs globally by late 2026.
Demand for internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles remains, however. “On average, large commercial customers turnover 10-15% of their vehicles per year, so they will need to operate mixed fleets of gas and all-electric vehicles for many years to come,” says Mr. Cannis.
Remember that there is still a lot of confusion out there about what you can do with an EV. That’s why we sit down with customers to understand how the vehicle will be used before a contract is signed, and not after, says the executive.
Purchasing a truck or van is a critical business decision. As such, fleet managers need to make sure they have the right tool for the job, as well as the technology that helps them get on with their work. One of the most popular Ford Pro fleet vehicles in 2022 was the all-electric E-Transit.
2022 E-Transit (courtesy of Ford)
Eye on the Ford E-Transit USA
• America’s best-selling electric van (80% market share)
• 5,811 units sold January-November 2022 (full-year est. 6,000+)
• 250+ customers (including Walmart, Penske) + retail
• Three roof heights (58% low/medium height)
• 33% allocated to small fleets (<25 units)
And when it comes to the all-electric F-150 Lightning, if it is not the right tool for fleet operators owing to the distance, weight and aerodynamics of what needs to be towed, that is no problem, says the executive, explaining that Ford has the ICE version of its best-selling F-150.
Besides powertrain choice, one thing commercial customers need to focus on is finding the right body style and upfit, and this is not just for one model. A decision must be made about their vocation across multiple class 1-7 vehicle lines (Ford holding some 40% share in the US), and all under one fleet.
Nearly 500 qualified upfitters are strategically located near Ford plants and dealers in North America and Europe. (photo source: Ford)
As for Ford, our EVs can share the same upfits as their gas counterparts. This enables customers to carry over the specialty tools they’ve invested in and the processes they’ve worked hard to perfect, the executive says.
In terms of the new legislation under the IRA which is set to kick off on March 1, Mr. Cannis expects it to have a wide range of positive impacts for the EV industry, and of course for Ford and its customers.
“All three of our high-volume EVs qualify for the law’s commercial EV incentive, meaning that Ford Pro’s small business customers in the U.S. can get up to $7,500 in tax credits per vehicle.
Besides the Ford F-150 Lightning pickup, the Mustang Mach-E crossover SUV, and the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) Escape SUV are among those qualifying for this credit.
For more insight on developing fleet management strategies in North America and around the world, don't miss the 2023 Global Fleet Conference taking place May 15-17 in Lisbon Portugal. Register now.
top photo: Ted Cannis (handout)