DESPITE a recent statement from Ford’s European electric car boss stating that it “can’t push EVs into the market against demand”, the UK’s commercial vehicle division appears to be doing just that.

Speaking at a recent FT conference, Martin Sander said:

“We can’t push EVs into the market against demand. We’re not going to pay penalties, we are not going to sell EVs at huge losses just to buy compliance. The only alternative is to take our shipments of ICE vehicles to the UK down and sell these vehicles somewhere else.”

However, fleet industry sources have told Broker News that Ford is only offering terms to van fleets if these businesses agree to take a 10% mix of electric vans in their order; in effect pushing EVs into the market against the natural demand for fully electric vehicles (see What’s the problem with electric vans?).

Mandy Dean

Broker News put this to Ford Commercial Vehicle Director Mandy Dean (left) at the CV Show who refused to deny the point.

She said: “The Government via vehicle emission trading scheme makes it very clear that we need to hit certain mixes of EV sales as we move forward this year.

“So we have written to all of our customers to advise them firstly about the vehicle emission trading scheme because it has not been well communicated through Government channels. And so it falls on us therefore to explain it and to explain that if we are going to supply our customers that they have to be starting on their EV journey. 

“If all of our customers start with 10% and then 16% next year, then arguably that makes the transition easier for everybody holistically.”

Under the vehicle emission trading scheme, or VETS, the target vehicle manufacturers have to hit for electric vans is 10% in 2024, 16% in 2025 and 26% in 2026. 

However, OEMs can achieve a lower percentage if they reduce their CO2 output on existing ICE vehicles. Ford expects its percentage to be between 7-8% this year.

Data from transport research company NewAutomotive shows that Ford is currently significantly behind its ZEV target with around a 3% BEV mix. However, Dean believes the introduction of more EV vans will mean the target is achieved.

“We are just about to launch the E-Transit Custom, which electrifies the bestselling commercial vehicle in the UK. That will be starting to hit the roads from July and we also have the plug-in hybrid version there as well, which is very good on low CO2. So that’s an advantage for us. We obviously have E-Transit and we continue to do very well with E-Transit. We do not intend to pay any fines.”

Dean added: 

“We have got a huge amount of interest; that’s in terms of leads that we’ve already captured for E-Transit Custom and that is significantly from SMEs.

“Coupled with that, we’ve got the right charging solutions for customers as well. We have home charging, depot charging and the road Blue Oval charging network solutions which provides easy billing, easy recompense for charging your company the electricity that you might need to charge at home for an employee. We’ve got all of that software and all of those systems in place as part of the Ford Pro ecosystem.”

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