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Ford challenges UK’s smallest town to switch to electric with mass test drive

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The UK’s smallest town, Fordwich becomes Fordswitch as it takes part in a unique mass electric test drive.

Starting today, the leafy Kent town’s 380 residents have been given access to Ford’s new electric Mustang Mach-E to test drive over three days after the manufacturer found that rural communities are most sceptical about switching to green cars.

The town’s Mayor has worked with Ford to create the social experiment (and the world’s largest test drive) that aims to show others the ease of ‘going green’.

Ford Mustang Mach-E as new research shows a large majority of those in the countryside (82%), small towns (79%), and villages (76%) would not feel confident purchasing an EV as their next vehicle, if the ban on petrol and diesel cars came in next week.

Other findings from the research, taken from Ford’s Go Electric consumer sentiment report, reveal a considerable lack of confidence and information on EVs, particularly in rural areas and small towns such as Fordwich. Just 55% of those living in small towns, villages and the countryside felt they had enough information to make an informed decision about buying an EV compared with 85% of those living in cities, urban areas, and large towns.

With the move to electrification gathering pace, Ford recognises the need to take consumers on an electric journey and hopes to inspire confidence by putting the Mustang Mach-E into the hands of Fordwich for them to try it out themselves.

To encourage Fordwich residents to make the switch to electric in the long term, Ford has also partnered with British Gas to install a public charging point in the town. Charging is frequently cited as a critical concern and barrier to EVs, with those in small towns (63%) and the countryside (74%) saying that there aren’t enough charging points.

The charging point will be situated at The Fordwich Arms, a local gastropub, and will be available for residents to use from today.

Lisa Brankin, Managing Director, Ford of Britain and Ireland said: “We are incredibly excited to introduce our all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E. Ford is committed to helping our current and future customers to go all-in on the road to a fully electric future by supporting them on that journey. Over the next few days, we want to show how even the smallest town can make the electric switch!”

Philip Lewis, Local Councillor and Mayor of Fordwich added: “What a fantastic way to get people to try out an electric vehicle. We are so proud of our town and preservation is something that is incredibly important to us so we were keen to see how simple it would be to switch over to a more environmentally friendly vehicle. It’s great to see so many people signed up over the next few days and we are thrilled to have a local charging point installed for long-term public use.”

Lauren Vazquez, EV installation engineer at British Gas added: “British Gas is committed to delivering the infrastructure needed for the electrification of all modes of transport. We know that it’s vital that we enable the switch to electric vehicles as quickly as possible and we will continue to work with our partners such as Ford to make this happen all over the UK.”

The new Ford Mustang Mach-E is available now across UK dealerships.

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is the editor of Absolute Gadget and has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives.