Ford Encourages Industry-Standard Method For Analyzing Real-World Electric Driving Data


Sales of the Ford Focus Electric plummeted 45% from 1,582 units in 2015 to 872 units in 2016.

Sales of the Ford Focus Electric plummeted 45% from 1,582 units in 2015 to 872 units in 2016.

Ford insists that it has benefited from analysis of real-world electric driving data. The company believes that the automotive industry and regulators would also benefit from the adoption of standard methods to analyze and discuss such data.

Combined sales of Ford PHEVs (Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi) jumped 38% from 17,341 units in 2015 to 23,895 units in 2016.

Combined sales of Ford PHEVs (Fusion Energi and C-MAX Energi) jumped 38% from 17,341 units in 2015 to 23,895 units in 2016.

Brett Hinds, Ford’s Chief Engineer for Electrified Powertrain Engineering, recently presented the concept from the SAE 2017 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium in San Diego. He showed that Ford has gathered over 80 million miles in data from over 35,000 electric vehicles since 2013, all anonymously through the vehicles’ in-car modems.

Ford uses the embedded modems in vehicles as part of the MyFord Mobile service. Drivers can access their personal information via the cloud and Ford stores it and can access it for analysis. Hinds shared of Ford’s findings:

“PHEV customers are not unique. They fit into the category of everybody else. PHEV customers aren’t self-selecting themselves. They are not restricting their driving. They are just getting in their car, they are taking advantage of having a PHEV vehicle, and they are driving wherever they like.”

The data is manipulated through different programs and tools and the company is able to create trip profiles with information including drivers’ destinations, daily habits, driving frequency, length of trips, etc. According to Green Car Reports, Hinds presentation revealed the following information:

Habitual daily driving distance (HDD). HDD is the most typical day that a customer travels. Ford determines the points, and then can plot the customer distribution of average days. Ford data shows that the 50th percentile customer drives just under 30 miles every day.

Largest repetitive daily distance (RDD). This is the largest distance that is traveled with an occurrence of at least 2% of the total days—about 5 days out of year. This provides insight into the sizing of BEV range, Hinds said. Based on RDD, Ford data shows that a 300-mile BEV will cover 100% of the RDD.

Longest daily distance (LDD). This covers the 98th percentile customer. This covers how far they went in any one single chain of events. Based on Ford data, a 300-mile BEV will not cover that distance. This, said Hinds, is where DC fast charging comes into play.

Hinds suggest that OEMs should use such data to aid in the design and implementation of future electric vehicles. He concluded:

“OEMs should adopt a standard way of analyzing data and use this data to design next generation BEVs or xEVs. We also think it gives us an opportunity to discuss with regulatory agencies, who can also use this data to set regulations that more closely reflect real-world driving conditions.”

Although the study, as well as the article don’t point to it, it is implied that the data Ford has compiled thus far, shows that the PHEV is the better option for the company at this point, and sales has supported the data.

Source: Green Car Congress

Categories: Ford

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50 Comments on "Ford Encourages Industry-Standard Method For Analyzing Real-World Electric Driving Data"

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Get rid of MPGe and replace it with MPK
(Miles Per KWH)

Wh/mi please

Why not use the metric system 🙂

Because it leads to communism 😉

The US “tried” in the 70’s and miserably failed, too confused looking at miles and km and too lazy read the units on the road signs. At least many of the automotive units did convert to metric, unfortunately distance and volume did not.

The US need to try the Metric system again.
It works for the rest of the world.

You won’t get a good argument from me (just bad excuses 😉

But… but… what about American exceptionalism?


It really is pretty ridiculous how incredibly unwilling we are as human beings to make even a tiny effort to adjust, even when we understand that the effort lasts only a short while, the advantages are considerable, and the advantages are long-lasting. I lived in France when the Euro came into being. With the exception of the housing market – thanks to the infrequency with which people buy and sell property – it took only a couple of years for people to get used to the new unit and largely forget about the Franc. A funny experience for me, as a Norwegian who imagined myself as belonging to the set of people who had long ago ditched the arhaic non-SI units, was to see advertisements for TV sets in France. 127 cm you say? I found myself having to convert to inches in order to gain any feel for what screen size we were talking about! It was the first time I reflected about it, and realized that we actually still use odd units for some things, for absolutely no good reasons at all. Boats are a certain number of feet, and if you go flying the captain may inform… Read more »

Not at all to argue against your many excellent points, but I think the reason the one-liter bottle has become popular in the USA is because it’s a handy size to carry with you.

The two-liter bottle of soda pop, now… that I don’t understand. Sure, an “economy sized” bottle of pop for parties, or a house full of teens, is good; but why soda pop makers decided on the 2-liter size, instead of the 1/2 gallon or 1 gallon size used for milk bottles, is beyond me.

2-litr bottles aren’t universal. They’re really rare in Europe, where the “large capacity” soft drink bottles are 1.5 liters.
(And I’ve never seen 3-liter bottles outside the US).

The reason is obvious: It’s another manifestation of “super-sized me”.

Then you will start splitting hairs if the “right” thing is to use liters/100 km, or km per liter, or kWh/km, or km/kWh, or whatever “great” invention comes around next.

In SI system it should be just kW actually. I.e. average power during test cycle. But nobody “invented” it yet. Maybe we should first switch from km/h to m/s for the sake of true SI 😉


Well, distance per unit-of-energy measurements such as MPG is what we’re all used to, but if we were to actually apply logic and practical value, then the reverse would be better.

As has been pointed out, the difference between say 10 MPG and 20 MPG is much greater (in terms of how much fuel is used, or not) than the difference between say 40 MPG and 50 MPG.

So arguably, a kWh/mile (or kWh/km) metric would be more useful than a miles/kWh (or km/kWh) metric.

BTW — calling someone a “F***TARD” merely because they don’t share your opinion, and not because they’ve got any of their facts wrong, isn’t likely to persuade anyone you’re right. Rather the reverse.

I care more about total EV range & price.

Splitting hairs on EV efficiency IMO.

Efficiency is directly related to range.

And the CDa affects efficiency, and so does the tire friction coefficient, and so does ….

I don’t really care.

I mainly want to know price & EV range. If it costs me 2 cents more per day, I could care less compared to many other things.

You do care about efficiency if you want range and price. Those two factors are what makes for efficiency. You can get range with 500 kWh, but that won’t be cheap. Same range with 50 kWh would be cheap, but that has to be efficient to achieve the range.

Data alone does not reach conclusions, interpretation of said data does.
I would say from their data that a BEV is capable of handling 98% of all drivers needs.

Since this is true you then need to compare the vehicles in other areas, to make the determination that the PHEV is a superior direction in which to go.

Saying “range X would have been sufficient to cover the longest single non-stop drive for Y percent of all drivers in the past year” is not an “interpretation” of the data – it is an accurate description of it. Making it more vague, such as saying “98% of the needs”, makes it less useful, not more. On the other hand data of this kind doesn’t really shed a lot of light on the “need”. People don’t “need” to cover more miles in a day as a consequence of better, safer roads and cars and higher speed limits – but those things nevertheless do tend to have that effect. Similarly, it is not given that a BEV must be able to be used in exactly the same way as people currently use their cars. Perhaps it is acceptable for 90% of drivers to modify 1% of their trips and insert a 30-minute charging stop, for instance. Or perhaps not – my point is just that the data doesn’t really shed any light on this question. But the real issue with Ford’s suggestion here is that whether it is true or false, it’s simply IRRELEVANT! There is no single sweet spot for… Read more »
Every time I read one of these fantasies about how ride sharing using fully autonomous vehicles will bring about an automotive utopia, I think nobody could post one even more impractical and impossible than the last. And every time, I’m proven wrong; the post above is a perfect example. So now the fleet of autonomous cars must not only be sufficiently large to put one close to everyone who might summon one, close enough that it will arrive without an inconvenient delay; now the fleet will be required to put a number of different types of cars all within that same short distance of every potential customer! Reminds me of that General Motors fantasy from the 1939 World’s Fair showing how the future superhighway system was going to be composed of a series of individual, separate lanes sparsely populated by cars, totally eliminating traffic congestion! (see time 14:26 in the video linked below:) And somehow, Terawatt, I don’t think reducing the number of cars parked by increasing the number of cars driving empty, driving from one customer to another, will be any improvement. That means more cars on the road at any given time, which means more congestion, more traffic… Read more »

Hey Ford, look at GM’s data on the Volt to get a clue. People want all-electric miles all the time every time, m-kay?

Ford’s weak-ass excuses for PHEVs do not compare apples to apples. And that applies to pretty much all automakers.

Yeah. They need a BEV that isn’t a Franken-Compliance Vehicle, in the market. 🙁

Lot’s of public data at too

Yeah. But this whole line of thinking is utterly meaningless if you accept that car ownership is soon obsolete and most people will choose their car for each trip in the future.

How is it useful to make sure that a car makes enough compromises to be usable for 98% of all trips when we can instead have much more varied cars that are much more optimized for each trip, and instead vary the choice of car?

We can have a mix of tiny cars with only one or two people in them and everything between that to minibuses and lorries. A cabriolet for the date with the new girlfriend and a small bus for the eight people in my neighbourhood who start work in the city center around the same time makes a lot more sense than a single car for all occasions that isn’t as optimized for any of them. And technology is about to make it easy to realize this.

Ford, however, doesn’t seem to get it.

I don’t accept car ownership is “soon” obsolete.

I know that is Tesla’s plan, and we have Uber/Lyft, autonomous cars, etc.. I just don’t think it will happen that soon.

Even if we banned all new car private sales today, it would take 20 years to get the current ones of the roads.

More than 20yrs unless it is legislated that cars over a certain age are illegal. The day you make it illegal to purchase a personal car is the day people will keep it forever and the black market will prosper. Don’t under estimate the will of people wanting their personal car, it is the single most liberating thing in our society.

I don’t agree with this. If people are given the choice between renting a car and owning a car IMO they will purchase.

Just imagine how many wrecked autonomous (by this I mean cars that automatically come to you as needed) cars there will be. Graffiti on buildings, trains, etc. are impossible to contain, so autonomous cars will suffer the same fate.

We have many instances of hooligans breaking into buildings, this will be the same for autonomous cars. These hooligans don’t care about property and they don’t care about being caught, many are minors. What a great target will be autonomous cars?

I don’t think people will give up their cars. Some treat their car like a rubbish dump, others test them like a pristine temple. Imagine you call the car and the last person left all their trash in it. Maybe someone ripped the seats. I just don’t see how this will work in our current society. Maybe by the time we get to Star Trek it will work, but at the moment it is pie in the sky, wishful thinking.

If Ford had sincere interest in the real world, this wouldn’t have happened:

“47 mpg”

“39.6” real world

So, the answer is clear. Ford needs to tell Trump to shut down “”.

Exactly, their sole interest is to drag vehicle electrification through the mud, procrastinate and postpone until it hopefully goes away.

Newsflash Ford, it ain’t.

Ford should stop counting hybrid miles when the engine is off as electric miles. It is very deceptive.

Yeah, it’s shameful the greenwashing Ford tried to pull. Unlike angry haters like vdiv, I think Ford offers solid PHEVs. They just aren’t in the same league as the Volt (although they are a league ahead of non-plug-in hybrids). Ford needs to be more honest about what they have and stop pretending that the Energis are anywhere near as good as the Volt at being electric.

You bet I am angry. This nonsense continues now for decades. I don’t buy the notion for a second that Ford cannot make compelling EVs. I am angry that they won’t despite that, and instead try to bamboozle both regulators and consumers with nonsense like this “analysis method proposal”.

Then your anger is completely misdirected. It isn’t the job of a company’s leadership to make sure the company makes the world a better place. It is, by law, their duty to serve the interests of the shareholders. Not the public. Government officials on the other hand DO have the responsibility and the legal as well as moral obligation to serve the interests of the people. So unless Ford is breaking the law, perhaps you have better reason to be upset with regulators who make the sort of behavior we see from Ford viable in the marketplace. It ought not to be profitable. After all, the founding idea of capitalism is Adam Smith’s “invisible hand”, by which, the argument goes, each party serving their own interests lead to what is also in the best interest of society. And it is in many ways a hugely successful system. It’s just that as time goes by, the various players get ever better at finding ways to manipulate the system to create better outcomes for themselves. By now all economists realize that markets need effective regulations to optimize them and make them serve public interest as well as they can do (even if… Read more »

Perhaps. But I do believe in corporate responsibility and ethics and do believe that there are people at Ford who what to electrify and be a part of a progressive company. The regulators are making a hash of it one way or the other.

“After all, the founding idea of capitalism is Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’, by which, the argument goes, each party serving their own interests lead to what is also in the best interest of society.”

And there was the equally disproven concept of “enlightened self interest” in previous generations; the concept that large corporations would naturally do what’s in the best interests of society, because in the long term that would be best for the company.

The fallacy of those concepts are well illustrated by, to cite some examples: the Standard Oil monopoly; the collusion between breakfast cereal manufacturers that causes a small box of corn meal and sugar, with ingredients and labor worth less than $1, to be sold for $5-6; and more recently by the Enron scam.

The “free market” needs to be constrained, to be limited, by regulation. What we need isn’t Adam Smith’s ideal of a completely “free market”, but actually a competitive market… with the amount of regulation needed to ensure it’s actually competitive, with no monopolies, price fixing, or other anti-competitive business strategies; and to eliminate outright scams like Enron became.

Ford says the says shows PHEV is a better option for them. The problem with just looking at the data is you are looking at satisfying what the customer needs. But to sell a car you have to satisfy their wants.

He’s working the same angle as the famous Ed Begley quote “Electric cars can satisfy people’s driving needs 95% of the time” (or whatever the number is). The problem frequently people aren’t making their decisions on straight numbers.

I could drive a Volt electric over 95% of the time. But instead I drive a Bolt electric 100% of the time even though if I want to drive longer trips it’s going to be an inconvenience for the foreseeable future.

You have to figure out what customers want. Besides, who wants to get a Ford PHEV and then suffer range extender anxiety near the end of the day? Maybe it’s better to pack in 50 miles EV range or just dump that big, heavy ICE block completely.

Well, I wanted a plug-in car that can comfortably fit two adults and three car seats. The Volt’s backseat is too small, and I live in Pennsylvania, so most OEMs don’t have support infrastructure for EVs here. But I can get my off-lease-purchased C-Max Energi serviced at the Ford dealer down the street. And even with two drives to New England this year, we’ve driven about 95% electric. I’d rather have a BEV but I just wasn’t sure it would work.

I really don’t understand why Ford gets crapped on so much here. Their plug-ins are widely available and well-supported.

I didn’t crap on Ford. I didn’t say don’t buy one. The problem is the data can say “customers only drive 20 miles, we should make a 21 mile PHEV” when that isn’t really the best way to please the customer.

A BEV or a long-range PHEV can generate customer interest and excitement in a way that a mostly electric short-range PHEV (like a Volvo XC90) doesn’t. Do you hear a lot of buzz about the Cadillac CT6 PHEV or the Model S?

Your point “the data can say “customers only drive 20 miles, we should make a 21 mile PHEV” when that isn’t really the best way to please the customer” is spot on. I’m sure if they could plot the usage data from their trucks and utilities it would show how rarely they leave asphalt and cement surfaces. They would be foolish to interpret that to mean they should make those products less off-road capable. Similarly, if PHEV data shows less than super high amounts of EV use, that doesn’t necessarily mean they should make their PHEVs and BEVs less EV capable. The correlation is specious.

This ‘Data Driven Analysis’ error is failing to realize some things:

A) Their current sales fell, not because the car no longer delivered what it promised, but because the options available elsewhere improved;

and B) They don’t have data on what buyers would have driven in EV mode, if their PHEV’s could drive 40 or 60 miles in such mode;

and C) They have no data on what people who DID NOT buy their products, wanted from Ford, so as to be happy to give them their money!

Hence, they imagine the data they have as being valuable!

They should read a Mutual Fund Prospectus: “Past Performance is No Proof or Metric of Future Performance!”

Using “industry standardized analysis” would be a great way to stifle innovation from companies that actually wanted to charge forward. That of course would not be the man who begged for EPA to reopen the discussion on fuel economy so we can get more horespower and cupholders and fewer miles to the gallon.

They have all conveniently forgotten what happens when people suddenly can’t afford to buy the fuel for a gashog.

In fairness, all the incumbents are asking Trump to roll back regulations.

We shouldn’t expect corporations to serve the interests of the public – except when their own best interest happens to be the same as that of the public.

That is why it’s so important to have effective regulators – to ensure that what’s best for Ford and the other corporations is reasonably well aligned with what is best for society.

Unfortunately that isn’t happening. The American people – even if actually a minority of them! – elected Trump and clearly do not think regulating businesses is important.

Still, it is important not to misplace the responsibility. It is definitely appropriate and useful to critisize corporations over how harmful or not their products (services, treatment of workers, etc.) are, of course. But the moralistic “they should do the right thing” talk is a waste of everyone’s time and energy.

I like the HDD/RDD/LDD breakdown. It really helps you understand the use case of the vehicle.

For me, it’s about 25/250/600 miles. If I got a BEV that could cover 300 miles in the winter on the highway… yeah, I’d be golden. Not going to happen (affordably) in the near future. Instead, give me 150-200 miles in those conditions + DCQC.

I like the HDD/RDD/LDD idea also, but the key thing is that is different for everyone. Mine looks like 12/100/600.

My only problem with this study is they only induced the 35000 plug-in vehcile data. If they are trying to increase sales shouldn’t they compare against non-plug ins and see if the needs are different? Maybe those drivers look like (me 4 years ago) 70/200/1500.

The HDD/RDD/LDD metric indeed looks quite useful, altho we need to understand that in the real world, customers will make a buying decision based on RDD, and not on HDD, no matter how often EV advocates repeat that 40 miles will cover 95% of the average driver’s daily driving needs, or whatever the exact claim is.

But if Ford is counting hybrid miles as “electric miles”, then they are applying that metric in a dishonest, misleading fashion.

“Electric miles” don’t include what the car gets from electricity from the onboard generator, even if some of that is stored in the battery pack. Those miles are powered by gasoline; electricity is merely an intermediary. “Electric miles” are only those powered by electricity from an offboard source; a plug or a wireless charger.

They are just looking for ways to justify small batteries and hybrid engines. Who really wants to buy a Ford anyway? Had a weekend test drive of the Ford Focus Electric almost 2 years ago, which miserable failed here in Europe for good reasons. Ford has missed the train!

Of course they are. And it seems about 100 times as many people are buying their cars as Teslas, so I’m not so sure nobody wants to buy it. I watched Wowcars summary of the Geneva Motor show on Youtube. It was a stark reminder of how fringe EVs still are, even if the industry is finally beginning to see the writing on the wall and starts positioning themselves in case EVs do become comercially important. If like me you read this and other EV blogs almost daily and you don’t read a lot of other car news, it is easy to forget that about 99% of new cars sold worldwide come without a plug. Certainly if like me you live in Norway, where the share with a plug is now above 50%! Before Trump regulatory pressure seemed certain to force car makers to slowly switch to EVs. There simply was no other way to cost-efficiently meet the targets. Now that has changed, but thankfully it seems like things have moved far enough already to ensure the EV shift will happen anyway. Already the lifetime costs of a vehicle are lower for EVs, and as volume goes up and the… Read more »

I should have written “now that seems likely to change” rather than “now that has changed”. After all Trump hasn’t actually announced anything yet. But I will be greatly surprised if the CAFE mid-term review survives.

I don’t understand why the title of this article specifies “Real-World Electric Driving Data”. The data as described in the article is real-world driving data; there’s nothing there that’s specific to EVs vs. gasmobiles.

While the data could certainly be used to more efficiently design EVs, the same could be said of designing gasmobiles. Now, one could argue that EVs have a lot of room for improvement, whereas gasmobiles are a mature tech which doesn’t; but that does not alter the fact that the data in question are not “electric driving data”. They’re just driving data, period.

I agree with Ford that the PHEV is better for most customers at this point. This is mainly due to the severe lack of charging infrastructure in most of the country.

However, the irony is that Ford’s own PHEVs don’t have the range to cover the 30 miles that they determined is apparently the sweet spot. Maybe this data will help show them that they need to upgrade the range in their PHEVs to at least 30 miles.