Come on, take a stab at it: How many times do you think an electric vehicle owner is probably going to plug in or disconnect in order to “fuel” up each year? To give you some perspective, on average, it’s 52 times a year to fill a gas tank.
At approximately four times a day, the EV will likely be “fueled” nearly 1,500 times annually.
As you can imagine, that high number meant Ford engineers had to put some serious thought into where to place the charge port on its EVs, including the Focus Electric and C-MAX Energi. You might assume there is a standard location on all manufacturers’ EVs, but there isn’t. Ford decided to utilize market research to give owners a preferred port location that would be easy for them to use and access. To meet usage patterns, engineers considered the driver side, the passenger side and the front and rear of the vehicle. The front and rear were ruled out because they are areas with a high risk of damage in fender-benders. Those locations would also mean owners would have to bend down to plug in and out, as well as deal with snow packing, dead bugs and debris.
Other necessities to consider were commonality with the entire Ford electrified vehicle portfolio, usage patterns of North American and European customers, and maximizing investment efficiency in terms of new tooled parts and magnitude of the investment. Ford has an aggressive electrification strategy that includes the launch of five electrified vehicles in North America by 2012 and Europe by 2013.
Which area won out? “The left front fender location keeps the charge port in sight, before the customer enters or exits the car, for an easy reminder to unplug or recharge,” said Mary Smith, Ford Electrified Vehicle Technology Integration Supervisor. Being positioned on the side of the vehicle delivers the best visibility, especially when lit to show the charge state, as opposed to being buried in the front with the grille and other style cues.
One other benefit to that placement? It’s fairly intuitive because of something customers were already used to doing: filling up at the gas station.