When Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E, the company promised its new EV owners could access more than 12,000 places to charge, including many fast-charger locations. Today Ford announced that it’s enticing Mach-E buyers to give Electrify America stations a try by offering 250 kilowatt-hours of complimentary charging through the FordPass Rewards program.
Ford explains that 250 kWh’s worth of free “fill-ups” is the equivalent of three to five full DC fast chargers. In a media release, Ford said:
For Mustang Mach-E owners with the extended-range battery, the 250 kilowatt-hours of fast-charging energy is equal to more than three fill-ups. For standard-range battery models, the 250 kilowatt-hours of fast charging energy is equal to more than five fill-ups.
This is in addition to the two years of complimentary access Mustang Mach-E customers automatically receive to the recently expanded FordPass Charging Network for easy pay-as-you-go charging.
The fine print is Ford’s announcement about the 250 kWh of charging reads:
To qualify for complimentary charging offer, modem must be activated within 60 days of purchase through the FordPass app on a smartphone. Complimentary charging expires two years from date of activation.
Apparently, Ford really wants new Mach-E drivers to sign up for the FordPass account. We reached out to Ford to get clarification about the “modem” that needs to be activated. We did not get an immediate reply.
The number of stations in Ford’s promised charging system is now up to 13,500 locations.
The free kilowatt-hours and the sign-up to FordPass are not related to the home-charging equipment used by Mach-E drivers. Every all-electric Mach-E will come standard with a portable Ford Mobile Charger capable of charging on a higher-voltage 240-volt electrical outlet. The company also announced that it will sell its Ford Connected Charge Station wallbox, starting at a pricey $799.
Ford and Electrify America estimate that the extended-range version of the Mustang Mach-E can add an estimated 61 miles of range in approximately 10 minutes. Both all-wheel-drive and rear-wheel-drive versions are estimated to achieve a 10-80% charge in about 45 minutes.
Based on Electrify America’s general pricing structure, three charging sessions would cost just under $100.
Throughout its history, Tesla had offered free use of its Superchargers. In 2017 and 2018, new owners of the Model S and Model X received 400 free kilowatt-hours annually. That program was discontinued in late 2018.
The offer to Mach-E drivers for three to five free charging sessions, just for Electrify America stations, is a nice small perk. Maybe it will help Mach-E drivers get started using a quick charger.
Some readers might question the modest value of the offer. But we have more important questions about the marketing of the FordPass Charging Network as the “largest electric vehicle charging network in the country” and “easy pay-as-you-go” charging.
Based on what we know so far, Ford is not building a new network, but essentially federating other networks into the FordPass program. Seamless interoperable charging between networks has been elusive.
The cornerstone will be Electrify America, which is growing fast. Kudos to Ford and EA for the tie-up. Nonetheless, Electrify America still has gaps and is experiencing growing pains. And of course, it’s easy enough for EV drivers to join Electrify America without FordPass.
The question is what other networks will be including in FordPass. A Ford spokesperson told us today:
We announced that the FordPass Charging Network’s two main partners were Greenlots and Electrify America. Greenlots is managing the interoperability agreements between the remaining charging partners that make up the network. We haven’t announced all the participants quite yet but will do so in the near term before launch.
We applaud any steps to promote ease-of-use and interoperability for public charging. But it’s too early to know if Ford is overpromising on the scope of the FordPass network and easy operations. That will be determined when Mach-E drivers start taking road trips and reporting what they encounter.