Focus Electric MyFordMobile is Ford’s Connectivity Moon Shot
Ford has launched an app and related web site based on myfordmobile but tailored for the Ford Focus Electric. The scope of what the site aims to do is very ambitious. Ford seeks to combine, the discussion forum, the “achievements site” and the ability to check on and interact with your car remotely into one Ford branded place. This represents the first effort by any car maker to bring all of these elements together in a single site and app.
No doubt the success of electric car fan sites like GM-Volt.Com and MyNissanLeaf.Com has prompted Ford to think about how they can use similar tools to bring users directly to Ford. There are discussion forums for almost any car ever made, but the depth and detail of discourse on these two sites far exceeds what can typically be found. A number of problems and issues have first found the light of day on these sites, and a great number of solutions have been birthed on these same forums.
The takeaway from the success of these forums is that people interested in electrics are a very connected group. Connected as in, the internet, smartphones, facebook, chat forums, twitter, etc.
In a similar vein, the VoltStats.Net site has been set up to monitor the performance of individual Volt vehicles and it has proven very popular, attracting over 1100 users out of total Volt population of some 15,000.
There Volt owners can see how they stack up against other Volt owners on various stats such as total electric miles, lifetime MPG and MPGe. They can also earn achievement points for things such as “miles driven without gas” or “electric miles driven in a day” and “miles per tank of gas.” On that last category, I will have you know that I am your reigning Miles Per Tank King. From 6/7/2011 to 4/19/2012 I drove 14,435 miles on one tank of gas. Expecting to be dethroned any day now.
You do not have to own a Focus Electric to get in on the action you can see what is available by entering the site as a guest.
Guest Mode is a special version of MyFord® Mobile that allows you to experience all of the features available to electric vehicle drivers without actually being tied to a vehicle. Every time you log in to Guest Mode, you start a new session as a San Francisco resident named Dylan. You can make no mistakes in Guest Mode, so make sure to try everything out and have fun exploring!
LOCATE YOUR VEHICLE
This feature is useful if you forgot where you parked your car at Disney world or the mall, or perhaps you would like to know where your teenage kid is hanging out at 2am.
Charging profiles can be setup for different charging locations. This allows one to establish a charging routine based on where the vehicle is located. At home you may want the vehicle to always take advantage of off peak charging. While at work you may want the vehicle to always charge immediately.
Charge profiles also accept a “go time” which is the time you anticipate leaving. In order to maximize battery longevity, some owners like to finish a full charge close to departure time to minimize the amount of time the battery sits with a full charge. Go times make this very simple. Additionally, go times allow you to specify a preferred cabin temperature. The car will automatically precondition the cabin to the temperature you specify. Other electrics will precondition, but typically require input from the users to initiate the process.
Allows owners to collect different driving achievements. Setting up a value charging profile for example, earns you points because value charging is good for the grid and saves you money. There are a whole slew of achievements that can be earned, part of the fun is just discovering what achievements are available. Drivers are also rated on a scale from Zen to Zippy.
You can also review your overall energy usage and mileage history from this screen. Clicking on the Trip & Charge Log gets you the screen below.
Here the owner can see the total amount of energy used, watt hours/mile, a brake score and a driving score for each and every drive. Each drive is given a driving score that “takes into account all of the different driving behaviors, including acceleration, braking, and speed.”
Charging sessions are also logged. The energy energy indicated is the amount actually put into the battery and does not account for loss from the wall to the battery.
From this screen you can see related news, how you stack up in rankings against fellow Focus Electric drivers or join discussion forums. As the rankings and forums show, it is definitely early days for the site, but the layout and backing of Ford is compelling. Clicking on All Rankings bring us to:
On this screen owners are grouped into 9 different geographic locations. Presumably to have parity with regard to climate. Within your geographic location you are ranked on various factors such as how efficiently you brake, acccelerate or how many electric miles you have driven overall or on a single day. You may think you have no interest in this sort of nonsense, but the urge to “move up” the ranks can be very compelling.
A large part of the discussion that happens on the forums centers around suggestions or ideas for how to improve the vehicle itself. Everything from convenience to safety to infotainment integration. Here we can see Ford has attempted to organize and democratize this area of discussion. A User can post an idea, and then everyone else can vote on whether they like the idea and discuss the idea all in one place.
This is great, but will only be valid and useful if Ford can pull in a much larger population of users. I feel another achievement offering coming on. The “You Voted for at least 3 ideas on Ford Social” achievement. For discussion around the Volt and the Leaf, the go to sites have been decided. For the Focus Electric this is very much an open question, but clearly Ford intends MFM to be that place.