Ford Pro, the company’s commercial vehicle and connected fleet arm, and the Sonoma County Winegrowers, a group of more than 1,800 grape farmers in Northern California, are launching a pilot program that will add the Ford Pro suite of electric vehicles (EVs), charging and telematics services for cleaner more sustainable operations.
Three farms in Sonoma County, one of the world’s most renowned wine regions, will take part in the pilot scheme. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate how electric vehicles and web-based fleet management tools can have a positive impact on the agriculture industry in terms of increasing productivity.
The scheme is expected to improve sustainability considerably and lower the total cost of fleet ownership anywhere from 10 to 20 percent.
The pilot is launching with Bevill Vineyard Management and Vino Farms in Healdsburg, and Dutton Ranch in Sebastopol. These collectively represent about 4,000 acres in the vineyard-rich Russian River Valley. Wanda Young, Ford Pro global chief marketing officer, anticipates the program will expand in the coming months to include other farming operations in the county.
Wanda Young, Ford Pro global chief marketing officer, said: “Ford Pro is thrilled to team with the Sonoma County Winegrowers to further their sustainability goals and begin their transition to fully integrated all-electric fleets with on-site charging.
“Ford Pro and the Sonoma County Winegrowers are driven by many of the same tenets – to accelerate productivity while operating responsibly.”
About 60,000 acres across Sonoma County are dedicated to growing wine grapes, and another 120,000 acres are used for other diversified agriculture, such as apple orchards, dairy farms and cut flowers.
In 2014, the Sonoma County Winegrowers launched an initiative to represent one of the nation’s leading winegrowing regions in terms of sustainability, with a target of reaching sustainable designation for nearly all of its vineyard acreage in the county.
The pilot program farms will be outfitted with Ford Pro charging stations to complement the solar power that has been a critical part of the push for sustainability by the Sonoma County Winegrowers since 2014.
Karissa Kruse, Sonoma County Winegrowers president, said: “This collaboration with the Ford Pro team is a great natural next step to help us continue our progress in sustainable agriculture. A lot of farming families have a rich history with Ford, and with history comes trust.
“So as many of our farmers look for ways to lead in innovation and be a part of the solution, that trust is critical when it comes to investing in electric vehicles and in solutions to manage farming fleets. Our farmers love this pilot program; it’s going to be foundational.”