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Ford tries to get a better handle on what EV drivers want

Ford says more than nine out of 10 electric-vehicle drivers indicate that their current EV won't be their last. Which is a good thing. Given the Blue Oval's most recent green-car sales, that next EV purchase couldn't come soon enough.

The automaker took a poll of 10,000 electric-vehicle owners in the US and found that, among other things, more than 80 percent either already have or are considering installing solar panels to enable off-the-grid vehicle charging from home. Less surprising, these drivers use their smartphones to do things like check the car's battery charge and remotely turn on or off their cars' air-conditioning or heating systems before setting off on a drive.

Of course, these folks want a little bit more from their smartphone apps. Most handy would be a public charging station locator as well as the ability to reserve and pay for electric charging sessions in advance. And more fast-charging stations appear to be in store, as almost half of the battery-electric vehicle drivers use conventional 110-volt outlets to charge their vehicles at home.

Ford is hoping that these repeat-driver indicators bode for good things in the future. Last month, the automaker sold almost 5,800 hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric vehicles in the US. That was down 27 percent from a year earlier. Notably, Ford Focus Electric sales dropped 32 percent from a year earlier to just 135 units, and have fallen 16 percent for the year. It's not just Ford that's facing difficulties. US plug-in vehicle sales overall dropped 22 percent from a year earlier to about 8,600 units.



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