Thousands of local Ford workers will soon be able to plug in electric or hybrid cars during their shifts, and drive home with a full charge.
Ford is installing electric vehicle charging stations for employees at its Chicago Assembly Plant in Hegewisch and Chicago Stamping Plant in Chicago Heights. The automaker currently makes six electrified vehicles, including Focus Electric, C-MAX Energi and Fusion Energi plug-in hybrids.
"Ford's commitment to sustainability extends beyond our fuel-efficient vehicles to include our daily workplace," said Mike Tinskey, Ford director of vehicle electrification and infrastructure. "We know that a growing electrified vehicle infrastructure is key to making plug-in vehicles a viable option for more consumers. Ford is committed to doing its part to help develop that infrastructure."
Employees who live as far as 21 miles away from the plants could drive Ford plug-in hybrids to work entirely on electric power. A full charge is estimated to cost about 50 cents, and will be free to employees for the first four hours every day.
Ford is installing the charging stations at 60 of its offices and factories across the country, including the massive assembly plant at 126th Street and Torrence Avenue. Data gathered from the workplace charging stations and a Ford smartphone app, which the company is encouraging employees to use, will be used to shape future product design.
The Dearborn, Mich.-based automaker estimates drivers have traveled 65 million all-electric miles in its cars, saving more than more 4 million kilograms of carbon monoxide.
Driving only on electric power is becoming easier. The number of charging stations across North America has increased nearly sevenfold to more than 20,000 over the last five years.