Ford Motor Co. has entered into an unusual partnership with winemakers in California. The collaboration was revealed in conjunction with research that shows what businesses need to feel comfortable to go electric.
A survey of U.S. fleet purchasing decision-makers reveals nearly three-quarters of these commercial customers -- from small businesses to large fleets -- feel pressure to adopt electric vehicles.
However, 60% of commercial businesses surveyed who say they are eager to adopt EVs also perceive the process to transition a “headache.” The survey also reveals more than 50% of commercial customers see infrastructure setup as a top concern in transitioning to electric.
The Ford Pro and Sonoma County Winegrowers pilot program is designed to create a blueprint for how industries and companies can best adopt and manage battery electric vehicles in sustainable fleet operations.
The program includes integrating Ford Pro Telematics into farmers’ existing gas fleets. Telematics systems improve efficiency and productivity by helping reduce vehicle downtime through complete visibility into maintenance needs. The system is designed to work on Ford and non-Ford vehicles alike to ensure customers can leverage the benefits of the software across their entire fleet.
Ford Pro Charging helps businesses potentially reduce operating costs by optimizing the best time to charge vehicles, in addition to offering consulting services to help businesses plan, install and maintain charging services based upon their unique needs.
“We have over 50 vehicles on Ford Pro Telematics and have already identified insights that are improving our bottom line -- like long idle times costing us an estimated $24,000 per year in wasted gas,” said Marissa Ledbetter of Vino Farms in Sonoma County.
Already in these early weeks, the pilot program has sparked interest from ranches around Sonoma County exploring ways to operate more efficiently. As a result, Sonoma County Winegrowers has offered Ford Pro Telematics to all 1,800 members for one year as farmers look for ways to improve efficiency, even in fleets of gas-powered vehicles.