It's a big decision that will cost each dealer as much as $1.2 million.
As the automotive industry keeps pushing to make the switch to electric vehicles, dealerships are facing new challenges. To support the sale and maintenance of EVs requires new infrastructure for these dealers, and many automakers are giving their resellers a choice: either make the switch to electric vehicles or lose out on selling the brand. Lincoln is one of those, but its parent company, Ford, is a little easier to work with. While Lincoln appears to be focusing on producing electric vehicles in the future, Ford will stick with some gas offerings.
Moreover, Ford is giving its dealers more time to decide on whether they want to invest in an electric future, moving its original deadline from October 31 to December 2.
Dealers that wish to sell Ford EVs like the F-150 Lightning will surely value that additional time, as the decision is a big one. Two tiers of certification will be rolled out by Ford: Model e Certified Elite and Model e Certified. The Elite business model requires dealers to make an initial investment of $900,000, most of which would be spent on the installation of two DC fast chargers, one of which must be "public-facing" (clearly visible to customers). By 2026, a third fast charger must be installed, requiring another $300,000 of expenditure. The benefit to these Elite dealers is that they will receive demo vehicles and carry limited stock.
Those who cannot justify the Elite program's cost can choose to spend $500,000, which will go towards one public-facing fast charger. However, these dealers won't receive any inventory or demo models, which obviously makes things more difficult. Ford isn't forcing any dealers to make the switch, but as more and more electric products are revealed, the incentive becomes clear.
"We value our relationship with our dealers and have decided to provide additional time for our dealers who haven't decided or asked for more time," said company spokesperson Marty Gunsberg in a statement to Automotive News.
The new deadline from the Blue Oval is closer to the deadline for dealers to decide on selling Lincoln EVs (December 15), but dealerships who wish to sell both Lincoln and Ford EVs will have to invest in programs for both brands. While we suspect most dealers will make the switch, less successful dealers in more rural areas likely won't, which makes us wonder how feasible an all-electric future can be.