Well… when the only remaining issue before producing electric cars isn’t what battery they should use or what the charging technology will be, then for Ford it’s where will they put the charging socket to satisfy most of the customers in Europe and the U.S.
The decision doesn’t look like much, but it’s a rather important one if you look at the numbers. Ford will release five electric and plug-in hybrid cars in the years to come, and the current battery technology will only allow a maximum of 100 miles per charge, so people will use the charging socket more often than they use the gas port in regular cars.
“After benchmarking multiple competitive vehicles, we found there wasn’t much consistency in charge port location,” said Susan Curry, Ford Electrified Vehicle Technology Integration supervisor, in a statement. “We wanted to give customers a location that made the most sense for them and would seem as simple as filling up at the gas station.”
After a careful examination of market studies and assessing logical situations, Ford excluded the placement from the front and the rear, because of the high impact with air, insects and the risk of accidents in those areas. What they decided was to place the charging port in the front left fender area, and that would apply to all of the company’s electrified fleet, be them hybrid or pure electrics.
“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. “It creates an intuitive placement for owners that also has aesthetic appeal.”
Nissan, on the other hand, placed the Leaf’s charging port at the front, but I don’t recall them having asked many people about that – they just did it. In time, we’ll see where the socket will belong, as probably all the manufacturers will reach the same conclusion sooner or later. It’s an interesting issue, nevertheless.