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Few things are more inconvenient than technology that fails when it’s most needed.
Many faulty electric vehicle (EV) chargers have been going unnoticed until someone drives up to charge their vehicle only to discover that the charger isn't working. Thankfully, Ford is working on a project to help monitor EV chargers and report ones that aren’t working, according to Autoblog.
Ford's Charge Angels to the rescue
Ford has been collaborating with third parties to create a wide net of chargers, with a goal of placing around 63,000 across the country.
The issue with these chargers is that, currently, they’re not monitored efficiently and not repaired quickly when needed. Ford hopes to change this by commissioning its own fleet of EVs to monitor and tag any defective chargers.
Specially equipped Mach-Es will be on the road, testing charge points and reporting bad chargers to the public and to the company that owns them. This might help prevent issues like what the Volkswagen CEO encountered during their recent EV trip from Italy to Austria. Their charging network, made with partner Ionity, had some trouble supporting them along the way.
Why did Ford decide to create the Charge Angels?
Having better quality control on their chargers could help Ford sell more EVs. American car buyers are still concerned about the lack of EV infrastructure in the U.S., which has made many hesitate to go electric. If the current network of EV chargers is properly maintained, more people can rely on the EVs to get them through their routines and road trips.
While this is frustrating at the best of times, broken-down charging stations can lead to drivers being stranded with dead batteries and needing a tow to a new charging location. The risks of paying that much extra money just to power their car would put some people off buying new EVs.
The Charge Angels would not only help EV drivers but the owners of the stations as well. EV chargers might not be a station owner’s primary concern, so it would be easy to miss a broken charger and unwittingly lose business because of it. Ford would be able to help them keep existing chargers working and up to date, which could encourage infrastructure growth as well.
When will the Charge Angels be released?
Currently, Ford is still forming their fleet of Mach-Es, so they aren’t on the road yet. Generally, their task will be to drive around to stations, gather information on problematic chargers, and record and report them to the companies. This will involve finding out why the equipment failed and tagging the charger, so everyone knows it’s not working.
Ford will use social media and vehicle data to determine the chargers’ destinations, then send out the Angels to test the equipment. The Charge Angels could be out on the road marking chargers by the new year, as Ford hopes to have the team up before the end of 2021.
As for fixing the broken equipment, that’s currently still in the hands of the owners; Ford will only notify them of issues. However, there may be a future repair fleet that obtains contracts with third parties.
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