Dealerships in the top 130 markets must spend roughly $900,000 to install two DC fast chargers and seven Level 2 chargers. Those in smaller markets must spend about $500,000 for one DC charger and four Level 2s. Dealerships that make the investment required for their market will be allowed to sell an unlimited number of EVs.
Lincoln dealers who also have Ford stores must invest in each program to sell both brands’ EVs.
The Lincoln program will run from late 2024 until 2026. Another enrollment period will open near the end of 2026 for a program that starts in 2027.
Lincoln does not sell any EVs but has promised to launch three globally by 2025 and add a fourth in 2026. Executives say they expect almost 90 percent of Lincoln’s volume in North America to be electric by 2030.
Chris Poulos, chairman of the Lincoln National Dealer Council, told Automotive News the timing of the announcement makes sense.
“If you start the process too late, and then there’s delays, you’re stuck and in a bad place,” said Poulos, who is general manager of West Point Lincoln in Houston. “I do think there’s some thoughtfulness that’s gone into the timing. It does seem like it’s early, but I also can understand what the pitfalls would be if they don’t start early.”
Joe Hay, president of Jim Burke Ford-Lincoln in Bakersfield, Calif., said opting into the Lincoln program was a “logical decision” for his store. He also enrolled in the top tier of Ford’s program, which requires an investment of as much as $1.2 million.
“As a West Coast dealer, I see this as the price of entry,” he said. “I don’t know how you could be successful in the retail environment we find ourselves in in California without being in the EV business.”
While much of the cost is expected to go toward charging infrastructure, Hay said the certification program also includes necessary training for dealership employees.
“The ensuing two years we have gives us the time necessary not just to get the infrastructure right, but to get our teams trained, educated and ready to speak EV fluently,” Hay said. “A lot of the people we’re hoping to get to look at a Lincoln EV probably have owned Teslas and are looking for something different, new and exciting. They’re experienced. We have to be able to really take the next two years to gain a lot of ground and talk intelligently about the future in a way we haven’t been doing today.”
Although he wishes Lincoln was selling EVs today, Hay also said rolling out requirements now gives dealers a chance to prepare.
“Lincoln put a lot of time into trying to get this right,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of opportunities to have misses. The brand needs to make sure that when this happens, it’s done well.”