This month, the first Ford Focus Electric cars are now arriving at dealerships. As this occurs, Ford and Microsoft are taking the opportunity to tout the model’s connectivity and recharging technologies as being the very kind of innovations required to move transportation forward in the future.
Ford, being one of the most vocal auto manufacturers in the United States about future sustainability and Microsoft presented at a forum to discuss ways to solve looming issues such as global gridlock, dependency on foreign oil, and challenges the growth of electric vehicles could pose to the power grid.
“Ford and Microsoft continue to demonstrate the importance of marrying automobiles with creative technologies such as the features built into SYNC and MyFord Mobile that help people stay connected to their digital lives,” says Sheryl Connelly, Ford Global Trends manager. “These innovations will be even more important in a future where urbanization and growing vehicle ownership could literally grind major cities to a halt around the world.”
Ford and Microsoft jointly released the first generation of SYNC in 2007 as part of a shared commitment to creating a better-connected car experience through the Ford SYNC software platform. SYNC has been a hit with customers since the initial version was launched in late 2007, with more than 4 million Ford vehicles now equipped with SYNC.
“Microsoft technology is opening up new possibilities for the connected car in areas that both augment and transcend today’s systems,” says Ben Smith, director of program management for Windows Embedded at Microsoft. “From using simple voice commands to navigate to the nearest coffee shop or manage the interior temperature, to using the vehicle’s on-board technology to find the most economical place to charge up, Microsoft and Ford are changing the way people interact with their vehicle.”
SYNC is one of many technology features available in the Ford Focus Electric and is shared across Ford’s electrified vehicle lineup. SYNC with MyFord Touch offers multiple ways – including voice commands – for customers to manage and control their phone, navigation, entertainment and climate functions.
Most relevant to the conversation here, Ford’s plug-in hybrids and all-electric models have additional options for monitoring information like battery state of charge. Ford Focus Electric customers have access to MyFord Mobile, which is accessible via smart phone or Web-based interface to perform key tasks. This mobile application can monitor a vehicle’s state of charge or its current range, locate charge stations and plan routes.
The MyFord Mobile app harnesses the power of cloud computing through another unique capability developed with Microsoft called value charging.
With value charging, the app keeps track of when participating local utilities switch to lower off-peak charging rates, helping to minimize costs by helping owners in the U.S. charge their vehicles at the cheapest utility rates.
Drivers can enable a single setting in the app and then plug in their cars without ever worrying about what time the rates change in their area. The network monitors utility rate schedules and automatically transmits a signal to the vehicle through embedded cellular connectivity to start charging at the lowest cost.
“The MyFord Mobile Microsoft value charging technology can help save customers money now and, in the future, lessen the pressure on our infrastructure as more electrified vehicles hit the streets,” says Bill Frykman, Product & Business Development, Ford Connected Services.
The MyFord Mobile app will be available for use on most major smart phone platforms including Android, BlackBerry and iPhone. The same capabilities can also be accessed through a mobile Web app for other platforms as well as a secure Ford website.
Source: Ford Motor Company