Jan 28, 2022Sonoma County winegrape growers, Ford plan electric vehicle pilot
The Sonoma County Winegrowers are joining Ford Pro in a pilot project that will bring electric vehicles and connected services to three farms in Sonoma County, California.
The heart of the project 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, improving sustainability, and lowering the total cost of fleet ownership anywhere from 10% to 20%.
“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,” Wanda Young, Ford Pro global chief marketing officer, said in a news release. “Ford Pro and the Sonoma County Winegrowers are driven by many of the same tenets – to accelerate productivity while operating responsibly.”
The pilot project is launching with Bevill Vineyard Management and Vino Farms in Healdsburg, and Dutton Ranch in Sebastopol – which collectively represent about 4,000 acres in the vineyard-rich Russian River Valley. Young anticipates the program will expand in the coming months to include other farming operations in the county.
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 wine-growing regions in terms of sustainability, with a target of reaching sustainable designation for nearly all of its vineyard acreage in the county.
Sonoma County Winegrowers president Karissa Kruse said she believes electric vehicle adoption and efficient fleet management are the next steps in sustainability.
“This collaboration with the Ford Pro team is a great natural next step to help us continue our progress in sustainable agriculture,” Kruse said. “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.”
In addition to the vehicles, the farms can consult with the Ford Pro team for the duration of the program and will have software, charging services, and energy management assistance available – all to help reduce operating costs and more efficiently manage gas and electric vehicle fleets.