Two thirds of Ford dealers are joining the Model e program – but the other third won’t sell any EVs until 2027

Following Ford’s National Dealer Meeting in September, every dealership (almost 3,000 total) had the option to enroll in the company’s new Model e business. The program allows Ford dealers to invest in the future and become part of the automaker’s “revolutionary” electric vehicle transformation.

Ford’s CEO, Jim Farley, announced Monday during an Automotive News World Congress interview how many dealers have enrolled in the initial Model e Program for the 2024-2026 period.

Throughout its nearly 120-year history, Ford has watched the auto industry progress through several major transformations to keep up with the demands of modern society.

Ford has remained one of the top automakers throughout its time by listening to its customers and strategically adjusting. After announcing the Ford + plan to drive growth and accelerate the EV rollout, Farley proclaimed it was a huge opportunity, calling it:

Biggest opportunity for growth and value creation since Henry Ford started to scale the Model T, and we’re grabbing it with both hands.

In March, the company expanded its growth strategy, creating three distinct business units: Model e, Ford Blue, and Ford Pro.

  • Model e: to accelerate innovation and breakthrough of electric vehicles at scale.
  • Ford Blue: will build out the company’s ICE vehicles portfolio, using the cash flow to expand its EV unit.
  • Ford Pro: the company’s business and software solutions.

Ford Executive Chair Bill Ford explained in March, “This isn’t the first time Ford has reimagined the future and taken our own path,” as the company embarks on its electrifying journey.

However, to compete with current leader Tesla, Ford has recognized it needs to streamline the customer experience. Although Tesla sells directly to the consumer, cutting out the middleman costs, Ford says, “We’re betting on the dealers. We’re not going direct. But we need to specialize.”

Ford’s Model e dealer electric vehicle program

Farley said the company needed to lower costs, increase profitability and deliver a superior customer experience in order to compete.

Ford asked its dealership network to “join us on an epic journey of sustainable expansion and customer excellence,” giving them the option to opt-in to its new Model e business.

Under the program, Ford dealers can choose from one of two tiers to become “EV certified.” The lower tier requires a 500K initial investment and includes:

  • Repair and maintenance
  • One public DC fast charger
  • No EVs to show (BTO only)
  • No presence on Ford.com.

The “certified elite” includes two public DC fast chargers, demo units, rapid replenishment, and a presence on Ford.com but will cost around $1 million to $1.2 million.

Monday, Farley announced 1,920 Ford dealers enrolled in the initial voluntary Model e program for 2024 to 2026. Of those:

  • 1,659 chose the Certified Elite tier.
  • 261 selected the Certified tier.

Ford says dealers that chose not to participate will have another opportunity to elect to participate in the electric vehicle program in 2025 which would then allow them to sell EVs in 2027.

Electrek’s Take

Top comment by Murphy

Liked by 7 people

I wonder how many of the dealerships that chose not to sign on were part of a multi-dealership chain where one of the dealerships went “certified elite” and the others held back. This would maximize the return on investment for the “certified elite” dealership and build a market for the others to join into later.

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That’s over 1000 or 1/3rd of all US Ford Dealers that won’t sell EVs until at least 2027 which initially seems staggering.

But on the other hand, with 96% of automotive customers living within 20 miles of a Ford dealership, the program is smart on the automaker’s part to streamline its EV rollout.

Ford is currently the number two EV maker in the US behind Tesla, but to surpass the EV pioneer, it will take getting everyone on board, starting with the dealerships. Perhaps, more importantly, with 1,659 dealerships receiving two DC fast chargers available on the Blue Oval Charge Network (BOCN) and another 261 receiving one, Ford will very quickly have one of the largest EV charging networks in the US. There will be more locations that Tesla Supercharger locations, though fewer charge points. Many of those will be in high density environments and Ford says they will be open to the public.

Ford’s Blue Oval Charging Network (BOCN) confederacy currently has over 4,000 DC fast charging locations from a number of players including Electrify America, ChargePoint and others. As dealers roll out their new chargers, it will continue adding to the count toward 6000 spots.

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Avatar for Peter Johnson Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson is covering the auto industry’s step-by-step transformation to electric vehicles. He is an experienced investor, financial writer, and EV enthusiast. His enthusiasm for electric vehicles, primarily Tesla, is a significant reason he pursued a career in investments. If he isn’t telling you about his latest 10K findings, you can find him enjoying the outdoors or exercising