DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has temporarily stopped selling its home electric vehicle chargers and is directing dealers to third-party sites such as Amazon for generic versions of a key accessory as sales of its Mustang Mach-E ramp up.
The automaker issued a stop sale for its $799 Ford-branded wall boxes on Feb. 24 after it discovered some weren't working properly, a spokesman told Automotive News. It's unclear how long the hold will last, although the spokesman said Ford was "working hard to alleviate the matter with all parties involved."
While the delay isn't a deal-breaker for most customers — many don't purchase the Ford-branded charger and instead use the free but less-efficient mobile cord or a third-party wall box — it's another bump in the launch of one of Ford's highest-profile new vehicles and a growing pain for an automaker looking to raise its electric vehicle credibility. It's also a frustration for dealers looking to cash in on a major in-house accessory.
"We've been told to go on Amazon and order chargers that way," Evelyn Sames, COO of Sames Auto Group, said at an Automotive News Retail Forum panel this month.
Two other dealers who asked to not be identified said their zone representatives also suggested turning to Amazon, but only if a customer raises the question. One of the dealers said it had not been an issue for the few Mach-Es they've sold so far.
Ford sold 238 Mach-Es in January and 3,739 in February. The crossover won the North American Utility Vehicle of the Year award and has received mostly positive reviews from the media and investors.
The convenience of home charging is a highly touted selling point for shoppers considering a new EV that can cost nearly $60,000. The Ford-branded, 48-amp home charger can add 28 miles of range per hour, a spokesman said, meaning that most owners can fully recharge by plugging in overnight.
Plugging the mobile charge cord into a 240-volt home outlet would add 20 miles of range per hour, Ford said. The mobile cord also comes with an adapter for standard 120-volt outlets.
Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst with Guidehouse Insights, said that as long as the issue doesn't involve the Mach-E itself, it's not likely to have a major negative effect.
Ford declined to discuss specifics, although a spokesman said there were no safety concerns associated with the problem.
"There's going to be some lost revenue for Ford and for dealers from selling the accessories," Abuelsamid said. "But for the customers I don't think it matters."