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.
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